I always thought goals were pretty straight forward. What do you want? Where do you want to go? What job to you want? Just figure it out. Find out the steps, learn to do it efficiently, and just do it. This is the approach I’ve taken all of my life and it’s worked quite well for me. I graduated a 4 year university program in 3; paid off my student loans from a private institution in 1 year; bought my first home at 26 in downtown Victoria, BC; and landed a C-level position before 30.
The first project for the altMBA was to write out a goal. Easy. I have a project that I’m currently working on at Benifactor: Glass Register. Glass Register is a highly customizable online giving platform that empowers charities to raise more money for their cause. In my goal assignment, I listed the benefits, the obstacles, skills required, people required, and developed a plan of action for establishing this product agency. There were deadlines and a clear path to accomplish this goal.
I couldn’t help but notice that my peers’ goals were in long elaborate sentences intertwined with personal stories and emotional motivation whereas mine was a succinct list of tactical bullet points. Bullets are the most efficient way of communicating, no?
Then, I was challenged
Several peers at the altMBA saw my passion for Glass Register and asked, but what’s in it for YOU? What will keep you going in the tough times? Glass Register is good for charities, but what about YOU?
They’re probing correctly. There’s more to my goal than strategic steps to get from A to B. There’s a person and a passion behind this product.
Sometimes, I pride myself on being unemotional, even looking down on people who let their emotions get the better of them. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve felt the need to compete with men who appear older, wiser, and more experienced than me or whether I’m numb to emotion due to personal hurt and disappointment.
However, receiving generous feedback really moved me and I want to thank #altMBA21. I was surprised that their comments touched me deeply. I was surprised that people saw passion in me.
I didn’t think I had a passion. I don’t have a ‘thing’.
Many people have a cognitive association with something they are good at or passionate about. It becomes a part of personal identity. There’s Joe — he skis ALL the time. There’s Kate — best carpenter in the city. For me, there hasn’t been a thing I really allowed myself to love or dive deep into. Perhaps, I’m hiding lest I get hurt or resigned to think ‘why try if I can’t be the very best?’
There hasn’t even been a particular cause that I’ve resonated with either. I care about victims of human trafficking, the impoverished, world hunger, and environment et al., equally. These things are all important, but I don’t really feel drawn to one over another. I don’t even have a cause as my ‘thing’.
I know in my head that being best isn’t the point, but rather my conviction is to do it and build it simply because it’s GOOD. Glass Register is good. It’s good for causes. It’s good for social justice. It’s good for charities, donors, and potential donors (everyone else who just haven’t donated yet). It might sound self-righteous or unrealistically selfless, but that’s all the motivation I need because I believe I can contribute more effectively THIS way than trying to build houses in a third world country — that’s just not what I’m made for.
To balance the task-oriented nature of my lists and goals, I endeavour to add more humanity to my process.
I want to generously share and write more so as to infect others with my passion for charity. I want to enrol more people to help build Glass Register with me for an even better product than I would have come up with myself. I aim to lead charities to adopt Glass Register by learning and meeting their needs. And I want to inspire all others to be generous.