Seth Godin had a brilliant post up the other day, about the goals we don’t often admit on New Year’s Day, whether to ourselves or others:
What you rarely hear is, "I don't want to fail," "I don't want to look stupid," or "I don't want to make any mistakes."
The problem is that those goals are really common, and left unsaid, they dominate...
Think about how often your goal at a conference or a meeting or in a project is, "don't screw up!" or "don't make a fool of yourself and say the wrong thing."
These are very easy goals to achieve, of course. Just do as little as possible.
The problem is that they sabotage your real goals, the achievement ones.
Every good trait has a shadow trait. Neatness’s shadow can be compulsiveness. Striving can turn into perfectionism. Creativity can be eaten alive by disorganization.
We can have shadow goals, too. A goal to get published can be crippled by “I don’t want this sentence to suck.” “I don’t want people to think I’m a terrible writer.” “I don’t want to write a query an agent will make fun of.”
I make a goal of my fears. I once made a goal to write one blog post that embarrassed me each week, LOL. I made a goal to come up with 365 stupid ideas, 52 awful pitches, and 12 boring proposals.
Whatever puts the shadow out in the light.
What about you? Do you have shadow goals? Ones that lurk in your mind, hiding behind your real goals? How do you deal with them?