Peter Hymans, Legacy Discovery Shaman
In our circles of men, we quite often hear the word “purpose.” If the circle has a couple of experienced men, willing to mentor, most of the men on the team will have identified a solid life’s purpose or they will be well on their way to doing so. There are many resources to draw from to get a purpose created. MDI’s Legacy Discovery weekends are a good place to get one’s purpose identified, clarified or refined.
Similar to a purpose is a goal. Goals are smaller or shorter than are purposes. Both goals and purposes, however, require some care and frequent monitoring if they are to be achieved at high levels. A great tool to aid a man in getting the best results in his life is to be mindful of the motto: “Keep your eyes on the prize.”
In today’s fast paced life – with so many conflicting opportunities and choices – the man who maintains a constant awareness of “the prize” is using a discipline that keeps him from being lured off track when something “shiny” comes along.
By continually asking, “Does this (activity) serve my purpose/goal?” we can, moment-by-moment, make continuous choices and adjustments to stay in motion, locked on a successful trajectory toward fulfilling commitments we make … to ourselves and to others.
In addition to keeping one’s eyes on the prize, there is another successful practice that helps us create a clear picture of why we are on track to a goal/purpose, and that is “so-that” statements.
When we add “so-that” results after our goals, it makes them more vivid and meaningful. It can be fun to add “so-that” after a goal as many times as possible. Each one adds color, depth and value to the goal, and we discover inter-connections between the “so-thats.” As time passes, we become proficient at viewing the “so-thats” of others by their actions, even if they do not see or think about their own “so-that’s.”
Here is an example goal: “I will become a professional photographer by July 1, 2014.” This goal is considered to be “good” because it is clear, measurable and has a clear end-point. (The difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline.)
As good as a stand-alone goal may be, it becomes all the more complex, alive and meaningful with the added clarity of a “so-that” as seen below.
“I will become a professional photographer by July 1, 2014”
- so-that I can bring pleasure to people
- so-that I can help them enjoy their families more
- so-that their mental images of family are more clear
- so-that they will cooperate better together
- so-that they will see themselves as part of the human family
- so-that I will be able to afford better equipment
- so-that my photos will improve
- so-that they will sell better
- so-that I develop a following
- so-that I get better jobs and opportunities
“So-thats” interlock and support not only the main goal; they amplify one another.
The magic of this process is that “so-thats,” in time, become more like instincts more so than words. At that point, the owner no longer must refer to the “so-that” list logically. And, even when we get to the place where we are living our goals or purposes, it is still a good practice to have them written down for later reference and reinforcement.
The term “so-that” really defines the consequences of a given activity. By knowing or visualizing layers of consequences ahead of time, we are able to see down the road and anticipate the effects our actions will have on others and thereby have a Plan-B ready to go.
Consequential thinking shows up really well in the game of chess. Some play one move at a time – reacting to the opponent’s most recent single move on the board. The best, most experienced, players not only can see one, two or a couple dozens of moves ahead; those professionals may have memorized many complete games from start to finish and have a built-in set of very complex “so-thats” to aid their success.
Being able to think consequentially trains us to “forefend” in our lives. Forefending is the process of anticipating events or consequences and then preparing to deal with them with plans or techniques. Forefending enables us to make pre-thought-out detours, to adjust our goals and purposes to the reality of life in the moment.
In summary: the more clear and deep we make our goals, plans and purposes the more likely we will anticipate hurdles and to go over, under, around or through them with ease. We will do so because we will be clear about the results we wish to create and have a clear idea on how we will arrive at that point with success, pride and satisfaction. Having such skills and disciplines brings power, confidence and happiness to us and makes others be more willing to follow us when we lead.
Peter Hymans is the father of three adult sons. He lives in Gridley, California where he is a professional photographer and sales agent of commercial kitchen equipment. He is a graduate of EST, the Sterling Men’s Weekend and Alpha Leader Training. Currently Shaman for the Legacy Discovery in the Western Region.