Goal Obsession

Excellent post by executive coach Marshall Goldsmith on getting obsessed with our goals and forgetting our mission. Here are some highlights.

 ...Goal obsession occurs when we become so focused on achieving our goal (or task) that we forget the larger mission.

Let me give you an example from Wall Street. "Mike" was always complaining because he worked too hard. When I asked him why he worked so hard, he replied, “Why do you think? Do you think that I love this place? I am working so hard because I want to make a lot of money!” I continued my inquiry, “Do you really need this much money?” “I do now,” Mike grimaced. “I just got divorced for the third time. With three alimony checks each month, I am almost broke.” “Why do you keep getting divorced?” I asked. The answer came out with a sad sigh, “My wives kept complaining that I worked all the time. They had no idea how hard it is to make this much money!”

...Almost everyone that I meet feels as busy – or even busier – than they have felt in their entire lives. I see too many older people wrecking their health in pursuit of their next achievement. I see too many younger people who are missing their youth, then postponing their love life, then not having children – all in service of their career. For what?

There is nothing wrong with hard work...with choosing to dedicate your life to your career, if that makes you happy. The problem occurs when the price we pay for achieving goals, is not worth the cost we incur in our lives. Only we can determine calculate the costs and benefits to our own lives.