You know that moment when you’ve gotten clear on what you want, mustered up the courage to ask for what you need, and then put it out into the world?
For me there’s this exhilaration and nervous energy in my body. It’s the start of dreams becoming true. I’ve done the work and I’m ready for the world to welcome me with open arms. And then they don’t. Not because my destination is off-course, but because I first needed to learn an important lesson that I hadn’t yet learned.
Setting goals meant I was placing my worth in the hands of the goal’s outcome. If I “succeeded,” I was worthy and good. If I “failed,” I obviously wasn’t. This can take on many different forms. Maybe it means people don’t like me or I didn’t try hard enough or my idea was stupid. In any of these scenarios I am somehow assuming that the outcome of my goal is a direct representation of me. Realizing this took more than just hearing someone tell me.
Apparently, I had to keep setting goals and not “achieving” them before I could learn this lesson: it’s possible to set goals and remain detached from the outcome.
Basically, this is the fundamentals of the law of attraction, as I understand it. You need to be clear on what you want, let it be known, and then let it go. In my experience, this is a whole lot easier said than done. But I’m tenacious which means that I’m going to keep doing it, not just saying it, until it really sinks in.
Recently, I set a goal. I got really clear on my destination, asked for what I needed (multiple times), and then thought I let it go. But I hadn’t. How could I tell? The moment people didn’t do what I had asked them to do in the way I asked them to do it, it stung. I felt disappointed and even resentful. I wanted to think it meant they didn’t believe in me or think I was worthy.
So long as those feelings were present, I was attached to the outcome. I was trying to control the situation. I was clinging to “how” I reached my destination as opposed to trusting the process.
It’s not easy to put ourselves out there. But just because I put myself out there doesn’t mean I’m going to get what I want exactly how I want it. I’m learning to trust that I will eventually get what I want; it just might look differently than I thought.
So, how do we set goals without being attached?
Get clear on where we are headed
For me, this is writing and publishing a book. My goals are simply stepping stones I set along the way towards my destination, ideally to make the world a better place. Equally, whether or not I “achieve them” does not make me any more or less whole and complete.
Stay on the path without drawing the map
Once I am clear on where I am heading, I get to practice trusting and accepting whatever path leads me there. My path might look different than someone else’s. I don’t get to decide the route. I do get to trust that whatever path is laid out before me is mine to follow with total presence and willingness.
Stop taking it personally
How often do we start to wonder, “What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? Am I not lovable? Am I not worthy?” As soon as these questions arise it means we are taking it personally. I get it. It stings at first when someone says “no” or doesn’t respond when we ask for what we want.
So, if you have a goal that is not going the way you want, rather than questioning your worth or your dedication or your launch strategy, ask yourself if you are still in any way attached to the outcome. You’ll know you are if you are feeling any resentment, anger, or disappointment towards yourself or others.
We’re human, so we will inevitably feel those things. The practice is to observe them, feel them, and then let them move through you. Then, begin to notice if the next time you set a goal and things don’t go exactly as planned, maybe there’s a little less disappointment or it isn’t as devastating.
This means you’re on your path. This means you’re finding the balance between setting goals and remaining detached from the outcome. Congratulations.