Friends of ours just achieved a lifelong goal. They retired young (before 40!) and set off to explore the ocean on a sailboat. Their story is both simple and incredibly inspiring.
Zach had this dream since he was 18 when his dad bought a small sailboat to cruise a lake close to where he grew up. Zach writes, "One look inside that tiny cabin with a tiny bed, dinner table, kitchen area, and living area, and I knew. I dreamed of one day having a sailboat of my own I could live on and go exploring on the ocean. I have also, from a young age, always thought about the passage of time and the shortness of life, so I knew I didn’t want to take a chance and wait until I was too old (or miss out entirely!)". He met his wife Lindy, shared his dreams and found a life partner in that pursuit. They had the usual setbacks we all face in life along the way, but they did it. They set sail a few weeks ago before dawn toward the adventure rooted deep in their hearts. It's amazing and inspiring. (Read their story here)
I've read many books and articles on goal setting over the years. What struck me about Zach and Lindy's story was the beautiful simplicity of their approach. He discovered an interest that turned into a passion, found a life partner to help him move toward his dream, wrote a few things down, made some plans and then went about the work of slowly chipping away day-by-day until their dream was a reality.
Their story inspired my wife and I to do the same. While I've already been someone who has written goals and ambitions, I can't say that I'd ever taken the time to sit with my wife and define shared goals.
We are aligned on all of the major life decisions like kids and such - but we had never taken the time to "dream on paper". It's different. I'm not referring to the rigid process of goal setting. I'm talking about sharing your dreams, finding some that we both could get excited about, writing them down and then going about the daily work of making them a reality.
We used this simple approach: First, describe your dream in as much detail as possible. Second, list what you would have to do to achieve it. Finish with a statement about why it's important. That's it. It really doesn't have to be any more complicated than that. The process was so simple, yet incredibly motivating.
Here is what we found when we finished:
- Combined life goals give purpose and clarity: We now know what we are going to pursue together. We are not going to question daily life decisions but instead remain focused on pursuing our dream.
- We feel more at peace: Our goals have given us peace with where we are and took some of the anxiety away from worrying about what to do next.
- We are less likely to get distracted by things that pop up day-to-day: We can take peace in our unique ambition and not feel like we have to chase the life of others.
- We have a purpose for what we pursue: We made sure to give a solid "why" for every "what". We rooted our goals in a purpose greater than ourselves. Much of what we are planning has to do with blessing our children and our family/friends. This is an additional motivation that will keep us from losing focus.
- It brought us closer as a couple: When we have shared dreams, we become a team moving toward the same objective. Nothing solidifies a connection as a married couple than a dream that can be shared.