A Lesson From My “Brother”

A few years ago I had a conversation with one of my friends about our career and life goals. My friend is a few years older than me and I view him as an older brother. The conversation was interesting because it made me take a deeper look at what I desired to achieve and why. I have never been the type of person who tries planning my entire life because we all know things change. Instead, I maintain the attitude that it is important to identify certain things I desire to accomplish but to not get wrapped up in the plan. Often times people become discouraged and they crumble if their plan doesn’t go the way they expected.

During our discussion, my friend asked me what I truly wanted to accomplish within a 5 year period. I broke down my financial, business, and personal goals and he could tell that I was 100% serious about each one. What my friend said next will always resonate with me. My friend explained that all of my goals are awesome and there is no doubt in his mind that I could accomplish them, but he proceeded to discuss the concept of reverse engineering the goals by understanding why you want to do what you want to do.

Initially that concept was a lot to take in but the more I thought about it the more it began to click. My friend told me to fast forward to the end of my goal and that feeling of accomplishment. Once I visualized the end of my goal, he told me to think back to every step I had to take to get to that particular point. Whether it be networking with specific people, saving a certain amount of money, or investing in a financial instrument, each one of these steps led to the accomplishment. For the first time ever, reverse engineering my goals transformed my mindset when it comes to setting goals.

At this point in our conversation, my friend knew that I was fully engaged in what he was teaching me. He went on to say that starting at the beginning of your goal can be daunting because you dwell about the steps that must be taken to get there. It is like running a marathon and dwelling about each mile mark instead of visualizing the feeling of crossing the finish line.

As I look back on the conversation I had with my big brother, I always try to keep this lesson in my back pocket. Everyone plans and handles their goals differently. Some people like to set periodic goals for themselves and some don’t believe in goals at all because they find them to difficult to follow. However, I will say that if you are an avid goal setter try reverse engineering your goals. It works pretty well on average.