Hi my darlings!

Back in the day, I worked at Lululemon, and for anyone who isn’t in the know, Lululemon has a culture among its employees of fostering personal development. We had a library (i.e. bookshelf) in the break room full of books like “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” and “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t.”

We had team meetings and were encouraged to take “ownership” of certain tasks from dressing the mannequins to in-store events. We had weekend retreats that you got to go to if you were an A+ employee and workout challenges every month with a score board.

At the heart of everything we did were goals. If you have any experience with retail or commision-based jobs then you are familiar with goals: monthly goals, quarterly goals, yearly goals, mostly set by the higher-ups and placed on the employees shoulders to achieve.

At Lulu, we had sales goals like any other clothing store, but we were also encouraged to set our own goals. Well, not so much encouraged as expected to. Someone decided that it was imperative for everyone working at Lulu to set goals in a Personal, Work, and Health category and to have 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals for each. We were also made to date these goals and display them on a shelf visible to the entire store.

…No doubt this exercise came from one of the personal-development books on our library’s shelf.

Now I’m not knocking Lulu’s efforts to foster a certain culture. I’m all for personal growth and development. I read the books. I’m a fan of leadership, ownership and all the other ships. I just chose to cherry-pick the practices that resonate with me personally and leave the rest.

The problem I found at Lulu was that there was a certain underlying tension in the store. It felt like a need to do everything perfectly and to be 100% on-board with every method of achieving “Success”.

I went along with it because I thought I was supposed to. I made my 1, 5, and 10 year goals just like everyone else did. Some of those goals were real goals that felt important to me, but some of them I just filled in because I felt I had to.

I still have my framed goals in my childhood bedroom and I laugh at how silly some of them seem, like the one that says “I will be able to do 5 pull-ups by August 2011″…I wrote it because I couldn’t think of a health goal I wanted to achieve in one year and that seemed like a good one to fill in the blank line.

For some people it might be cool to be able to do 5 pull-ups, but it’s not really something important to me, so spoiler alert, I didn’t end up achieving that one.

Here is what I have since learned:

Goals are important. But the “why” behind those goals is absolutely essential. Without the “why”, goals have no meaning. The “why” is the fuel, it’s the spark, the gas in the engine of your goals.

Why do you want to achieve (________)?

Why is it important to you?

What will happen if you don’t go after this goal?

What will happen if you do?

If you want to achieve your goals, figure out the “why” behind them. Without the “why” your goals are like a car with an empty gas tank.

Since discovering the power of “why”, I’ve tweaked the questions I ask my clients. Before, I used to ask them to list 3 main fitness goals and I developed their workout program based on their answers, but I was only asking for half of the information I needed. Now, after I ask them their goals, I ask them why they want to achieve these goals.

That simple question has been a total game-changer.

I can see my clients go inside of themselves and dig deep for the answers, and what comes to the surface is much more honest than “tone up my arms” or “get a beach-body for summer”. Now I hear, “I want to feel confident for once in my body”, “I want to feel proud of myself.” “I want to live a long, healthy life.” “I want to see what I am capable of.”

So much juicier, right!?

Not only does this help me get a real, meaningful sense of what they want out of our sessions, it gets them to vocalize what is really driving them to make these changes.

Whatever your goals are, they are goals because they are just out of reach. If they were easy you would already have achieved them. It’s imperative to remind yourself when it feels hard and the motivation isn’t there, why you are going after these goals in the first place.

It becomes way to easy to let yourself off the hook if you don’t have a compelling reason to put in the effort, so please don’t short-change yourself. Give your goals power by figuring out the “why” behind them.

Write down however many goals you want to achieve right now. (None of this: You must have 1 health, 1 personal, 1 work for 1/5/10 years or it doesn’t count bullshit.) Write down what feels right to you and screw the rest.

After you have your goals written down, write all the reasons you want to achieve these goals. Use the questions above if you want as a guideline, but really think about why these goals are important to you and give them power by writing them down.

Put the paper someplace you will see it every day. You could tape it to your mirror if you want, or fold it up and put it between the sheets of your daily planner. You don’t need to take out a full-page add in the paper, or a freakin billboard for all the world to see.

This is for you and you alone. Do what feels right for you. These are your goals after all. They are your dreams and no one else will take care of them the way you will.

This is my favorite Ted Talk and the first place I heard of the power of why. I got so many “Ah-ha’s” from this video and I’m excited to hear if you do to. Tell me in the comments below!

It finally feels like Spring is here! Yay! Have a beautiful week!

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

 

 

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