I had a lengthy discussion with a colleague about the difference between being and doing. Being means understanding the purpose, mission and values that frame our character and our context for living. Doing means performing a set of activities that may, or may not, align to our purpose for life.
Whenever I meet somone for the first time, the discussion generally begins with the question: “What do you do?”. And, from a career perspective, I see a lot of people doing. I am never really sure how many have taken the time to reflect on the context for their being.
And so I was making reference to goal setting with this colleague. I suggested that a critical gap for people in the corporate world is that they are so busy doing things that they often never take the time to think about their lifetime goals. What do you want to achieve in your life? Long term. 20, 30 years out. And how do those lifetime goals link up to today?
For myself, I have created a personal vision and mission statement as well as a set of values to describe the context for my lifetime goals. I developed a set of long-term objectives against the following priority areas: family, faith, finances, personal growth, physical fitness and career. Much of my thinking here was influenced by Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Since 1990, I have kept an annual record of my life’s goals and objectives. It makes for some pretty interesting reading. I still have a lot of work ahead of me.
I continue to take time each year to write out specific short-term goals that line up with my priority areas. I would like to think that this helps me to get things right all of the time but it doesn’t. I am definitely a human being under development. There is, however, direction and purpose. And context.
Most importantly, major decisions in life become relatively straightforward. Decisions align or they don’t.