What are your goals? Do you know what they are? What about your New Years Resolutions? Are those goals or just something you do because you are supposed to do it and you want to be a generally better person?
I ask because the mentoring program I'm part of is all about helping high school students set and achieve their goals. Way back in October during the retreat that kick the program off (
the launch course), we all set goals. Not just the students, but also the mentors. I went through a little bit of an epiphany. The information wasn't so much new to me as was the weight I put on it. I mentioned this before, but was kind of quiet about what it was.
The epiphany? I've been telling myself that I'm happy being single, unmarried, etc. And while I am content (generally), I really want to be married and have a family. What I had been telling myself was that I wanted to open a bookstore. Which I do, but it isn't what really moves me most.
Now, for those reading this that I've asked out and may ask out, rest assured that I understand that starting off with the baby factory thing is not how to do thing. There will be those I date where I know that's not the person's goal. I won't be trying to convince anyone they should become a wife and mother. There can be fun, meaningful, and even lasting relationships that don't lead to my ultimate goal. But I know what my ultimate goal is.
One of the things that prevents me from having relationships is that I am extremely scared of
making moves. Rejection freaks me out. Big time. So I avoid taking risks. Which of course doesn't result in any less rejection. My goal coming out of the launch course was to ask out someone at least 3 times per month. I even put that in my New Years resolutions (and one person objected to that resolution because it made women feel like a number). I need to risk rejection if I am going to get what I want eventually.
Now, back to the title of this entry. Yesterday at our mentoring meeting, the program director introduced the concept of anté-ing for our goals. Most of the students have goals around school. The mentors have goals around losing weight, applying for grad school, starting a business, etc. He asked one mentor if losing weight (her goal) would be worth $3000 to her. (The actual conversation was more involved than that, of course.) He challenged her to anté up a check for $3000 to play. He would hold the check until the end of the course. If she achieved her weight loss, she'd get the check back. If not, he'd send it to someone she hates (I think it was some pro-life group).
The concept being the same as in poker. If you aren't risking anything, you aren't playing. Making goals with nothing on the line doesn't always motivate one to push hard. At worst, you are where you started.
Now, I've actually achieved my goal mostly (so far). But I've decided to anté up anyway. Put something on the line to motivate myself. I didn't at the meeting, mostly because I wasn't sure what to bet. I thought about my car, but in the end it didn't feel like a real risk to me. More than one person has received a hand-me-down car from me.
But when I got home last night, staring me in the face was something that would be a risk. My books. As anyone who knows me knows, I love my books. So I'm thinking of betting my personally signed copies of China Miéville's books on me meeting my commitment. The only thing holding me back on it right now is that I don't know if the kids will relate to it at all. I do want something they can relate to, to hopefully inspire them to take their own goals seriously.
Back to the question I asked at the top. What are your goals? Are you willing to risk something real to you to motivate you to accomplish your goal?