The Paradox of Goals and Outcome Orientation

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Starting a business has been one of the most grueling and challenging experiences I have ever felt in my life. There is a certain paradox that we experience, on one hand we need to be extremely goal oriented while at the same time not being dependent on the outcome.

Trust the process, let go of your need to be in control.

When I left my comfortable job and embarked on this journey I had complete faith in that I would figure out how to build this business but the details of how to do that were to be determined.

As a Buddhist I had read about the middle path and applying that to building a business meant I would need to be disciplined in both my thoughts and my actions. Looking back, I have witnessed the side effects of being caught on the extemity of the goal orientation or outcome dependence continuum.

On one hand, I recall when I was too focused on the results and when the outcome did not align with my expectations I found myself feeling disappointed or sad.

At the same time, I have caught myself wholly focused on just executing on a task without a goal in mind, thus leading me to get nowhere fast.

Balance- that is they key to making it alive in this game. We need to set goals so we have an understanding of what our true intentions are. We need to reframe our idea of what a goal is so that we can set ourselves up for success.

If we treat the idea of goal setting to act as a compass versus a destination we can find ourselves a lot more content as we wind around and around towards the goal we set out. The danger of setting a goal and seeing it as a destination creates a certain level of expectation and if we become inflexible with how we deal with the trials and tribulations (which are inevitable)- then we will find ourselves disappointed, or with resentment, or worse- we may just quit.

I feel that building a business is the ultimate test of our Darwinian nature of adaptation. Shit will get thrown in our face day in and day out, though it is up to us to handle things in a way that we either adapt to better handling emergencies or we become better at avoiding them.


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