Habits And Goals Aren’t For Everyone

Different people require different approaches

We’ve become a society that’s obsessed with habits and goals. On the surface, that’s not a bad thing. It’s helpful for a large majority of people who struggle with discipline, focus, and structure. If that describes you, I appreciate that you are trying to improve yourself. I have no quarrel with you.

It’s just that I operate a different way.

I am not alone in this regard either. There’s a segment of people that don’t really work well within the structure of habits and goals. The incessant noise around these two topics has created incredible pressure. If we aren’t creating habits and setting goals, then we are failures. Sorry, but I just don’t agree with this.

It’s time to push back on this idea.

Life, leadership, and marketing are not a one size fit all proposition. We can’t continue to cram people into a box. People are individuals and have to be treated individually. We forget this concept too much and unfortunately negatively impact our families, teams, and communities with generalizations. I’ve mentioned this a few times before but the entrepreneurial journey has been pretty up and down. It seems to be that way for most people. It’s murky. There is no game plan or playbook. We have to make it up as we go along. We have to test out ideas, get feedback, and adjust on the fly. We have to work in the realm of uncertainty. That isn’t for everyone. Uncertainty and ambiguity fill some people with dread and induces panic attacks. But for those of us who enjoy taking leaps of faith, navigating new courses, and blazing our own trails, habits and goals become a hindrance rather than a help when trying to achieve a completely radical and different vision of the future.

Instead of habits and goals, I have a powerful vision in my mind of what I would like to accomplish with my life. I let that vision pull me forward rather than having habits and goals push me.

So what is the vision for my life? Glad you asked! In a sentence it would be this:

To use my life and business as a leverage point to help more kids in the foster care system

If you are unfamiliar with my story, my wife and I fostered and then adopted our now 9-year-old triplets. It was an incredibly life-changing decision. Parenting is tough (duh). The challenge is complicated by being triplets and by their troubled background. However, we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It was a chance to:
  • love kids who did not have appropriate love and care.
  • break a vicious cycle of addiction, violence, and neglect.
  • completely alter the futures of these beautiful kids.
But my wife and I realized that we were tapped out. The emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual energy needed to raise these kids meant we could not reasonably take on any more kids. For a while, there was a bit of guilt. Were we doing enough? Instead of dwelling on that question (FYI the answer was and is YES!), I believe God gave me a special vision for the future. This vision was out of focus but the general idea was that I could have a business where part of the proceeds could be used to build a campus that served kids in foster care.

Kids who come into foster care go through a traumatic experience.

Even if their parents are abusive, those kids have emotional attachments. So the separation process is difficult. The kids are thrown into this whirlwind of events with government agencies, police officers, court members, volunteers, and foster families. So how do we introduce stability and healing into that process? I believe it starts with having amazing people who have a heart of service and generosity. Those people become the backbone for the support system that includes the foster parents, doctors, nurses, therapists, art directors, sports coaches, and more. It would be wonderful if we could have all those services co-located. That way we could better serve these kids. This is a grande vision and it will take lots of time, money, energy, and people to come alongside me. It will require patience, long term thinking, and the ability to build a network of supporters and partners. It’s not an easy road. Nor a simple one. But it is well worth the effort.

The vision compels me every day because I see the incredible value and purpose in it.

The vision is incredibly personal and relevant in my life. It also doesn’t hurt to have my kids in front of me day in and day out as a reminder of what I am striving to achieve. But if you don’t have that powerful vision as a force in your life, habits, and goals may be exactly what you need. Habits and goals are an external factor that has to become ingrained in us. I just don’t respond to that. Maybe you operate like this too? I respond way better to an inner fire. It goes along with this idea of motivation and inspiration. I don’t really respond to a “kick in the pants.” I wasn’t a great fit for most sports.

When I was forced into a box as a kid, I opted out. I am opting out of this movement.

Here’s why:
  1. Habits and goals purport to be the be-all and end-all. Not true. It’s not the only path toward success (whichever way you define that).
  2. This movement makes me feel unworthy or less than. As if I were doing something wrong in my journey. Again not true.
  3. Too many frauds pushing this agenda. They see an opportunity to cash in but they couldn’t care less about helping people. They simply regurgitate others info/data.
  4. Habits and goals work better in a perfect world and we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in an incredibly dynamic world. Flexibility and adaptability are the game these days. Habits and goals create an entrenched position. We need to evolve and grow with the times and environments we find ourselves in.
  5. We also need the ability to be creative, see connections where none existed beforehand, and find solutions to enormous and complex problems. Habits and goals won’t get us there. But the ability to dream and pursue a vision that excites us will.

So what do we do with this idea?

As leaders and marketers, we can bring this idea to bear in our respective industries and environments. We need to take the time to learn about our people at a deep level. What makes them tick? What brings them joy? When do they most feel alive? How do they best accomplish their work? Go deep. Get as personal as they will allow. Over time, develop trust that will allow us to learn more. Then we apply what we have learned. If we try to jam a square peg in a round hole, we will find anger, resentment, disillusionment, lack of participation, and ineffectiveness. But if we try to work with our people, work with their natural strengths and the way they operate, we will create more joy, more productivity, more innovation, more problem solving, and more impact.

Some people will need habits and goals. Some will not. Leadership is required to differentiate the two.

For marketing purposes, this has major applications as well. How do we differentiate the people we strive to serve? They have different needs too when it comes to our brands and businesses. If we aren’t taking the time to listen to the people within our communities, they won’t hesitate to jump ship to a community that does.

Loyalty isn’t built without leadership, listening, and customizing solutions.

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servant based leadership ldrbrnd gene

I’ve been helping leaders become better marketers for over 21 years and would love to help you take the next step in your spiritual leadership journey.

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