Three Questions to Answer Before You Do Any More Work on Your Goals

What You’re Going to Do Is Not as Important as WHY You’re Going to Do It

My friend Jeff is a great technology consultant. He has worked his way up a very competitive ladder in one of the biggest technology companies in the world. Now he’s the indispensable man and his expertise is so widely recognized and so deeply admired that people seek out his input even from parts of the company he doesn’t work in.

His reputation is just that strong.

Jeff has built that reputation and he’s proud of it. He should be. Fifteen years ago, though, Jeff almost followed a different path. He was a contract project manager then and he and his friend started their own consulting firm. They kept consulting with clients, but now they did it through their own company. They were successful, and their company grew and within a couple of years Jeff was needed in the management of the company, which meant he’d have to give up consulting with clients.

Instead, Jeff sold his shares and walked away from his own company to stay with the technology consulting full time. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the choice Jeff made. He was successful at something many people dream of: his own business. But he gave it up. Why?

Because the company had grown to the point that going forward, if he was going to stay involved, he would be managing payrolls, benefits, banking relationships and teams of consultants solving clients’ problems. But Jeff didn’t want to manage other people who were solving clients’ problems, he wanted to be the one solving clients’ problems.

That was the work that gave him joy, motivated him and gave him a sense of purpose. That was the work he loved.

And to his credit, Jeff realized what he wanted and what he didn't want before he went too far down a path that wasn’t his path. Jeff chose to focus his energy on his goal of becoming the best consultant he could be.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing to dedicate your career to building a business and managing the administrative responsibilities that come with it. A lot of people set that kind of achievement as their goal. It’s an admirable goal. But, it wasn’t Jeff’s goal.

That’s the point I want to leave you with today: don’t work on goals that are not yours. Take the time to figure out what it is you really want, what really excites you, what motivates you.

And then ask yourself: Is that the goal you’re working on? If not, why not? If not, whose goal are you working on?


Everyone has responsibilities so I am not saying to leave your job, but when clients are stuck and ask me because they are not sure of their WHY or passion or direction I pose one of two questions:

  1.  If you won the lottery and did not have to worry about your day-to-day finances, but you still need to do something and work at something 35/40 hours a week what would you do?
  2. If you went to your doctor and he said you only had 2 years to live, would you keep living as you are and doing the things you're doing today?

The goal is to get you to start thinking, what is your passion, what is your WHY!

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
— Lao Tzu