Carving a Life

I am reading and writing more about goal setting and how to go about it.  Todd Bauerle wrote an article that responded to another article about not setting goals.  The title put me off but I set that aside and read on.  It made sense. 

Todd’s focus is on how to create a dream.  He explains the need for faith, inspiration and vision.  SMART goals bog down that process.

My photography professors often cautioned me against planning out a photo-shoot.  They tried to get me to understand that I was limiting myself to what I could imagine.  They showed by example that when you set off to create something amazing without deciding in advance what amazing was you end up with something more amazing than you can imagine.  When I started on my goal to thriving, I had no idea what that would look like.  I knew I couldn’t go to the store and buy a bag of thriving.  I hitched my dreams to a star then started moving towards what it might be.  Yesterday, I wrote about SMART goals.  Some people would ask me, “Aren’t you contradicting yourself?”  Not really.  The purpose of a SMART goal is to move you through a predetermined task.  It is not about achieving dreams but about fulfilling tasks.  I’ll give you an example.  For 4 months I planned, assigned, shopped for, and sewed costumes with a team of people.  I needed clear concise SMART goals to break this monster task into doable pieces.  Pieces that could be assigned to someone else.  I needed to be the director of what materials were used, patterns, and colors to bring the costume theme all together into a cohesive production.  I needed to squelch those that were veering off into their own ideas.  I came across as mean and difficult because I said, “NO” when a person asked to wear purple.  The colors were blue, green, browns and rust.  That was it.  It was a particular task with predefined parameters.  Each day I need to accomplish a certain amount to be done on time.  SMART goals are fabulous for accomplishing a task.  They are lethal to creating a dream.

I lost the ability to dream and my first counselor believed that part of his task was to persuade me to believe in dreams and life goals again.  I doubted him until after he moved away.  Years later, I am now seeing what he was trying to get me to see and believe.  I am capable of amazing things if I would stop worrying so much about day to day task and dream of doing the impossible.  I’ve done impossible things more than once so I wasn’t sure what he meant.  He couldn’t get me to see that there is a difference between doing the impossible that life hurls at you and dreaming the impossible and doing it.  I’m still working on wrapping my mind around this.  A quote came to me about sculptures chipping away what is not wanted to reveal the statue inside.

I looked up the quote and found a bunch of references, this is the one I liked best:

In 1883 the religious writer George F. Pentecost published the essay “The Angel in the Marble”. He described an episode from his childhood when he knew a down-and-out sculptor who acquired a large rough piece of marble and placed it in his shed studio. In the following dialog the sculptor was speaking earnestly: 3

Finally, I asked him: “Mr. M., what are you going to make out of that?” Looking up kindly into my face, he said: “My boy, I am not going to make anything out of it. I am going to find something in it.” I did not quite comprehend, but said: “Why, what are you going to find in it?” He replied: “There is a beautiful angel in that block of marble, and I am going to find it? All I have to do is to knock off the outside pieces of marble, and be very careful not to cut into the angel with my chisel. In a month or so you will see how beautiful it is.”

A task

A dream

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