The Vulnerability of Goals
Updated: May 16, 2022
I used to view sharing my goals and ambitions like showing my hand in a game of poker or counting my chickens before they hatch. I would worry that someone might doubt my capabilities, fear the weight of accountability, and shudder at the thought of failure. But I’ve come to learn that this feeling of dread stems from an aversion to vulnerability, not reality.
A few months ago I publicly shared a specific goal for a fundraiser at Last Skier Standing. I was blown away to see the response from friends, family, and even strangers. I never thought that people would be so invested in the event, or me. I quickly surpassed my fundraising goal. After the event, I felt a tinge of embarrassment, even regret, for so publicly sharing a lap goal that I didn't end up achieving. However, in the days and weeks following, not a single person (outside of myself) fixated on the final lap count, and instead, people seemed genuinely interested in my story and experience on the laps I DID complete. In those moments of remorse, I had put more weight on an arbitrary number than it deserved. I had misjudged people’s desire to be a part of the whole journey, good and the bad, and not just the success story at the end.
Since that first (somewhat accidental) sharing of a goal, I’ve been more open about my objectives with those around me and it has been a catalyst for good in my life. It’s given me the chance to meet new friends, helped keep me accountable, showed me the types of goals I value most, and solicited conversations, advice, beta, and encouragement. Overall it’s proved to me that the benefits of sharing my aspirations may just outweigh the vulnerability of doing so.
As I began to think about sharing my biggest goals (those that come with a large degree of uncertainty) there were 3 harsh realities I had to come to terms with:
1) I will not complete all of my goals- that’s OK, in fact, that’s kind of the point. If I only set goals I know I can achieve I’d be setting my own ceiling. This also means I have to redefine “failure” from the concept of not achieving my goals, to the concept of never committing to them fully and openly.
2) My goals will change over time, they will shift focus and realign with my ever-evolving desires, realities, and life. Goals aren’t permanent or linear. As I achieve or let go of some I’ll have the chance to set others, which will bring me in whatever direction serves the authentic me best.
3) The true “essence” of my goals is not quantifiable. What I really hope to achieve can’t be captured in words or be put on a tick list. Proving to myself that I can do hard things may be more important than the actual hard thing. These goals will be a means to an end objective of growing as a human being.
So no matter which goals I achieve, which I leave behind, and which evolve into this journey called life- I’m truly excited to share them. So here are some of my goals and aspirations, written on the internet for all to see. Some of these are big and some feel more achievable, but all follow the realities outlined above and inspire me to get out and find a slightly better version of myself in the mountains.