The Triple C Project

You Are Not Your Goals

March 25, 2022 Ryan Spence Season 2 Episode 5
The Triple C Project
You Are Not Your Goals
Show Notes Transcript

In this week's episode, I share my three-part framework for achieving your goals and, in almost the same breath, talk about why the goal isn't really the point.


All will become clear when you listen to this episode where I also talk about:

 - why the process is more important than the result;

- how attending Steven Bartlett's Diary of a CEO Live influenced my decision to record this episode now rather than later; and

-  why whether you achieve a goal or not doesn't define you.


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Articles referenced in this episode:

Neuroscience Explains Why You Need to Write Down Your Goals if You Actually Want to Achieve Them

The Dark Side of Going for Gold

Ryan Spence:

I don't think that having a goal is a problem. In fact, I would say that goals are important because part of our life's work is about fulfilling our purpose. It's about doing things that make us happy, that make us fulfilled. And if we want something, there's no reason why we shouldn't go after that. But where I feel the problem is, is when striving for the goal consumes you to the point that you're, you're not present, you're not content. In the present, you're not enjoying the present, you don't have gratitude for what you already have.


Your listening to, The Triple C Project.

Ryan Spence:

Welcome to the Triple C project, the podcast that helps you have clarity, confidence, your courage, so you can live life lit! I'm your host, Ryan Spence aka the BigLaw dropout, life coach, author, speaker, lover of hoodies, hip hop, and big, hairy, audacious goals. If you're tired of living the life you think you should want and ready to start living the life you do want, this podcast will help you get from where you are to where you really wanna be. So now we're friends, I invite you to grab a drink. Take a seat, and allow me to guide you towards living a life that's lit! Hello, and welcome to episode five of The Triple C Project. And today's episode is actually not going to be the episode that I was originally going to do. Just to give you a little bit of a peek behind the curtain, I normally have a whole list of things that I want to talk about on the podcast that I think will be helpful based upon my own experience on those of my clients, and just conversations that I have with people in the DMs on Instagram. And although organisation isn't my strong point, I sort of try to get a pre framework before each episode. So the topic and then a few bullet points, and then just riff off that. But today, I don't have that. And the reason for that is because there's something that's come up over the last week or so a number of times. And it came up again. So I'm recording this on the Monday. It came up again, yesterday, Sunday, I was attending the Diary of a CEO Live, which is a live event by Steven Bartlett, who, who is the founder of digital marketing agency Social Chain. And I'll talk about that a little bit more later because it's relevant to what I'm going to talk about today. But because it's come up a few times, I talked about it in my email last week to subscribers to my email list. I had a couple of conversations in the DMs with people about it, it came up again at this event last night, I just felt I was being called to share it and talk about it with you today. So that's what I'm gonna do. But what that means is that I don't really have a framework or any notes. I know what I want to say. But I'm literally going to be sort of freestyling this because I feel that the message is more important than having a perfectly polished episode. Although to be fair, I never have a perfectly polished episode, because that's just not how I roll. So before I get to today's episode, I wanna let you know that I was very excited this week, because I received the author proof of my upcoming book, The Triple C Method. And if you're seeing a video clip of this, you'll see it on the shelf behind me very exciting moment. It was literally like being a kid at Christmas, I was looking out the window, waiting for the Amazon delivery guy to arrive and deliver it and it came and it was great because it was a combination of of all of this work of all of these ideas here in one package in my hand. So to be able to sort of physically hold that and see that and flick through it was was great. So that will be available on preorder soon. So keep tuning in. I'm gonna let you know probably in next week's episode when that's available, and also about the bonus mini course that's available to you to help you gain clarity, confidence and courage if you preorder the book. And again, that is not just a shameless plug for the book, although it kind of is. But this is also relevant to today's topic, which is about goals. And let me do something a little bit different today in the sense that I'm going to share with you three part framework that I use and have used to achieve my goals. But then I'm also going to kind of contradict myself by talking about why the goal itself isn't really that important. Intrigued? I was when I came up with the idea this morning. So let's get to it. I'm gonna start by kicking off with a three part framework. So, we all have goals, we all have dreams, we all have things we wanna do. And some people achieve them. Some people don't. Some people actively go after them, and some people don't. And what's the difference? And why is that? And what do you need to do in order to achieve your goals. And I've been thinking about this a lot when I left BigLaw, the last sort of couple of years, I've been doing a lot of thinking, reflecting sort of shedding layers and digging deeper into why I made some of the decisions that I've made, and how and why I've done some of the things that I've done. And these are things which I am now sharing with you, because they have helped me and they may help you. So you take what works for you, and you leave what doesn't, I'm by no means a guru, I'm here sharing my experience. And as I say these things have helped me, they've helped clients, and they may help you. So the framework that that I pieced together from my own experience is called the DID framework, D I D. So what does D.I.D stand for? D.I.D. is a three part framework, and it stands for Decide, Inscribe, and Describe. So what does that all mean? So think about when you have a goal, you come up with an idea, I would really love to do X, and it kind of sits there in your mind, and then it goes away, and then you don't think about it again. And then it comes up again. Maybe you talk about it with your friends, you have this sort of like ideas in your head, but they're never really cemented. And I think it's relevant to the language that you use. So we talk about, I would like to try to do X. So I'm going to talk about the book because that's what I just done. And it was a goal of mine. So like many people, I would say I'd like to write a book one day, you know, I mean, I'd like to write a book when, if this happens, then I would like to write a book. But it was always some future thing that was going to happen. And there were never any steps taken to make it happen now in the present, because I hadn't committed to the process. So the first step of achieving your goals is to decide that you're going to do the thing that you want to do to commit to the process. So in terms of the language that you use, rather than the saying, I try, or I will try, you say I am, I am going to. So for me the language change firm, I'd like to write a book, I'll try to write a book too, I am going to write a book. And I started calling myself an author from that moment. And by calling myself that, and by telling people I was an author by putting it on social media bios, and sharing it on podcast interviews, it builds up this self concept within myself that that's what I am, I start to step into feeling like what an author would feel like. And that language makes such a difference to how you see things. And it takes that dream from being a wish or hope or a prayer to being something concrete that you're working towards. And it helps you then to start to knuckle down and think okay, well what do I need to do to get to that place I want to get to moving on to the second part of the framework, which is inscribe. And, look, I'll be honest, inscribe is just a fancy way of saying write it down. But write it down doesn't work in the concept of the framework, because then it's DWD, and that doesn't flow well. I wanted it to be something that was a word. So D.I.D. it was. I'm a big, big, big fan of words. And yeah, I was like, What can I say instead of writing it down, that fits into this framework? So there we have it inscribe? Why is it important to write it down? A few reasons, really. So one is that you free your mind getting all of the trash or the stuff out of your mind down onto paper. It's quite a freeing experience. I'm guilty of carrying stuff around in my head all the time, and it gets quite wait he gets quite busy and you find it gets quite hard to sort of focus on one particular thing because there's lots of things bouncing around. So actually getting it all out does frees the mind up to kind of then focus on how you're going to do the thing that it is that you want to do. The second is that it seeps into your subconscious. So when you write it down, you want it to be somewhere that you can see it on a regular basis. So for me, I have posted something All over my office will, I have reminders popping up on my phone throughout the day. And by constantly seeing the things that I'm working towards, or the things that I want to achieve? Again, it builds it into not just my conscious brain, but my subconscious brain as well. And going back to what I was saying, in relation to decide, you start to build this self concept of yourself, you start to see yourself doing the thing that it is that you want to do, because you're seeing it on a consistent basis. I have it written down in journals and that kind of thing as well. But when you've got to go and physically open a book, it's not quite the same, it's good to have it. But really, you want it to be in a place where you're seeing it on a daily basis, and you're painting to yourself that this is a thing you're going to do. What's interesting is that I mean with this whole framework is that this is something which looking back I felt has helped me and I've used more presently as well to help me. But there's actually actually found that there's some science behind the whole thing of writing it down. And the quote that I take, and I'm going to share the article in the show notes, is people who vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals. So this isn't just some creative nonsense from my brain. It's something that's actually worked for me, but it's also something which has some scientific research behind it. So I'll share the link, you can go ahead and check that out for yourself and dig deeper, if you would like to. And the third part of the framework, the final D is describe. So what do I mean by describe? Well I mean, a few things. So in the book, The Triple C Method, I talk about courage, which is the third pillar of the Triple C Method, and I talked about courage being the hardest pillar, because with the first two clarity and confidence, it's doing the inner work. And you can do that in private, nobody has to see you do that. But when it comes to courage, that requires you to actually get up, go out and do something, do something publicly and see what happens. And you could fail, you could be embarrassed, people could criticise. And so that's why it's harder because taking that action and putting yourself out there, raising your head above the parapet is a scary thing to do. And describe as the same thing. Because when I talk about describe, I'm talking about describing it partly to other people. So by telling other people what it is that you're you want to do that you're working towards, you're making it real for yourself. So when I said write it down, you're making it real by seeing it by speaking it, you're also making it real. But then by speaking it, people are going to be asking you questions, so you're automatically creating that accountability. People will want to know how it's going, what you're doing, how far you are, what progress is like. And if you know people are going to be asking you these questions, the chances are, you're going to want to have answers. So you're going to get shit done to make sure that you have answers to make sure you have something to say to them. Because even though we talk about not caring about other people's opinions, and that is true, we always will, there's always a small part of us that will want to be seen to be doing something we seem to be getting after what we want. And lots of people talk the talk, we want to be able to be seen to also walk the walk. So by telling people that's going to light a fire underneath us to get moving. The other thing about describing your goal is that it people will help you out, you'll be surprised the circles where help will come from. I mean, I remember with again with the book, and I just mentioned to someone I was writing a book and they said oh, you might need this, this contact if you need it here you go and sort of sent me a link someone in Instagram. I didn't use that for months. And it was actually when I was sat in a hotel room in Leeds here in the UK, reading the first draft of my book and spitting out because it was so monumentally awful in my view, and I was having all the all the fields and all the self doubt about whether I could actually get this done, that I remembered that this contract had been sent to me and I went and found it and then ended up being my my book coach. And this has happened a number of times, but if I hadn't verbalised what I was doing, I wouldn't have got that help. So it's scary and as uncomfortable as it can be to tell people, particularly if you you feel that your goal is completely out there and you still haven't got yourself to a place where you believe it's something that you can achieve by telling people, not a lot of people but I told a few people that This was what I was working towards. And I made that happen, I got that degree. Same thing with getting a law job get becoming a solicitor, I went for an open day at the firm, I ended up joining. And being there, I said, I want to work here, I want to be in this environment, I want to have these opportunities. And I focused on making that happen in terms of the application and the interview and the preparation that I did. And again, I decided that was where I wanted to be, I wrote it down. And I told people, this is where I've applied to, this is what I want to do. This is why I want to do it. And it happened. But, and this takes me to the second part of this episode. It's not really about the goal. I'll say that again. Although we talked about achieving the goal, it's not really about the goal. So I got this first class degree, and it was great. And I was excited. For a short period of time, then it was a case of, and now what I got my training contracts, I joined the law firm, it was very exciting. But then it was a case of now what and the thing is because I was so fixated on the goal, I wasn't taking the time to really enjoy and learn from the process. And so what I mean, when I say it's not really about the goal is that is what it's actually about. It's about what you learn, and who you become trying to achieve that goal. Because if you just stay fixated on the goal, you'll never going to be happy, you're never going to be satisfied. And I mentioned at the beginning that one of the reasons I talked about this, this today on this episode is there were a few events. But the final one was me attending diversi live yesterday with Steven Bartlett. And if you don't know, Steven Bartlett you should go look him up very interesting character who's done very well for himself. And he's got a really, really, really great story. But the the point I want to sort of pick upon, from what he talked about yesterday was when he floated his agency on the stock market. So briefly, him and his business partner co founded a social media agency called Social Chain from a table at University in Manchester, well they both dropped out of university to sort of do this. And they got to the point, you know, mean, from being ridiculously broke to building this company up and floating it on the stock exchange. And on the day it floated, it had a valuation of 300 million, which meant that his personal wealth was in the 10s of millions. And he just said, he felt miserable, he felt unhappy. And the reason is that he had all of these expectations of what it would feel like to have this amount of money, particularly having come from nothing. And actually, it all fell quite flat. He'd been so fixated on this on this goal. And that when he got it, it hadn't met the expectation that he had set for it. And it turns out that there's this is common this is this is a common thing amongst successful people. In terms of Olympians, they call it post Olympic depression. And again, I'll share an article to this in the show link in the show notes, where you focus so much on achieving this thing, your life's work almost, that when you get there, you realise that actually, this, I'm not satisfied anymore. And it sends you into this spiral of despair or despair, or depression for a lot of people. So why is this? And does this mean that we shouldn't set goals and that we shouldn't strive for more and all this talk of coaches and people in personal development, saying you've got to strive for more you've got to set goals is all nonsense. Well, no, not really. And here's, here's why I say that. I don't think that having a goal is a problem. In fact, I would say that goals are important, because part of our life's work is about fulfilling our purpose. It's about doing things that make us happy, that make us fulfilled. And if we want something, there's no reason why we shouldn't go after that. But where I feel the problem is is when striving for the goal consumes you to the point that you're you're not present, you're not content in the present, you're not enjoying the present, you don't have gratitude for what you already have. And in being in that state, you lose sense of who you are. Because you're no longer you, whoever you are, you're no longer the parent, the sort of the son, the daughter, the husband, the wife, you mean the athlete, whatever it is, you're never, you're no longer this sort of, multifaceted individual, or you are is this one being this one thing that is going after this big goal over there, and you've actually just got the blinkers on and leaving everything else behind. And, of course, focus is an important part of achieving something. But when you get it, if you if you're not consistently taking the time to enjoy what you have, in each moment, in the present day, and you're pinning all your hopes of happiness, on the day, when you achieve that big thing over there. When you achieve that thing over there, the chances are, you're gonna be like, is this set is that and you're not going to be happy, you're not going to be satisfied. And there's an interesting thing as well, that that was said in the, in the live event, one Steven's interviews with, I can't remember who it was, but you can go check out his his podcast Diary of a CEO, and then probably find it out, where somebody said that the equation for happiness is meeting or exceeding expectations of what life should be. So if you expect your life to be a particular way, and it's not that way, you're not going to be happy. And therefore, that means that you can find happiness in each and every day. Because our expectations is we need to have certain needs met, and if those needs are met, there's no reason why we can't be happy. If we have a house, living where we've ever had, we have food on the table. I mean, if we have sort of loving relationships, all of those things, that's where we want to be, there were expectations like, and the goals, the greats, and we should definitely be looking to strive for things that we want to achieve, because achievement, and success, depending how you define it is is great as well, it does feel good. But the issue is when we pin everything on that big goal over there, and completely neglect what we have here and now in the present. So I'd like to leave you with a couple of things to end this episode. One is the concept of being enough. So saying to yourself, that you are enough, I am enough, and that you don't need that thing over there. That big, hairy, scary goal that you're trying to achieve, to be enough. For me, again, with the uncanny looking back, part of striving to be a lawyer, and to climb up that corporate ladder within within law firm is proving to myself and to other people that I was enough that I was successful. I mean, coming from the background that I came from, never really having money. Not being someone who's expected to succeed in those that sort of arena. I mean, all the conditioning around that there was almost a, I'm going to prove you wrong thing. But in that I was also trying to prove to myself that I was enough that I belong, that I was supposed to be here. And actually, you enough as you are. So don't rely on the goal to make you enough. Rely on who you are now and what you have now to accept that you are enough. Second point is achievement of the goal doesn't define you. So again, a related point, you are not your goal. You are you, you're you with everything that you have all the quirks all the weird little wonderful things that you have, like that's all a part of you. But the goal isn't new. The goal is something that you're trying to get after, but the goal itself isn't you. You don't need the goal to make you whole that wasn't supposed to run but hey, there you go. So, have the goal. Strive because challenge I mean, for me, I don't know about you, but challenge for me is exciting, like having something that you're getting after it's exciting. But don't think that the goal is going to make you whole because that isn't the case. And if you think that you're only going to be disappointed when you achieve the thing that you're trying to achieve. And the final point is, which I've now lost something that I said earlier in the episode, which is that it's not about the goal. It's about what you learn, and who you become in trying to achieve it. So when I look back on lots of the hard things that I've done, or the things that I've achieved, I realise how much I've learned from those process, how going through that process has changed me, and how I've grown just by going through the process. So whether I've achieved the thing or not just going through, it has changed me completely. So an example I share is the music business, I had a dream passion that was always going to be a pop star, I was always going to be in music business, I was going to fly around the world, performing sold out shows, and that was going to be my life, I had the conviction that that was going to happen. And I took lots of steps to get there. And I mean, you haven't heard of me. So obviously, that didn't happen. But I did. I mean, I performed some stages, I made some records and all of that. But I mean, I didn't sort of achieve that worldwide stardom that, that I was going after. But I learned so much from that process. And in fact, going through that process is partly what helped me become a lawyer, because the skills that I learned in in sort of running a business and being involved in that business and, and the relationships and the creativity and all of that I carried through to my application, I carried through to my interview and I carried through to my work. So arguably, if I'd done the traditional thing of not dropping out of university and finishing my degree and not going off and working in the music business, I wouldn't have necessarily got the job that I got and had the career that I would have had. So the process, I would say, is more important than whether or not you achieved the goal. But you need to have the goal so that you then have the process to work through. So that's what I want to leave you with today, say a little bit of a freestyle here, but I hope you've I hope you grasp the concepts that I am sharing today, both the framework for achieving your goals. And then also the points that it's not about the goal. It's about what you learn who you become in trying to achieve it. And I hope that help also helps you give yourself some grace, we can beat ourselves up that we aren't where we feel that we should be, or that we haven't achieved the thing that we said we're going to try to achieve. But as I said, if you're if you look at it differently, reframe that, as I'm going through this process, and you take stock of what you have learned and what you have gained, and also the small wins along the way. I think that will give you a lot of a lot of heart, it will give you a lot to be proud of. And it will give you the sort of the person the fuel to, to sort of keep going, but keep going at a pace that suits you. Not at somebody else's pace and not doing what somebody else thinks that you should do. Okay, I'm going to go now, because I could continue talking about this for hours. It's something I'm really into, and there'll be diving deeper into and doing more research as well. But go ahead, check out the show notes for the two articles that I mentioned. You can read those. And if you're not already, go ahead and join my mailing list. That's where I talk about things like this each week, every Friday. And you'll also be the first to hear when the preorder opens for the book and get details of the free mini course that goes along with that. If you preorder. And yeah, look. I'm gonna say it myself. My emails are pretty fucking good, so I've been told. So go ahead, get yourself on the mailing list. Head to sign yourself up in time to get the one next Friday. And yeah, I will see you on the next episode of The Triple C Project. Thanks for tuning in to The Triple C Project. If you like the show, don't keep it to yourself go ahead, tell a friend and tell me too by leaving a review. To get more tips, tools, strategies to help you get from where you are, to where you really wanna be. Head, and download my free confidence journal. Don;t forget to follow me on instagram, I'm @iam_ryanspence. And you'll be the first to know about the release of my upcoming book to proceed. But for now, the only thing that I have left to say is stop living a life of lethargy and start living life lit!