Diverging vs converging goals

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It rarely happens that we chose a course of action and everything afterward goes as smooth as we wished for. Worse still is when our objectives start interfering with each other. How can you choose between professional growth and family, or find food that’s healthy and tasty at the same time! Today we will talk about how this could be done so that you enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.

What are divergent goals?

These are the seemingly incompatible ones. They can be of any type.

Personal goals, such as health and entertainment, arise from our own view of things. Shared goals on the other hand, like the household finances, and especially those when we are part of a team, require a substantial change in both attitude and communication.

Let’s begin the most common conflict.

Family vs career

Let’s say you start a new business with much enthusiasm and energy which are to be applied towards the tons of work that awaits you. Of course, your domestic circumstances will suffer considerably.

The workplace as your new home

Your spouse will be very unhappy if you can’t get home before midnight or you have to cancel your Weekend plans because of a project that’s behind.

And this will reflect unfavorably on you as well. Plus, you will feel bad because this impossible choice is forced on you. Things get especially tricky when you have kids.

The toughest choice

Recently we had this discussion with a group of highly motivated professionals. They all admitted that they felt as if they are sacrificing something.

What they meant was not spending enough time with their children. They all have the regret they are missing on something very important, perhaps more important than any of their professional development.

But it may very well be the other way around.

And if you choose otherwise

There are moments when family comes first. Obviously, a new-born changes everything.

That’s especially true for the mother who will be out of the work-force market for weeks and even months. Naturally, the priorities here take a complete u-turn.

There will be the inevitable internal strife that starts growing if it goes on for too long. You may want to do something meaningful and a vocation oriented towards what is good for you as well as contributing to society.

All is in your head

It’s only normal that going through life there are periods when you are more focused on your career and some others when your family takes precedence. However, if you’ve reached a certain “point of no return” you will realize that you went too far. You simply got carried away in one direction and thus you neglected everything else.

The first thing to do is double-check if that’s really so.

Trying to be fair

We don’t know for sure if balance is possible in the long-term but we have to look for it nevertheless.

Therefore, it is crucial to have the visions for these two most important things in our lives. Every quarter you can have one goal for each of them.

The good news is:

Actually, you don’t have to choose

It doesn’t have to be a dilemma. These two most important aspects of your life should exist in the form of synergy.

For us, a happy home is the basis for everything else. We are human beings and therefore the emotional environment is very important for us. A happy home which thrives on harmony will only enable you to be at your top performance at work.

And when you do that it means your career will be on an upward trajectory. That’s good not only for your income but also for your mood and energy when you get home. You can afford a better house, longer vacation and great quality time with your loved ones.

That’s how it can go a full circle for this “family and work symbiosis”.

A healthy lifestyle which is not “killing” you

There is yet another area where tensions could easily form and come to the surface. Almost any serious attempt to get into shape involves some diet. It’s quite a trial to be always facing the choice “pizza or salad”, right?

Why is it so hard

It doesn’t matter if it is pizza, cheesecake or french fries – the temptation is bound to strike us. This would occur despite all the efforts to stay away from junk food and hit the gym every other day. Feeling guilty after a single moment of weakness may take you down the path of something even worse.

This might be a number of limiting beliefs that you can’t do it, that you don’t have the will power for it or for anything else.

There is no such thing as competing goals until the moment when you make your mind that it is actually the case.

“Nothing in excess”*

Let’s not forget that it becomes an issue only when we abuse. It’s okay once in a blue moon to have something you crave for. Of course, it won’t kill you but you have to be positive about it and feel in control of it.

So, is there an overall solution?

Personal goals

You have to look deeper into your own attitude regardless of the type of the objective. Most likely there will be a limiting belief of sorts that is the underlying trouble. Maybe your thinking is that you have to put in something like 80 hours a week in the name of your career.

Once you understand what’s the nature of the problem you can hit your “reset” button and come to the realization there is actually nothing to worry about. In order to avoid burning out, you need a good vacation to restore and recharge with more energy. You just have to find the balance between the two.

Family goals

Communication is paramount.

In most cases, it is important that the common goals point in exactly the same direction. For example, if you have a  financial objective for the household, but one of you wants to save while the other to spend more then obviously the two of you must get on the same page.

And sometimes, compromise is the way. If the new business project is so important then should explain this to your spouse. Then you can figure out together how to better handle the situation, i.e. the weekend is Okay but only on Saturday and till noon.

A question of perception

It mostly depends on how you view two objectives to determine if they are in sync or not.

Goals could be outlined in pretty much the same way and yet be diverging.

This needs to be determined asap in order to avoid it festering for too long.

We want to share one of our latest experiences in that respect.

“A sporty type of a guy…”

A few years back Ivan was invited by Julie Tolkien to address an audience of 25 hundred people. The topic was how with the help of well-defined goals and doing it within a system, he was able to lose 30 lbs. Well, in the middle of it he said something that was news to himself – a limiting belief, nonetheless. “I am not a sporty person”.

That was the moment when he had to adjust his vision. Nowadays, every new target for fitness and exercises makes him think less of himself as being not so great at sports. And that’s great except that he got himself in between a rock and a hard place – personal improvement vs sports and health.

“To be or not to be”… an Iron Man

Today, Ivan is struggling to make his mind whether to start getting ready for this triathlon.

One one hand, he is taking good care of his health with moderate exercising – running, some swimming and time at the gym with a personal trainer.

On the other hand, the Iron Man is quite an extreme and could even be a dangerous endeavor. Of course, no one can call it beneficial to your body. But it is definitely a great challenge for the mind – to overcome the pain and finish the race no matter what.

Healthy body vs strong mind – these might very well be two opposing goals. Perhaps, you can write in the comments section what you think?

Thank you very much!



*One of the two pieces of advice carved at the entrance of Delphi temple.

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