On a recent interview for the Daily New Years Podcast, I learned something I had never considered before: timing is a crucial aspect of goal setting.
I was interviewing Dr. LaTanya Moore about the ups and downs of goal setting, and she was teaching me a great deal on the topic. As a licensed Therapist and Implementation Specialist, Dr. Moore helps individuals and organizations create effective goals and create successful outcomes. I’d call her an expert!
Towards the end of the interview, I asked Dr. Moore this question:
“Has there ever been a time when you had trouble achieving a goal that you really wanted? If so, how did you overcome the challenges?”
She responded with “Absolutely, we all have those times.”
Dr. Moore proceeded to tell me a story of wanting to move to a new city. Even though she knew there was something better for herself on the other side of this goal, she avoided the move.
Year after year she would make moving to a new city one of her annual goals only to find it still on her list the following year. This pattern went on for three years, and at first, she beat herself up about it.
Then, she realized something profound:
“You can’t expand and make progress if you’re not ready. […] Sometimes when you begin to do things earlier than when you’re supposed to or what that timing will allow, then it fails and it falls through.”
After Dr. Moore reflected on the timing of her goals, she realized that had she moved three years prior, she wouldn’t have been ready, that her mindset wouldn’t have been ready, and she would have ultimately failed.
I’ve personally explored many aspects of goal setting, but until now, timing wasn’t something I’ve considered thoroughly.
But, “Aren’t you supposed to push yourself beyond your comfort zone?” The short answer is yes, but the key is to know when to push yourself and when to know the timing isn’t right.
When to Push Yourself vs. When the Timing Isn’t Right
It’s usually easier to look back and acknowledge the timing of life after things have happened. They say that hindsight is 20/20, and that’s true, but if we’re looking backward, then it’s already too late to do something different, right?
How can we learn to acknowledge the timing of a situation when we’re smack dab in the middle of it?
I’m certainly no expert, but I believe that we need to learn to listen to our instincts (not to be confused with negative self-talk or self-limiting beliefs).
For example, I have a healthy fear of public speaking (who doesn’t!), but I would love to speak at the Global Leadership Summit some day. It’s one of my biggest goals, but I can’t apply or sign up today – I’m nowhere near ready!
The timing isn’t right, and I know it.
To do nothing, though, would mean that the timing would never be right, so I have to get outside of my comfort zone to gain some experience. For now, I enjoy signing up for minor speaking engagements at my local Chamber of Commerce, podcasting, etc.
These engagements take me well beyond my comfort zone, but not so far that I overextend myself or scare myself out of trying again. Knowing that I’m in a growing season in my life helps me to see the difference between my comfort zone and going too far.
Acknowledging the Seasons of Life
As my conversation with Dr. Moore unfolded, she said something else that I loved:
“Seeds won’t grow in the wrong season. If you plant something in the wrong season, it won’t grow, […] but if you plant it in another season, another time, then it will grow all over the place.”
It reminded me of a fantastic book I read a few years ago called Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn.
In this book, Jim highlights the similarities between life and the ever-changing seasons. He helps us to see that the seasons will change without fail and he uses the parable of the sower and reaper to show us how each season has its place in growth.
What I learned from the book is that sometimes we’re planting seeds and investing in ourselves. At other times, we’re growing. Then, later in life, we can reap the benefits of our hard work and determination.
Back to my public speaking example: during the current season of my life, I’m still finding my voice, developing my message, and building my platform. I want to have a significant, positive impact on the world, but I’m only planting seeds.
Every blog post I write and every podcast I record is one more seed in the soil. If I were to jump on a stage in front of 10,000 people today, my message would be weak, my impact on the crowd would be minimal, and I would probably never want to try speaking again.
But as I continue to plant seeds, they will continue to grow, and someday, when the timing is right, one of those seeds will flourish wildly. Someday, my message will be sharp and impactful, but today is not that day, and I’m okay with that. The timing is just not right.
Accepting the Timing of Your Life
As you think about your life right now, consider everything you have going on, starting with your most important life events.
Did you start a new job, get married, buy a new house, or have your first baby?
Or, did something terrible happen to you recently? Perhaps you’re going through a tough time in life and lost your job or are going through a divorce.
Either way, stopping to consider the more significant aspects of our lives can help us to realize the timing of everything else. If you just started a new job or had a baby, It may not be the right time to start that side hustle you’ve always dreamed about for so long.
It’s crucial to set goals that support each other and that work with everything else going on in your life. Last year I set a few goals for myself that were conflicting with one another, and I struggled to get anything done.
I was in the middle of a massive home remodel which was consuming most of my evenings and weekends, but I decided to start this blog and join a new board of directors at the same time anyway.
It was a very frustrating time in my life. The blog got off to a slow start, and I ultimately had to leave the board. Had I simply taken the time to evaluate the happenings of my life, I would have realized that timing was all wrong.
It’s not easy to say “no” to new things, especially those new things that you want so badly, but if you overextend yourself at the wrong time, you may be setting yourself up for unnecessary failure.
Look for the Right Time in Your Life
I talk about a lot of things on this blog. I push my readers to move past their comfort zones and to set big, challenging goals.
But at the end of the day, I don’t want you to ignore the timing of your life.
If you have something big going on already, maybe now is not the right time for an ambitious new goal. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, perhaps the best thing you can do is talk to a mentor and find your footing before setting a huge new goal.
If you don’t already have a mentor or a coach, please contact me. I’m always looking to help people identify, set, and achieve their goals. I want to help you achieve massive success.
Let’s talk soon.
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