Why Discovery Leads Design
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“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”– Roy E. Disney
Today, I’d like to share one of my favorite ahas from our 2022 ONE Thing Goal Setting Retreat last weekend. For the past six years, we’ve hosted a two-day retreat to share a framework for setting near- and long-term goals from a foundation of purpose and values.
To explain why, I’ll present you with a choice. In the image below are two paths. You’ll need to decide which is the right one for you. One is a wide-open highway going downhill into the horizon. Strap on your seat belt and hit the gas! The other is a forbidding mountain path into icy crags and blistering winds. Strap on your crampons and hope that a storm doesn’t blow in.
If I told you your dreams lay down either path, only an alpinist with a Red Bull sponsorship chooses the mountain route. Virtually everyone prefers speed and comfort over frostbite and misery. It’s a no-brainer.
The challenge is that most of us don’t know which path leads us to our dreams. We don’t know which one will honor our purpose and our values.
Our keynote speaker Jordan Freed observed, “Life is a journey of discovery and design.” Before we can create our life by design, we must do the messy, challenging work of discovering who we are, where we’re going, and who we want to become along the way.
This brings to mind the famous passage in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
I’ll admit that I’m built for design, not discovery. I love breaking down goals into plans. However, it took me years to clearly articulate my core values. I still struggle setting someday goals. It all feels fuzzy and fraught with emotion. For others, discovery is joyful work. They like prying back the lid and examining their deepest motivations. Someday goals give them permission to dream without boundaries.
Having facilitated our retreat for six years now, I think people fall into one bucket or the other. They favor discovery or design. The challenge is that we must begin with discovery for the design to matter.
Author Robert Brault observed, “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” This is especially true when discovery doesn’t lead design. We see the wide-open highway —the low-hanging fruit —and aim our efforts at the obvious “win.” Lives led by design without discovery often end in regret. One day we realize all the accomplishments ring hollow. Or worse, we look up and realize we’re traveling to a destination, a career, or company that runs counter to our values.
As you design your 2023, I’d urge you to do some discovery work. It’s as simple as answering two questions.
1) What are your core values?
While most struggle to articulate their purpose or to write an authentic mission statement, core values seem to be more accessible. What are the values that have informed your biggest decisions? When you’ve experienced regret, what values did you violate? My rule is that any big decision must score a 9 out of 10 on my values of impact, family, and abundance. Will it make an impact? Will it serve my family? Will it create abundance? If you need help, we created a Core Values Deck to assist. It took me years, but it doesn’t have to take you as long. In as little as 30 minutes, you can create a compass for your decision making.
2) Where are you going?
Ten years from now, what do you want your life to look like? Your 2023 goals should be the next logical step toward future you. And if that means we have to choose the mountain path through ice and winds, we’ll be warmed by the knowledge that we are one step closer to what we truly want.
When you know what you’ve said YES to, decisions become clear. We have a compass to navigate all of life’s big decisions.
If this discovery work doesn’t come naturally to you, please consider tapping into our Goal Setting Retreat next year. We are running a deep discount promo until November 14. The tools are there if you choose to tap into them.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: How can I keep my values and someday goals in focus as I plan for 2023?
Make an Impact!