Transforming Caregiver Stress into Compassion Resilience

Why You Need Impossible Goals

I have just spent a joyful afternoon with a talented singer, helping her discover, and create an IMPOSSIBLE GOAL.

But we all know that goals should be SMART, right? Acheivable, measurable, and all that?

Well, yes, there are some goals in life perfectly suited to that model. They are the kinds of goals that build the bridge to that next place, the place where your impossible goal is taking you.

Because when it comes to excelling in performance, staying committed and motivated in the long term, and mastering your passion, only big, audacious, impossible goals will do.

A goal that is powerful enough to transform you, and reshape you, into the performer you desire to be.

Leadership consultant and author Tracey Goss has influenced my thinking about creating impossible futures. In her book, The Last Word On Power, she asks a simple, but potent question,“What do you choose to use your life for?”  and its a similar question I put to my clients,

What do you choose to use your instrument, your voice, your talent for?

And after a little reflection or a lot soul searching, they almost always discover illuminating answers that help them move into inspired and focused action.

Because you need to be committed to a  goal that is bigger than THIS  practice, THIS performance, THIS feedback.  You need a big, fat, juicy,  reason why you are choosing THIS kind of life, doing what you are doing now.

Take a moment to think about your current goals.

Is this goal going to get you out of bed in the morning over the next ten years? Is this goal big enough, impossible enough, that it depends on your full committment to it, and you are prepared to spend a lifetime in pursuit of it because it makes life – and your music – worth playing? A goal that you don’t turn your mind to just when you get to work, or when you get home. Because it encompasses your work and your home. It encompasses who you are being, and becoming.

The goal does not, in reality, have to be impossible, but it does need to be bold and worthwhile.  And this is definitely NOT about wishful thinking or pie in the sky visions.  It needs to be purposeful, powerful and relevant.

And its okay not know how you will get there, or even if you ever will.  You may fail.

But accepting the possibility of failure does not mean you give up pursuing it.  Acceptance is not the same as resignation or defeat. Because this new goal has significant impact, simply through the pursuit of it.

Here’s the thing. When you live into this new possibility of the future, it transforms your thoughts, your actions, your responses, your choices, and their results.   You choose to live your life from this new context.  You operate differently in this  new future that you have declared is possible.   It is not the acheivement of the goal that becomes the focus, but the person you are becoming through the process of  pursuing it;  the process shapes your identity into the self, the performer,  you eventually want to be.

At every defeat, at every knock-back, you simply re-organise to take action that moves you nearer towards making your possibility a reality.  And you choose to do that, no matter how difficult, because its worth it.

This is what keeps you committed. This is what keeps you powerful in the face of mistakes, challenge and adversity (not to mention critical audiences).

Of course what you choose to commit to may change.  Along the way a new goal may emerge, a new reason for playing, for dancing, that may never have revealed itself before.   And that’s okay.  The point is to surrender yourself to being in the service of a larger force, a force that takes you beyond the limited ego goals of needing to impress, to sound good, to be admired or liked.  A force that matters more than the next wrong note, or mistake.

Kenny Werner (Effortless Mastery) says, ” You have to discover a reason for living that is more important than playing! You need a sense of self that is stable, durable and not attached to your last solo.”

Staying connected to your greater purpose leads you towards inspired action; not just in the next performance, but in your life.

What do YOU choose to use your passion, your talent, for?



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