How To Set Goals with Soul

January 14, 2014

I have set myself goals since I remember.
The earliest clear memory I have is from kindergarten. My mom was picking me up and I dragged one of the boys to her and said: “This is the boy I am going to marry”. I was only 5 years old and the boy was the only black child in my kindergarten. To show my determination that summer during holiday in Spain, I picked the only black doll available in a doll store when I was allowed to pick any doll I liked. I didn’t really like dolls but the black one reminded me of the boy so she was a better choice than all the others. And that doll is the only one I still have from my childhood. But I didn’t marry the boy, that desire faded away quickly as it often is with children. And that goal didn’t have a soul.

Sigrun in Kindergarden

Me in kindergarten, the serious one… in the front. I was a very happy child but I guess a photo shoot is a serious business. And if you are searching, the boy I presented to my mother is not in the picture

Deciding on my future

All the way through mandatory school from 6 to 15 years old I was setting goals for the future and by 11 I had figured it all out. I had gone through phases where I wanted to be a writer because I loved to tell stories and other phases where I wanted to be a teacher because I liked all my teachers and thought it would be a cool combination with a career as an author. By 11 I had found out that being a teacher was maybe not so cool, at least not on the salary that were being paid at elementary school. I took my future job choices quiet seriously, probably more seriously than most children at that age, and brainstormed with myself, what else I liked to do. I loved drawing and did that a lot with my story telling but I also liked a certain structure in my drawing. And it became so obvious that I should become an architect and from that moment on, all my choices for electives in middle and high school were based on my goal of becoming an architect.

Goals with a purpose and a feeling

I had not heard of the phrase “goals with soul” when I was a child but already in my teens I was making goals that had a strong meaning to me. I did not choose to become an architect because it would look cool or that my parents would approve. No, I thought I would be able to have fun designing people’s dream houses. I basically wanted to make people happy and feel the joy associated with making others happy. ¬†And of course use my natural strengths when combining creativity and structure. When I explained to my friends and family my choice of study then I used those exact words – creativity and structure – and sometimes art and science. There were very brief times when I doubted my choice, especially since I had to move away from my friends and family for at least 7 years to study architecture. And then I thought about studying computer science or construction engineering based on my strong math skills but just the thought of those two subjects made me sad. I was scared I would kill the creativity that I believed was inside me and just waiting to get out after years of math and physics lessons.

When the goals don’t have a meaning anymore

Goals with a soul are more than goals with feelings. These are not just goals that have a clear desire but more importantly the journey towards the goal includes those feelings you are after. Studying architecture included all the feelings I was looking for; feeling joy, feeling creative, feeling structure in addition to a number of other feelings you are after when you are a student living abroad like; feeling independent, feeling self-confident and feeling adventurous. When I finished my study I realised that working as an architect would not give me those desired feelings. A typical architect spends very little of his or her time designing and a lot of time is spent on discussing with project owners and engineers and making compromises to the original design. After three summer jobs as an architect I had to face the truth and realise that I would never be happy doing this job. I didn’t regret my 6.5 years of study as I had enjoyed the journey and felt those desired feelings I was after. It was just time to make a new goal with a soul.

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