Do You Want The Thing or The Feeling You Believe The Thing Will Provide?
Before prison, I chased a lot of carrots on sticks:
- Job Title
- Financial Targets
- Materialistic Possessions
A carrot on a stick is always in view and always out of reach.
The list above does not appear to be carrots on sticks; each one of these is tangible and achievable.
I became a Senior Enterprise Account Executive.
I earned the various financial targets I set for myself.
I owned a lot of what I was after — the cars, the watches, the clothes.
So why am I calling them carrots on sticks?
Because I was chasing the feeling I thought each of these carrots would produce.
I believed the story I made up around the carrot.
And when I actually grabbed the carrot, I felt that feeling, and it felt amazing.
Until it faded and a new carrot appeared.
The next promotion
An extra 50k per year
Panerai (the watches I collected) came out with a new model? I had to have it.
I wasn’t chasing the carrots.
I was chasing the feeling, and nothing external would ever fill what I thought I needed.
I was on the golden treadmill experiencing short-term hit after short-term hit.
But it wasn’t until I blew it all up and went deep on a journey of self-discovery did I understand something that changed the way I look at goals:
I’m the one holding the stick.
Whatever goal I set for myself, I want the feeling I believe that goal will give me. I want the story I’ve made up around the goal.
And here’s the thing: If it’s a feeling I’m after, I can feel that right now.
Let’s say I believe my goal of “X” will bring me joy. There are lots of ways I can experience joy right now, including:
Making progress towards the goal.
Focusing on the process, not the outcome.