I’ve always been a little suspicious of people who talk about goal setting. It could be because I find life to be a lot more fun when I can do what I want to do, and don’t have to pay attention to trivial things like goals and objectives. And it could also be that some of the people who talk about goal setting sound a little like snake oil salesmen—offering a quick fix for our over scheduled, over busy lives.
But here’s the thing. Goals matter. To move through life without priorities is to perpetually live life as a 16-year-old. And that never works out well. The key is to have goals (and objectives) line up with your values. And that’s where things can get sticky for lawyers.
Lawyers are master strategists. We are problem solvers par excellence. What we’re not real good at is introspection—doing those deep dives into the psyche to try to come to grips with what we’re about and what drives us. Something surely drives us—we’re just not too good at figuring it out.
But figure it out we must. Goals and objectives aren’t worth much if they aren’t in service to those things that really matter in our lives. And things get messy when we spend a huge chunk of our life in service to a goal that doesn’t align with our values.
Is connection with friends and family what you value? Then why are you killing yourself trying to make a mid six figure income this year? Is your priority your children? Then being a kick ass mother might be a better goal this year than working 7 days a week to make equity partner.
Now, I get it’s never that simple. There are great parents who happen to be equity partners. And certainly there are people who make good money and have deep relationships with friends and family. But every day we are called on to make choices. And it is naive to live as if those choices don’t have consequences.
Spend some time trying to find clarity around the things that truly matter to you. What do you really value? What does your heart really long for? When you can begin to find the answers to those questions, then your goals will serve your values. Your values will drive your choices. And life will begin to look a whole lot different.