Throw Out Your Goals

Brad Pitt. A friend on mine told me a story about him. We were talking about how we’re surrounded by people who’ve not only chased their dreams, but have achieved them. What most people don’t see is their perseverance. Pitt had dropped out of college, moved to the city of angels, did a lot of odd jobs like wearing a chicken suit to promote El Pollo Loco for years, before he landed his first major roll in Thelma & Louise. Now he’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

There was a study done on a high school class. The study followed late into their adult lives. It found those who stuck to one career path had earned and attained more than their combined classmates who didn’t. This story has floated around the self-help industry for many years, and is rumored to be just a folk tale. But its prevalence tells us a truth.

I was talking to a friend, and she’d reconnected with one of her long time classmates who works for Coke. This person is about ten years younger than I, but has climbed much higher on the corporate ladder. I’d always moved from job to job. She’s worked for Coke since high school, about eight years now, and illustrates an important point about consistency.

A few years ago, I went to a Renaissance Faire. I love them. My girlfriend at the time and I were watching a turtle race. Each person would place bets on a turtle of their choice. The race started. Contestants yelled and screamed, urging their turtle to crawl faster. One turtle, slow and steady, made great headway and was literally one step away from crossing the finish line. Then it stopped with one foot stuck in the air. All it had to do was place the foot down, and, bam, it won. It just froze. Another turtle from behind took the win.

So what’s the point? Once you find your passion in life, follow through with it. Whether success is truly overnight—it does happen—or takes time, love the process. If you love to act, go into every audition and act! If you love to work on projects for your company, or love reaching sales goals, go in every day and love working.

For the process is really what we love. The goals matter little. Why? Well what happens once an actor becomes a huge movie star like Pitt? What happens to the sales executive who reaches their ultimate sales goal? They continue to act, continue to sell, continue their work. All of them display a high level of dedication (knowing what they want), focus (loving what they do), and take each step toward their dreams (doing what they love).

Love your work. The goal will come.