Tuesday, December 30, 2008
SMART Thoughts, Authentic Aims
At this time of year, we all start thinking about big things, like goals and targets. Even if we're not working, whether for someone else or for ourselves, we still like to plan out what we would like to get done in the New Year. Lots of us jump straight in there, making lists of what to do, and when to do it. SMART, if you haven't come across it before, is an acronym which is meant to remind us of the best way to set goals. Goals, it says, should be;
And that's true. The only way to be sure that you do what you want to do, is to be as specific as that. So, we move from, 'I want to do more dyeing', to ' I want to make x metres of hand dyed fabric by February, and another x metres by August. For more about SMART goals, try the site here for a clear explanation.
I know all this, I've taught lots of other people to work that way, too, and I know it is a great way of managing and measuring performance. The downside, for me, is that it focusses on what I'm going to do. For me, there's a bit more to it than that. I also want to think about how it is I'm going to be. I want to continue to be healthy, for instance. I want to be sure that I'm working authentically, too, making the work I want to make, and not work that I think might be commercial, or might suit this or that market... I've done a bit of that this year, and I don't want to do it any more.
So, I'm starting my goal setting, not with the specifics, but with the general. I'm asking the question, 'what do I want to achieve this year'. After all, if you don't have the big picture clear in your head, you might well miss something. That question, 'what do you want to achieve' is one of my favourites; I use it often when I'm coaching, or talking to people about a problem they have. We jump too quickly to 'fixing' things, without really getting a clear picture of what it is we want out of the situation. We get swept up in the issue, and forget to ask ourselves what is important to us.
What is important to me, this year, is this idea of authenticity. Most of my work comes from my inner landscape, or from talking to other people about theirs. For me, that means trusting myself, listening to my intuition, taking risks, exposing parts of myself that I might have kept hidden before. If you like, I'm defining the way I want to work, before I sit down and write up the goals. I want to work openly, honestly, directly, clearly. I want to continue with the themes I've been working with recently, of scarring, cracking and erosion. I want to work with other people, too, to help them to work out what they need to be authentic, how they need to work, and what they need to work on, to achieve that aim, or whatever else their aim turns out to be. I want to fill my life with joy, and share that joy with others.
Now, I'm ready to start thinking about goals, the specifics, such as the two books I am committed to writing this year. If you are going through the goal setting process, just give yourself some time first, to being clear about what you want to achieve this year, and how you want to achieve it, before you start listing what you are going to do. I'm sure it will help.