Monday, December 15, 2014

Got goals?

It’s that time again, when we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one. I don’t want to intimidate anyone with the “R”* word, so I won’t use it except inside parenthesis at the bottom of this post so as not to scare anyone who isn’t ready to make that kind of commitment.

So I’m going to skip that word altogether and talk about the “G” word (which stands for goals, and doesn’t carry with it the same weight as the “R” word). I’ve read many books and articles about the importance of defining, setting and achieving goals, so am well-schooled in the importance of being goal-oriented. In some aspects of my life I am a goal-setter, and others, well, not so much.

But this year I’ve begun to look at goals differently, thanks to a documentary I watched about Tomi Ungerer titled “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough.” It’s about the children’s book author whom Maurice Sendak called disarming and funny, and not respectable at all. “He broke down doors, he broke down windows, and made enemies like crazy and seemed oblivious. He was treated badly, not reviewed as often as he should have been, not held up as an icon, which he was.” 

If you watch it, be warned that the images can be graphic. In addition to children’s books, some of his art could be defined as the OPPOSITE of suitable for children (and some adults). I’m not kidding. He said his life was driven by fear: his father died when he was a child, and Nazi occupation also played a big role. Let’s just say these two influences show up in his art.

So, what did he say that changed my attitude towards goals? It’s a simple sentence that resonates with me, and moves beyond the idea that setting goals can sometimes feel like a check list. He said “Destiny needs a destination.” Isn’t that beautiful? If you are driven by a passion, then that work is your destiny. Your work needs a destination, a place where it belongs – a home. And thinking of a destination in terms of bringing your work home is like setting a goal, but with a deeper commitment to realizing its potential. The two become one. They can’t be separated. Completing the work is the destiny and the destination. 

I love that, and hope his words inspire you as much as they did me.

Write soon,

(*Resolutions, as in “New Year’s”)