I am a big fan of Simon Sinek because of his work, his thoughts and ideas. I find sync in what he does and I wish to imbibe the learnings in my life and profession. For those who is not familiar with Simon, he is a leadership guru, professor at Columbia University, founder of SinekPartners (Corporate Refocusing) and author. He is best known for popularizing the concept of “the golden circle” and to “Start With Why“. I chanced upon a beautiful video by Simon this morning and I found this to be so in tune with myself. The video talked about finite goals vs. infinite goals. I always had finite goals in my life. I always had plans in place for everything I did. Although I was spontaneous with certain things, but as far as my major goals in life were concerned, I always had finite goals set and I achieved them. But with every achievement, I felt the strong inquiry deep within me: What next now? I didn't really acknowledge myself for growing in that space of attainment of the goal. Even if I did celebrate my achievements, I didn't viscerally feel it. As a hind-side, my expectations of others were the same. My acknowledgements of others were as cold as my self-acknowledgements. In fact, the joy after every achievement was not as great as the zeal to get to the goal was. I didn't know how to enjoy the journey because majorly my focus was on achieving the goal. Life is infinite, our careers are infinite and so are the experiences. Along with the achievements, there were regrets of losing out on certain aspects, certain sacrifices and many more. And when I didn't achieve some of my goals, there was sheer resentment and shame for self. As if I never learnt to embrace the joy of learning and the growth that happened inside of me because of playing that game no matter the win or lose. After hearing Simon talk about finite goals, I realized that all my life I had set such goals and I didn't know how to convert these goals into infinite so that I find more fulfillment and joy in what I do. Converting finite goals to infinite means, how you now after having attained what you wanted to, become better and better at it. Because that is something infinite and boundless and not just restricted to just achieving the goal but getting better at what you achieved.
Of late, I have been interviewing inspiring leaders with an intent to know their inside world so that I can pen these observations & learnings in the form of a book that I want to gift to the world. I have spoken to quite a few of them, all high-achievers, excellent performers in their choice of field. But one thing was common: many acknowledged that there was no fulfillment, they looked for the next goal, there was vacuum inside, loneliness at being who they are etc. Some of these were acknowledged and some weren't. I could relate to them because I saw a reflection of me in them when they shared this. And today's video by Simon just was a bull's eye to this entire experience. When you focus on finite goals, you just focus on achieving it without really enjoying the journey. You focus on everything that you encounter with the lens of how this would help me in getting to my goal. You become absorbed in attaining that goal and hence, when you achieve that you don't derive any fulfillment in that because that was majorly focused on achieving and not on contribution bigger than self; majorly on feeling good and not on making a difference; on either success or failure and not on the journey of evolution as a result of embarking on that journey. Finite goals are fixated but infinite goals are filled with possibilities and limitlessness. One talks about achievement and the other focuses on potential and growth. It is important to find fulfillment by being on the journey and not just achieving it. There's nothing wrong in achievement but when that becomes an addiction and not a source of joy, you miss out on the major aspect of your being and who you are becoming/evolving in that journey. When the focus is on others, their growth and not on me, there is more joy in attaining those goals. The power is always in the journey. Goals are about what you become in achieving your goals not what you get. Getting is the finish line but goals are infinite and so are the possibilities of creation.
To play the infinite game, you need your will and resources to keep playing no matter the win or loose and then create infinite possibilities for yourself and others. There is scope for improvement in all of us. It's a matter of choice though to keep playing this game and realize your truest potential. Some of the questions that you can ask yourself to set infinite goals for 2019:
What empowers you to preserve even when you feel like giving up?
Are you up to be your better version of self to fulfill your bigger cause?
What would you like to leave behind you to outlast your finite presence and contribution?
Are you choosing the finite goal or infinite goal in 2019?
Love and warmth, Priyanka
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals