How are you feeling? Are you jazzed about something? Is there something compelling you to move forward?

I have a friend I will call Jerry. Jerry is an amazing leader who occasionally gets in a funk — in a rut — in a “blah” space. It is not depression, lack of imagination or lack of commitment. He just becomes comfortable with the status quo.

OK, this blog post is not about Jerry; it is about me (although Jerry is a real person). Last week, I realized that I have become excessively automatic. I don’t have a big goal now; there’s nothing on the horizon that represents a significant challenge. This is incredible, because I always have big goals — books, motorcycle tours, nonprofit projects, degrees, geographic moves … something.

“I don’t have a big goal … how is this possible?” I asked myself. I have plenty of smaller goals, but nothing significant. The realization hit me like a knock on the head.

The absence of a big goal impacts how well we achieve our small goals. It affects how we approach our work and the overall vibe we feel and share. Our habits and practices tell the story of who we are.

What story are your actions telling? Do you like that story? Is it hitting home for you? If you, like me, are in a bit of a rut, slowdown, coast or pause, what should you do?

Here is a formula that works:

1. Create a “capital-G” Goal — a Goal that makes the hairs on the back of your neck tingle when you tell people about it, a Goal that is compelling enough to make you uncomfortable.

2. Share your Goal. Get out there and talk, talk, talk. Share your Goal in a way that expresses what it is, why it is important to you and the difference it will make when you accomplish it.

3. Align your context. Change something — or many somethings — to rearrange your reality and nudge you on the path toward your new Goal. Same leads to same. Change something!

4. Complete small daily actions that are aligned with your Goal. Tiny daily actions create momentum and are much better than spending larger chunks of time on your Goal every blue moon.

5. Enroll others in your Goal. Make big requests that move your Goal forward.

This process is how we become the animated versions of ourselves (“animated” meaning visibly full of life). It starts with that neck-tingling Goal and your excitement and drive. Take a stand for something that inspires you, moves you and changes your perspective about everything — something that is worth every bit of work that will be required.

What’s mine? I am working on defining it right now, and here are a few of the questions I am asking myself:

  • What’s something I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
  • If money and time were not barriers, what would I do?
  • What am I too scared to do?
  • What type of activities make me happy? What brings out the animated me?
  • How can I use my strengths to benefit others?
  • Whom would I most like to partner with?
  • What’s the wildest idea I can think of?

How might you answer these questions?

For those of you with a clear Goal, good on ya! I hope you’re using the energy that going for the big-G Goal produces to make a difference in your life and for others.

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