I read Daniel Pink’s Drive this weekend because I have felt for a long time that goal-setting doesn’t work well for certain types of creative work but I couldn’t figure out what does work. I still haven’t quite figured that out, but at least I have learned I am not insane for thinking that sometimes goal-setting does not get you where you want to go.
In the end, it comes down to focusing on your purpose, and that is summed up in the marvelous question that Pink poses towards the end of the book: “What’s your sentence?”
That is, what is the thing you’re about? The local farmer might say, “We nourish our community with healthy food.” My daughter’s dance teacher might say, “I teach children how to express the joy in their souls through dance.”
So, I pondered what my sentence would look like. “She never grew too old for Greek sailors” was my first shot. But much as I would like it to be, that’s not really a life purpose.
Then I remembered a conversation I had with a colleague way back before the earth cooled. We agreed that if we heard, “She did good work,” we would be completely satisfied in our efforts. But that doesn’t seem specific enough to sum up what I’m trying to do.
So I came up with, “She told the truth, even when it was very hard.” But that seemed a little smug, and also, I lie a lot. But I like it, and I’m keeping it.
What about you?