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Because it isn’t just a business. It’s your life.

For most entrepreneurs, our work isn’t just a business, it’s our life. And many have bought into the notion that setting goals leads to success. However, as much as we might believe life will be better when we reach those goals and base our business plans on how to attain them as quickly as possible, the future can bring a rude awakening.

It’s not unusual to reach your goals and then find out they were the wrong goals in the first place and the path you took to reach them was not the right path for you. Consequently, you find yourself feeling empty and unfulfilled despite having accomplished all you set out to achieve.

Experiencing WTF moments like these is far more likely to result in depression and despair than in exhilaration and joy. So how can you prevent this from happening? It starts with setting the right goals for the awesome life you really want.

The first mistake most people make with setting goals is focusing on a destination rather than the journey. For example, there are unlimited ways to have a million dollars in your bank account. Some of those ways are simply not right for you. In such cases having a million dollars is both meaningless and destructive. Especially if it costs you too much to get there.

Instead of jumping right into setting goals, it makes better sense begin by setting a life direction. What makes the journey awesome and compelling for me is likely to be different for you because we are not the same people. We’ll each have a better experience if our uniqueness is factored into our plans.

Ask yourself:

  1. Who do I want to be?
  2. How do I want to spend my time?
  3. What do I want to learn (and from whom)?
  4. Where can I contribute best?
  5. Which daily activities make me the happiest?
  6. Who do I want to work with and serve?
  7. Why am I doing this?

Only when you have the answers to these questions are you ready to set your goals. And the best part is, when you are on the right journey, it won’t matter if you ever reach them — your life experience will still be awesome.

PS If ever you find yourself not feeling the awesome, simply change your life direction and set new goals that support the change. Never keep pursuing a goal that is draining all the joy from your life. Life is too short and it’s just not worth it.