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  • Chris Clouse

Finding Your Sweet Spot and Learning to Let Go

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.(Andrew Carnegie)

Whenever I sit down and carve out goals for the next month/quarter/year, I let go of the specific time and focus on whether they fall in the “sweet spot”. What is the sweet spot? Borrowing from Andrew Carnegie, it is when your goal is big enough to inspire your hopes and small enough that you can believe in – which liberates your energy!

Too many times we get caught up with artificial timelines, or unrealistic goals that may actually introduce a level of doubt into our psyche. This wastes valuable energy. Quite often, these timelines or goalposts are determined by external conditions rather than inner desires. How often have you let your organization’s objectives override your own desire, for example? Or, have you ever tried to set targets that will make you look good (ego-based)? But you ask, shouldn’t goals be SMART, modeling an infamous acronym: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relative, and Timely?

You can still be SMART with goals, but there is a key ingredient that MUST be present first, for you to be successful and happy. This ingredient was summarized in two words by Carnegie’s disciple Napoleon Hill’s, in his book: Think and Grow Rich. The words are BURNING DESIRE.

Tying together Carnegie’s quote about goals with Hill’s two words about success, what I’m proposing here is they are saying the same thing. Basically, the sweet spot is a FEELING, that builds on one’s core desire with a strong belief in oneself – which is how you make it burn! So the trick is to start with your core desires and find goals that you can believe in. By the way, these goals can still be stretch goals, as long as you feel the heat, or sweet!

Now someone might ask when a goal is no longer in the sweet spot, or how does one know when it’s time to quit something? The answer is simple, first, visualize yourself accomplishing the stated goal or recall a time when you achieved a milestone (if it’s a large goal). Now ask yourself, between 1-10, how excited did you feel at that moment? If it’s an 8-10 score, you’re probably still in the sweet spot! Danielle LaPort in her book The Desire Map, suggests there are four reasons one should stop pursuing a goal:

  1. Does it feel like a total drag?

  2. Are you pursuing the goal for external reasons (ego or someone else)?

  3. Is it taking way to long making any progress?

  4. Is it taking you away from moving towards something else (in the sweet spot)?

If you answer YES to one or more of the above questions then you should seriously consider letting go of what you’re doing, and re-assessing how you could better focus your energy doing something more inspirational and liberating.

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