find articles by Author

The Importance of Getting Specific About Your Goals

0

Admitting what you want is scary. I bet even reading that sentence is a little scary. I get it. I don’t just mean admitting your small goals in life, but admitting the big ones. The ones you say under your breath in your affirmations every morning. Your goals like “I want to win an Oscar.” “I want to have my own show.” “I want to have my own private jet.” “I want four perfect children, a house on the beach, and a nanny.”

Whatever that big goal is, it can be freaking scary to admit. After all, when you put it out into the world you are risking rejection and criticism by both yourself and others. Let’s unpack that a bit. As soon as you speak your goals you are risking someone else saying you’re crazy, or you’re aiming too high, or something to that end. But here’s the thing, most people would never dream of reacting that way. In fact, most people applaud you for actually admitting your dreams and speaking your truth. Most people are actually more supportive of your goals than you, yourself are. And that’s the other voice you’re afraid of, your own. Your own voice that says your goals are unattainable and unrealistic. It’s scarier to realize that you don’t believe in yourself, than others.  After all, you can just make excuses for their commentary, but your own…? I’m here to tell you that THAT IS NORMAL.

Raise your hand if you’ve felt self doubt today? 🙋🏻‍♀️ just me? I’m going to assume not. I am going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re human (or a weird computer-bot), and we all have doubts and make mistakes, and aren’t perfect. Yes computer-bot, even you. So give yourself a break today and focus back on your goals. What you want is perfectly possible. Of course it takes an insane amount of hard work, guts, dedication, etc… You notice I didn’t say talent, because there is something, I heard recently that has really resonated with me. A public persona that I really admire was talking about success and fame and goals. Someone asked them how they tackle new tasks and they said that they constantly remind themselves that they are an ever-changing organism. Sure they may not be an incredible writer…. YET. The yet is very important because it reminds us that we are always evolving, and we can become that writer, we just need that time, hard work, guts, dedication etc.

Let’s get back to goals and being very specific about your goals. One thing we do all have to acknowledge is that we all have a limited time on this earth and so we do have to prioritize our goals in life. What comes before the “YET” in your own sentence? I have been thinking about this a lot lately because I have had several conversations with friends lately about their own goals. I figured everyone wanted the same things as I did when it came to a career. I mean we are all in this business for the same reason, right? Wrong.  Try it, talk to your friends about their goals and get brutally honest with each other and yourself. No answer is right or wrong. I recently confronted what my true goal was. I was in therapy talking about my career and these conversations I had been having with friends, and my therapist asked me what my goal was. My immediate answer was “I want to be a working actor.” She challenged me and said, “is that really what you want? Close your eyes, think about your goals, and then answer.”

I closed my eyes, breathed deep, and with tears streaming down my face I answered, “I want to be a household name.” What were those tears about you might ask? Those tears were about feeling shame for admitting my deepest goals to someone. I don’t want to just be a working actor. I want people to know me. And that felt self indulgent and silly and shameful. I know now, that there is NOTHING wrong with having that as a goal. There is nothing silly or shameful about striving for that. Over the next few days I started talking to my friends about my goal, and listening to what theirs’ is. Some want to feel creatively fulfilled, some want to be successful but not so successful that someone would recognize them on the street. Some had similar goals to mine. But you know what, no one laughed at me. No one said my goal was silly and self-absorbed. In fact, most of my friends said they could easily see that in my future. And you know what, the more they believed in me, the more my doubting voice started to fade. Here’s the thing, in this industry we are all struggling so much to make ends meet that we often feel like our goals are all the same: food, recognition, a little bit of time off. But I encourage you to go deeper than that. Really figure out what your goal is, and then start sharing it with as many people as possible. I promise, it feels pretty freaking great. I know that “I am not a household name… YET, but I will be.” What is your goal? What is your Yet sentence? (Really, I’d love to know! Reach out on Instagram at www.instagram.com/deborah_lsmith.

Deborah Lee Smith

About Deborah Lee Smith

Deborah Lee Smith is an award-winning actor, producer, and founder of “More Than You See”, a non profit organization dedicated to sharing stories and resources surrounding the daily struggles of mental health. Recent projects include “Here Awhile” starring Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect), and “Last Three Days” starring Robert Palmer Watkins (General Hospital). Deborah is also a regular contributing staff writer for the entertainment website “Ms. In The Biz”.