Do you feel sometimes that you are in a fog? Or like you are heading into a cloud, where you can’t see very far ahead? People ask what your goals are and you ask “what goals?” You know that you should be setting goals but you feel like you don’t have a good grip on what you will face. And after 2020 we all might be a little leary of what chaos we might find in the next year or two. New Year’s will be really interesting this year.
But I discovered recently a different way to look at all this. I’ve been reading a book called The Education of an Idealist, by Samantha Power, who served as a foreign policy adviser to President Obama. She did a lot of work investigating and advocating for action against oppressive regimes in the Balkans and Sudan. She dealt with a lot of anxiety issues, both personal and workwise – often facing anxiety over decisions, afraid of failing or making a wrong decision.
She came upon a strategy she called the X factor. She asked herself ‘if I do this and all I achieve is blank, is that okay?’ She would be aiming at achieving a goal and downsized her expectations so that it would be okay if she only achieved a small goal and not the major one.
As an example, she was having dinner with Obama, while he was still just a Senator. She had hoped to be able to join his Senate team so as to be able to have more influence in dealing with the world troubles she was passionate about. She was afraid to ask but decided if all she was able to do was heighten the awareness of the issues, that would be okay. So she asked and got a spot on the team.
Sometimes we have to realize that it is not always about reaching the goal but it is the striving for it, the journey not the destination. Think back over trips you have taken and remember the lessons of the journey.