Setting goals begins with this one question

One Question That Can Dramatically Impact Your Future

Every once in a while, life presents you with a defining moment. Some may even call it an epiphany. But if you’re not aware enough to identify it as such, you could miss a major growth opportunity.

I wrote in an earlier blog of one of those moments, when I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’d like to share another one I experienced on the road to discovering what I was meant to do. This one is related to the other, and it involves my wife.

Making Room to Dream

It was the end of March and the weather was finally warming up. Atlanta in the spring is truly one of the most beautiful places to be, and my wife and I love taking advantage of the outdoor opportunities the warm weather affords.

This year it also happened to be a really busy season for us and we were feeling (especially my adventurous wife) a strong desire for something different. We wanted to get away, if only for a night, and be near the water. So I got on AirBnb and started looking around at some options. After some searching, I manged to find the perfect place for our getaway: a docked sailboat on Lake Lanier.

How cool is that?

We had such an amazing time. We got burgers to-go at a nearby tavern and ate them on a secluded beach while watching the sunset. Then we just sat on the back of the boat, drinking wine and listening to music. Many boats around us had string lights on as their occupants did the same. We were having a great time reconnecting, away from all the distractions.

Then my wife asked me this question:

What do you want?

See, my wife has this God-given ability to cut through pleasantries and go deep in conversation, creating a vulnerability that fosters connection. And there she went again. And it truly took me by surprise and I was having trouble answering at first.

But this one question forced me stop and focus on something I had not asked myself in a long time. What do I want? Why can’t I clearly articulate it? I needed to change that.

At the time, I said there were a number of things I wanted. A family, the freedom to spend time with them and to serve God with my talents. But In the months since it was first posed, I just keep coming back to this question and what it’s teaching me:

1. You need time to focus on what’s important

Life was crazy when we did our sailboat getaway. We recognized the signs that we needed some quiet time, out in nature. And often when you’re faced with the beauty, peace and scale of things like oceans, lakes, mountains and stars, you’re naturally left pondering your place in the world

2. You need to ask good questions

I know I’m often guilty of letting moments go by – both with the relationships around me as well as myself – without being intentional. In the same way that it is hard to really know someone without taking the time to really talk to them, you can’t fully understand what you want in life without a little self-talk. Get alone, ask questions and listen. If that’s difficult for you, set aside some time with a trusted friend to help begin the process.

3. Knowing what you want helps you define why you do what you do

This is a big one. Setting goals naturally acknowledges a direction you’re headed. It also creates accountability for your life. If your goal is to open your own bakery, you’ll be spending many hours practicing your craft, researching locations and learning from others. The goal dictates what you focus on. Without a clear vision of what you want, your time becomes free to roam where it wants, leaving very little leftover for the things that may bring you closer to the life you desire.

This all takes practice and it will develop over time, as it has been for me. But it’s so worth it. So take some time, either alone or with a friend or your spouse, and ask the question, ” What do I want?”

Please let me know what you discover by leaving a comment!

Setting goals begins with this one question

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