A few months ago I had the painful realization that I had lost sight of my primary life goal in the process of trying to achieve it.
I have a lot of life goals, but the most important one to me is to build something that benefits the less fortunate at a grand scale. Whether this will manifest itself in a charity, social enterprise, school or church I’m not sure.
With this goal in mind, I’ve felt like my time is best spent learning as much as I can about how to build a company. I still feel this way.
I’ve tried to squeeze as much output out of every day in order to maximize my learning and value-add to whatever I’m involved with. I walk fast to the subway. I try to optimize every process. I’m obsessed with productivity. Sound familiar?
But in my brisk walks to the subway or feverish moleskin journaling, I casually pass by people who’ve fallen on hard times. On weeknights, I forego opportunities to volunteer to “network” or purge my inbox. I opt in to read stories from some tech blog before TheDailyGood.
One day it hit me. During this obsession of learning how to build a company/be an effective employee/founder, I actually deviated from engaging with my goal: helping the less fortunate. I lost sight of the end goal in the process of trying to achieve it. It’s silly to think I need to build CharityWater 2.0 before I allocate some more focus on helping those who’ve been dealt a worse hand. Just like it’s silly to think you need a technical co-founder or funding before you start working on your company.
Now I’m a realist. I acknowledge I can’t stop for every person I see on the street or spend every night volunteering and still play at the level I want to at my job. I’d also like to admit that care about money. Why? Because I never want my family to want or be excluded from the opportunities I’ve been afforded in my own life. But still, I can find a better balance and keep in mind that the seeds I sow at every scale matter.
If nothing else this realization was a valuable lesson that we need to keep the big picture in mind during the journey. Otherwise, we risk foregoing opportunities to engage with our end goals in our preparation to achieve them.
Which begs the question to anyone who is reading this right now: What is your ultimate goal? Are you engaging with it during your journey to get there?