Your Way = Your Why

We are in the second week of the Social Artist Training and I received a wonderful question that I wanted to address for all...


I'm not 100% sure of my #1 goal at 44 years of age. Any tips on digging deeper into my 'past self' when there was more motivation and drive? Maybe I'm scared to admit it's changed? 


The S.A.T. starts with articulating your No. 1 goal so that you have a new filter to make daily decisions—both online and offline. 

Before we dive into determining your No. 1 goal, I want to preface that it can and will change over your lifetime. Therefore,  it's so important to periodically reflect and repeat a goal-planning process—perhaps even dig as deep as your life's purpose.


Find your rabbit(s)

As a creative, you probably have many goals. However, I always refer to this...

The person who chases two rabbits catches neither.
— Chinese Proverb

You can absolutely catch more than one rabbit (or goal), but you have to catch one at a time. 

While you can certainly chase more than one rabbit in a day, you'll drive yourself crazy going after two at once. One at a time is a much better strategy!

As an example, I want to tell you about a recent client. Let's call her Heather.

Heather has two big goals: her Broadway debut and a newly discovered passion for sports reporting! I encouraged her to split her daily pursuits between her two goals—the "rabbit chasing" of commercial theatre and on-air reporting. Furthermore, we broke down exactly what would need to happen in order for her to become a sideline reporter for ESPN: 

  1. Develop personal brand and audience with original content
  2. Secure an agent for hosting
  3. Sign with ESPN or other major hosting job

I'd encourage you to think about all of your "rabbits" (or goals) today. You'll know that it's the "right" #1 goal if saying it out loud feels a bit scary!

Beyond thinking about your dream, I'd encourage you to write it down, breakdown how to get there, and then schedule time for the pursuit. 

You have to go after your "rabbits" in a strategically prioritized order... or you'll get overwhelmed and chicken out. Another key factor is flipping the list (your breakdown or plan of milestones to reach the goal) and filter your day-to-day choices with the end goal in mind.  So while Heather is developing her brand, audience and content, she's doing it through the lens of ESPN, her end goal.


Find your purpose

I know it can often be difficult for a creative to choose a singular #1 goal. That's often because we've learned the hard way that we can't control the outcome... so we want to keep our options open. 

Even more emotionally complicated, it's difficult to admit when our goals change or evolve. As disciplined creative professionals, we can become so focused on going after what we think we want (or what others think we should do) that we lose sight of what we really want or why we are here. 

In my own career evolution, I found it helpful to examine my purpose, not just my goals.  

  • Why am I here? 
  • Why did I choose theatre?
  • Why do I want to be on Broadway? 

Your goals are often attached to external results. Your purpose is more an internal calling or innate gifts. As such, here's another quote I want to pass on to you today. 

Find your why and you’ll find your way.
— @MichaelHyatt

I asked another client why she went into comedy... what was the purpose behind her profession? Let's call her Rachel.

Rachel's response was that she wanted "to heal the world through laughter." Rachel is already a successful comic, but by examining her purpose, we found more ways to find more fulfillment.

Immediately, I told Rachel to turn down all free or low-paying gigs. (You know the type... those "opportunities" that usually include two drink minimums.) Instead, I told her to invest that time and energy on creating content for social media.  Not only can she test and refine her material, she can literally heal the world through laughter.

When you articulate your purpose, I hope you'll also find a new ways to fulfillment. Online, your purpose allows you to come from a place of giving rather than asking. (You're sharing unique value rather than seeking attention, validation or a job.) Offline, your purpose gives you the emotional drive needed to actualize your dreams. 


Question your Answers

I know defining your purpose and a #1 goal are big questions, so I wanted to close with some questions to get you thinking. You can answer these in your head or on paper.

  1. As a kid, what were your favorite activities?
  2. As a kid, what were your talents or qualities that others recognized, complimented or awarded?
  3. What comes so easily for you now that so many others struggle with?
  4. What do people ask you for help with all the time?
  5. What makes you happy?
  6. What makes you feel fulfilled?
  7. If anything was possible, and you knew you couldn't fail, what would you try to accomplish?
  8. Imagine you die today. What would you want people to say about you?

I encourage you to (re) examine your goals and purpose today. I challenge you to put them in a comment below or share them with a close friend.

My wish for you today is to know more fully why you're here, what you want, how to get there, and have the accountability and support to breakthrough any obstacles in your journey.

What is your purpose and #1 goal? Comment below!

I am here to _______ and my #1 goal right now is _______. 

Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.