Years ago, Bob Biehl wrote a book that got my interest. The title is, Stop Setting Goals if You Would Rather Solve Problems. I bought it, but I confess that I never read the book. I recall trying to, but I just couldn’t quite get my head into what he was trying to express.
But the title stuck in my head.
Yesterday it made complete and deep sense to me.
In a conversation with someone who is figuring out next steps, we started talking about goals. He was saying he needed to set some goals, have some goals, know what his goals are.
I have long pondered certain situations that have just been impossible for me to thrive in. On the outside, looking in, it would seem that it was ideal for me, using my strengths and challenging me. But, on the inside of ME, there was unrest and frustration (Not on the inside of my gut, but on the inside of my heart).
Yesterday, helping someone else figure out their best environment, I realized that goals completely demotivate me. Like, drain the energy out and leave me flat, demotivated. Even, at times, flat and frustrated and maybe a little bit angry demotivated.
Give me a problem to solve and I am on it.
It might seem like semantics, but consider this… For me, telling me what I need to accomplish makes me want to leave and find a problem to solve. I don’t want to have monthly goals or yearly goals or life goals. BUT, tell me that we need to figure out a way to make a certain amount of money or to attract a certain number of people or finish a project by a certain date and I am eager and rarin’ to go. Let me be creative in how I arrive at the solution. Don’t give me a list of tasks to check off a list, assuming that if I do the tasks, the goal will be reached. Give me the big picture, the PROBLEM, and a deadline. Then, I will be good to go.
I can shut the door on that personal mystery now. I am going to stop thinking I should set goals, because I would rather solve problems. Thank you, Bob Biehl.
With my conversant yesterday, as we talked, we decided it isn’t necessarily having a goal that he needs, as much as a sense of accomplishing something. A result. Maybe for him, setting goals is a way to get that satisfaction and to generate energy and motivation. We will keep talking until he is clear on how to motivate himself.