4/1/21: Can your North Star goals pass a value check?

Sent 4/1/2021

I had Geoff Woods of The One Thing on my podcast and we discussed how billionaires set goals. Then he walked me through an exercise applying their methodology to Make the Leap. It was a profound conversation and I've been overwhelmed by how many listeners have reached out to say how much they took from it. Me, too!

You can read the article about it here or listen to the podcast here.


This week's Think Better Newsletter dives into a critical component of setting North Star goals, which I call the Value Check.

The Idea

North Star goals are the far-off future goals we set. Their purpose is to motivate us to achieve a greater result. This is their key defining characteristic: we desire them.

But I've always been resistant to North Star goals because it's too easy to say something is your goal. What's hard is actually making the plan and doing the work.

I know many people who are great at describing where they want to be 10 years from now while completely disregarding the 100 steps it will take to get there.

Now, here's the thing. That's not a problem with the goal. That's a problem with the goal-setting process. It's a sign that you're not addressing a couple critical questions.

First, of course, is can you make a plausible plan that gets you there? It is shocking how many people have goals and no plans. 

But the second is perhaps more important. If you actually achieved it, would you be happy?

You may want to be an Olympic marathoner, but you're not going to get there unless you live like an Olympic marathoner now. And that is not an easy life! It is a life of 99% hard work in a highly disciplined environment, filled with delayed gratification. 

The reason I know most people wouldn't be happy living that life is because they choose not to do it today. Being an Olympic marathoner sounds awesome. Living like one...not so much.

My co-founder at Go Be More, Jon Rankin, puts it this way: 

"You need to be that person before you become that person."

We all have the opportunity to be that person today. Most of us choose not to be. Why not?

The System

Again, the problem isn't the goal. It's that the goal isn't aligned to your values today.

Doing a value check can help you make sure you're setting the right goal. Imagine in detail the day-to-day lifestyle that would be required to not only achieve your goal, but sustain it afterwards.

Ask yourself: if I lived this lifestyle day in and day out, would I be happy?

If your goal is to be an Olympian, would you be happy doing the training, the traveling, the diet, the injuries, the rehab, the 1000-days-of-work-for-the-one-day-where-you-either-qualify-or-fail? (It's not all podiums and sponsorships.)

If the goal is to be a CEO, do you want the early mornings, the stressful negotiations, the firings and lay-offs, the travel, the criticism, the attempted internal coups. (It's not all private jets and golf meetings.)

If it's to be a famous author, would you enjoy staring at a blank screen every day, doing revision after revision, meeting deadlines, receiving negative reviews, and (probably) not getting enough money for it. (It's not all 5-star reviews and best-seller lists.)

You have to imagine all the difficult work to get there AND the day-to-day sucky parts that come with being that person. If you imagine that and still want to pursue it, prove it.

You need to be that person before you can become that person.

The Question

Based on who you are being, who are you on track to becoming? 


Go Be More,

Bryan Green
Author of Make the Leap: Think Better, Train Better, Run Faster and the companion Think Better Workbook
Co-host of the Go Be More Podcast
Co-host of the Fueling the Pursuit Podcast

"I have always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific."
- Lily Tomlin


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