As I was reading “Journey into Power” by Baron Baptiste I came across a concept that blew my mind: “shifting from being goal-oriented to being process-oriented”. I could not say how many times I have heard over the last past years “it is not the destination but the journey that really matters”. I did understand the idea but it remained just that to me, an idea, a concept, something hypothetical.
In coaching, we provide our clients with a safe space to express themselves, brainstorm and put their ideas together. As we co-create this relationship we bridge the gap between where the clients are in the present and where they want to be. To do so we identify goals, assess what are the resources and obstacles at hand, build tools along the way, strategize and design actions. All this contributes in moving the individual forward. There is of course a great sense of victory in achieving one’s goal. It is also fundamental to acknowledge and celebrate the milestones. Sometimes, in the process of achieving the goal, we evolve and may become more ambitious or circumstances change and for whatever reason the goal needs to be adjusted or modified.
There is a distinction between having a goal and being goal-oriented. When we stay focused solely on the goal we may loose track of other aspects of our lives that may be meaningful to us and compromise “too much”. We then derive satisfaction only as we achieve this goal and may enter a “tunnel vision” mode. To me, that is what I call being “goal-oriented”. Having a goal on the other is like establishing a vanishing point that offers a direction to set the compass on. It allows a little more flexibility in the sense where as we reach the intermediate milestones we can assess if the goal is still desirable as it is or at all. Like I said earlier, we are in constant evolution and it is only natural that our goals evolve with us.
I believe that in addition to supporting my clients in developing and reaching their goals it is essential for them to enjoy the process. It is a process! This process may include rediscovering oneself, making changes, gaining awareness about what they tolerate, what are their needs and their values, redefine their boundaries and raise their standards, learn to have fun and relax, step out of their comfort zone or build their self-confidence. No matter what the process implies it has to be pleasurable on some level and feel good.
Any of the actions listed above require effort and dedication and rather than coming from a place of brutal self imposed will it all flows so much better when it comes from a place of authentic growth that is to say in alignment with the true-self and a sense of purpose. It is easier to follow through with an authentic commitment of being healthy finding an physical activity we enjoy rather than forcing ourselves to go run at 5am when you hate to run and getting up early just because you read somewhere that it is the thing to do. In one case you will find enjoyment, stick to it and be inspired to implement other healthy habits to complement and support your choice and in the other case you will torture yourself until you drop it all and beat yourself up for not keeping your commitment of running 3 times a week at 5am in the slush when it is still dark and cold. I am caricaturing but you get the idea.
In other words, being process-oriented is to implement habits, tools and resources that contribute in generating joy, energy and enthusiasm on a daily basis for us to attain our goals in the best possible manner. This way we get to truly relish every minute of our lives instead of the quick fleeting moment where we have reached “the” goal that we had set especially if it is no longer what we truly desire or that the price for it was too high to pay. A goal, destination, finishing line needs to be offering an orientation and it is all the more pleasant to remain free to wander on the way there and enjoy the ride for the only true final destination in this life is death and one of the things life is about is our chance to grow and contribute. Most importantly, as we shift from a goal-oriented life to a process-oriented one we shift from a life of “doing” to a life of “being”.