Principle # 10 – Goals

As I have progressed through my Emergency Medicine Career, the one thing that I have found that has attributed to my progress is setting goals.  I had to ask myself, what do I want to accomplish with my life?  How do I want to make a difference?  What would I want my Legacy to look like?  Goals, in my opinion are a great place to start.  I firmly believe that God, the Universe, Energy or whatever is the appropriate term of choice,   wants All of Us to make a difference.  I have shared with you previously that I used to have this reoccurring nightmare of seeing myself in casket dressed in a doctor’s white coat. I would wake up panting in a cold sweat, not knowing the meaning of the nightmare.  It wasn’t until I was at a Personal Development Seminar that I had my “aha” moment.  Yes, I am a Medical Doctor and God had blessed me with great skills.  However, that wasn’t my ultimate goal!  If I just settled on being a doctor, I was just settling like the majority of the population.  I was being just like everybody else.  If you are a winner in life, as God and I know all of you are, being like everybody else is totally unacceptable!  As I recall at this event, once I understood the nightmare, I began to sob uncontrollably.  Why?  I had let other people determine my Purpose or Destiny.  My Spirit could not take it.  I was not just a doctor.  I, Robert Ealy, MD, was a Healer!  All of us have that in us!  What keeps you awake at night?   What gets you all choked up inside?  Have you accepted a position and once acquired, you found that it was not what you signed up for?  It was akin to the old show “Let’s Make a Deal” where the option was doors number 1, 2 and 3.  What you discovered is that it was all an illusion, or bluntly, they Lied to you.  Folks, that is why Goals are so important.  As I write this piece, I still struggle with this.  Therefore, I will be on this Journey with You so that we all can make a difference.

What is a Goal?  Goals allows you to control the direction of change in your favor.  Goals are an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed time frame.  Goals are the object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim or desired result.

One may say, “Why do I need to set a goal?  The well-known motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, once stated, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” The truth is, Ladies and gentlemen, we must have goals if we’re going to do or gain anything in life.

Please allow me to share a story with you.  I knew at nine years old that I wanted to be a Doctor.  This insight came to me while my Brother Anthony and I were with our Pop and my close Uncles sitting on the green at the golf course late at night.  Our Family Doctor, Dr. Weinreb, was very influential on my life in achieving this goal, although he did not know this until years later in 1977 when I was applying to Medical School.  Dr. Weinreb made house visits.  He was involved in a number of my Parent’s arguments, which when I was young were all too frequent.  Stress was abundant in our household.   Imagine having 5 children 9 and under with a household income of less than $10,000.00. Dr. Weinreb showing up at our roach infested apartment when he didn’t have to made a significant impression on me.  This was when I decided I wanted to be a Medical Doctor so that I could make a difference in folks’ lives like Dr. Weinreb did for my family and myself.  Dr. Weinreb was more than just a Doctor, he was a healer.  I set a goal at 9 years old that I wanted to become a Medical Doctor.  During my quest, I had numerous obstacles: living on the wrong side of the tracks, being on welfare at one time, wearing clothes from the Salvation Army, stuttering, being extremely shy, having a slight southern drawl, and perhaps the greatest, being a person of color (???African American/Black).  These were all stacked against me.  I even had teachers say,  “Robert, you know where you live and oh, you also have that color thing going against you.”  Fast-forward 17 years later, May of 1982, I graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Medical Doctor Degree.  This is why Goals are so important!  If I had not set a goal of becoming a Medical Doctor, there was a good possibility I would have ended up working in the plastic factory with my Pop!

I’ve had several family members and friends who are either Dead or Incarcerated because no goals were ever set in their lives.  Many are in dead-end jobs they loath, are in poor health, or are living from paycheck to paycheck.  Life for them is a daily struggle!  How can one complain of not getting the things in life without setting a goal and a plan to achieve it?

My Mentor, Tom Venuto, Nationally Winning Natural Body Builder, Fitness Instructor and Best Selling Author (http://www.burnthefatfeedthemuscle.com/) uses this acronym for attaining goals: SMARTER (Specific, MeasurableAction-Oriented (Accountable), RealisticTime-Bound, Emotion, Review Often) which works perfectly if one is sincerely serious about attaining their goals.  Goals have to be very Specific and Measurable, Measure to determine progress.  Having a specific Timea date of expected completion, is paramount.  Emotions are involved as well.  Basically, Why you desire that goal and what keeps you motivated, those need to be Reviewed Often!

Why are goals important?  Goals give you laser focus.  Goals allow you to measure progress (whatever you measures improves), assists in overcoming procrastination, sets barriers, enables you to manage your time, motivates, gives clarity on your end vision, drives you forward, makes you accountable, allows you to be the best you can be and live your best life possible.

Goals also help you control your future, be more positive, make better use of time, get faster results, focus on what’s important, create a Sense of purpose/destiny, allow optimum use of resources, provides clarity to decision making, grants easier measurement of what you do, gives one more freedom of thought, affords easier communication with others, keeps you locked in and undistracted, offers action, and transforms insurmountable mountains into walkable hills.

Goals assist with allowing us to believe in ourselves.  They hold you accountable for failure, tell you what you truly want, help us live life to the fullest.

Goals need to be written down. The single most important thing you can do in life is to set goals.  By doing so, you take control of your life which allows you to focus on the important things allowing one to make good decisions and to finish the task efficiently.  Lastly, goals allow you to be self-confident and enthusiastic about what you are accomplishing and ultimately bring you closer to success!