What is your goal? Or maybe that’s the wrong question to be asking
We'd been dating for over a year. On this night, I was tired, hungry and cranky, and here we were stuck once again with no plans for our dinner date. I was frustrated at the whole situation, so of course, it all came out in my response to my husband:
“Well, glad you thought that one out a bit more.”
He took a minute to process the words that were coming out of my mouth. I had retaliated once again with a cheeky response that gave me the upper hand. He took a deep breath, grabbed my hands and looked at me. He simply said:
“What is your goal?”
Ouch. Those words are forever etched in my mind, as I realized the impact not just of the biting words of sarcasm, but the deeper impression of intention I had created. I may have been sharing my feelings, but the way in which I did them wasn’t just venting my frustration, but with a clear underlying goal of proving to my husband that he had failed and I knew it.
Do you communicate...or connect?
As a marriage and family coach, I love to dig deep into self awareness and recognizing the personality styles of each of us. As we look into the gifts each of us have, we can learn how the uniqueness of each of us strengthens all of us.
Part of this insight is learning that communicating with others is so, so much more than just the words coming out of your mouth. Intent, tone, body language and touch can be so critical to the message you want to get across. When I work with families, I’m looking not at simple communication, but true connection.
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Before you speak...
Think about the statement above. When you are talking with your spouse, your children, or anyone, ask yourself before you speak, “what is my goal?” When you bite back or cut down, is your goal to prove a point? To unleash the anger inside of you? To build up the relationship and strengthen it, or have the upper hand and “win”?
Make sure the words you choose to use show respect for your loved one not only in words but in how it hits to their heart. Choose to be the good and see the good in each other.
2 methods for handling life
There are two ways we communicate, and two ways we can connect:
This is triggered oftentimes by our fears - insecurity, feeling out of control, rejection, criticism, etc. When you are stressed and under pressure, you tend to respond more out of reaction, and thinking/processing may not always be at the forefront.
A friend once told me, “Think three times, speak only once.” - with my “ready, fire….aim” approach, this was great advice. Once the words come out of your mouth, it’s hard to take them back - and even if you hadn’t thought out the intent, you can be assured the other person has already felt the impact of your words.
This connection isn’t a positive one - it’s like two ping-pong balls bouncing back and forth - no end, just rebuttals. No softness and flow; just the jarring of a hit that instantly pushes you away from one another.
This is powerful, thought out, and clear on the goal. I tell my girls all the time, “just be love.” If you have the intention of love, it’s hard to see how “you’re stupid” would ever fit in.
If you truly want to see the good in others, to genuinely see how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us, then you need to be the good first. Be the good and it’s amazing how quickly you’ll start to see the good in others.
To connect with intention, ask yourself what your goal is before the words come out of your mouth. Make sure it conveys the feeling and the emotion you want to embrace. When you are upset and wanting to react, remember that you have control over only one thing - you.
You have no right to tell others what they are thinking or feeling.
When you express your emotion, make sure it is what you are feeling, not what they did. Although it made you feel this way, you cannot state with confidence exactly what the other person is going through - that is their perspective, full of their history and their emotions. A discussion is not a monologue - own your feelings, and give the other a chance to share theirs.
What is your goal?
What do you really want in your relationship? Have you looked at your family vision - to identify not just what you want in your home, but the feelings behind them? That right there...it's more than just the goal. It's the feeling behind it.
Feelings, nothing more than feelings...
Ah, feelings. It is so, so critical we pay attention to this. Sometimes we just go straight toward the goal without really recognizing the why behind it. What feelings does it instill?
Think of your most intimate relationship. What feelings do you want to have there? Comfort, love, passion, security, desire...
Move on to your family. What emotions do you want to feel when you walk into your home? Peace, joy, safety, vulnerability...
Consider your bucket list. Do you dream of traveling to a special destination, living a nomad life, sky-diving or even a week of simply doing nothing? WHY?
Start with WHY
A dear friend reminded me of this, and the power of asking "why" five times. Think of this. Take your bucket list dream. Your big goals. Your "one day" adventures. And ask yourself this simple question. WHY?
One day, I want to travel the world with my family.
So we can see new places and learn about life beyond what we know.
To learn more, broaden our world-view, and learn empathy.
To be more aware, more compassionate, and more connected to humanity.
So I feel I've shown my girls perspective beyond our own world-view and have equipped them - and myself - to recognize our impact on the greater whole while getting to know who we are even more.
To be present in the moment. Aware of the people around me. Connected. Eager to learn and grow. Soaking in the beauty and living in gratitude.
Now your goals are shifting!
As you dig deep into the why behind the want, it opens the door of opportunity...and, it eliminates your excuse. What I mean by that is this - once I broke down my why - all the way to simply soaking in the present moment with gratitude - learning and growing and embracing what is right in front of me - looking with new eyes and truly being in the moment...
My goal didn't seem so far off anymore. My mindset preceded that lofty goal, and instead of me simply putting my life on hold until that goal was achieved, I actually started with that deepest emotion from those whys: being PRESENT.
It becomes a mindset
The shift comes first with your mindset. Before you even approach your goal, start with your emotion around it.
When I pulled back and looked at that deeper why - that desire to be present and see the world with gratitude - that is when I truly embraced the most important step toward reaching my goal. I created my adventure mindset.
I started within. I chose to be grateful for what was. I got intentional about stopping the forever to-dos and started soaking in the present moment, finding time every day to ground myself and enjoy my family.
And as I started to embrace the moment and see things in a new light, I started getting that feeling of awe, excitement and wonder that I craved from travel. Travel did eventually happen, and we spent a month in Costa Rica. Since then, we've shifted our lifestyle completely to a nomadic one as we have been RVing the States full time for over two years now.
Get clear with your intention
Our travels continue, and our desire to keep growing and learning will always be a part of our family - we're life-long learners!
So again - in our relationships, and in life, we can choose to react or get intentional. And getting intentional means digging deep and exploring the emotions and the why behind what you are doing.
How is 2019 going to pan out for you and your family? Are you ready to really ask, what is your goal?