If you have been following me on Facebook, you may know that my first novel Modern Persuasion, is going to be published. I have been coming down from the high that a major life goal is officially crossed off.
I am very, very, very goal oriented… add another very in there. I need a goal to succeed and if there is no goal, I will never follow through. It doesn’t matter if it’s a goal for the day, the week, the month, the year, or my life. I need it so I can focus and plan. How do I know this? Well, I failed out of college because I didn’t have a goal.
What exactly happened? Well, I spent my senior year of high school planning my graduation and college future. I wanted to graduate in the top 50 students and to 10% of my class (not the same thing in a large, Miami high school). I picked classes and other activities around where I currently was and where I needed to be. I had a little journal helping me track how I was doing and future steps. I didn’t plan a rigid path, but I did know the final destination: college.
This is how my mind works.
In the end I did what I set out to do. I got to Florida State, but had no idea what I wanted next. Nobody had actually taught me how to set goals and determine what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew what classes I was enjoying The career services office was useless. The option for students enjoying religion classes: clergy or nuns! My family wanted me to make sure I could get a job, but what job? I had no clear goal and never really had. I tried taking education classes, but couldn’t take them.
So, it all fell apart.
To be fair to all involved, I did once have a career goal. It had something to do with video production and editing. I was pretty good at it. Then I had a huge crisis of faith in the last semester of my senior year on high school. I saw concentration camps in Poland. I had break downs after leaving barracks full of shoes, suitcases, and hair. There was no way I was going back to the US unchanged after the March of the Living. I came back to the realization that I was not doing what made me happy. I was questioning everything and trying to hold things together for dear life. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want.
The point is, I gave up goals that made me unhappy, but never found something to replace them. I didn’t have the tools to replace them. It took another 2 years for it all to fall apart and for the depression to really take hold. I ended up back in my childhood bedroom, deep in debt, and the weight on failure on my shoulders.
It was goal setting that got me out of it. The goal of pulling out of it was a major part of it: paying back some of the debt on my own (I was lucky to have parents who could help me with a lot of it), finishing an AA degree so I could get back on my feet with education, and finding a career I could enjoy were the big goals. Again, the path was not rigid, but I haven’t stopped setting goals since.
How do I set a goal? I will write about that on Friday. Also, what are yours? I ask mostly because I may need a new one.