When a new year comes around it is often customary to set new personal and professional goals. Yet, in the midst of the tradeoffs that come with balancing new goals and their required behaviors, the challenge of creating sensible targets with flexibility and grace can be confounded by the reality of living in a world where uncertainty abounds and complex life situations are difficult (and sometimes even impossible) to map out.
In our 131st episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss the value of setting goals even when our circumstances may seem overwhelmingly complex and uncertain (and even when we know that our goals will change); as doing so helps us clarify not only where we want to go and what we want to achieve, but also what our initial first steps need to be to get to the 'nearest local optimum' that will reveal new perspectives about our journey. Because developing these new perspectives, over time, are what often reveals the true direction we need to go to realize our most fulfilling success.
As a starting point, it's important to recognize the value of taking any initial step, as without that first step, getting past the myriad choices that face us can feel overwhelming and impossible. Furthermore, giving ourselves permission to shift gears and change goals instead of sticking to a rigid and unchanging blueprint for life can help us navigate and adapt to the complex environment that surrounds us. And by continually reassessing our roadmap as we take each step, we can course correct our path, adjust our goals as needed, and solve for the next nearest local optimum that we need to target to help us progress along our journey.
Accordingly, setting flexible goals and reassessing their relevance from time to time can help us make sense of the mystery that lies in the world around us while bringing clarity to the adjustments we need to make to stay on a path that continues to have meaning for us. As while setting goals can motivate people to take action to achieve the plans they make for themselves, the reality is that the sense of security that comes with having goals – which is often the source of the motivation it provides – can be based on a fleeting framework that is subject to change at any time. The question to ask ourselves as we reassess our goals, then, is if the steps we are taking continue to bring us closer to something we truly want, whether that involves improving the work we do and getting to what feels right for us, and/or aiming for better financial, emotional, or mental profits?
Ultimately, the point of having goals is to keep us moving in the right direction toward the growth and progress we want to achieve. When goals become too rigid, they can inhibit our momentum and keep us from recognizing the adjustments we need to make to stay true to our values and priorities as they inevitably change over time. Which means that keeping goals flexible and constantly assessing the steps needed to reach the finish line is crucial in crafting the most useful goals. And by following a path true to our values, continually assessing (and re-assessing) the direction we're moving, and adjusting the goals along the way, we can have confidence that the road we're traveling will continue to bring us closer to a meaningful and fulfilling future!
***Editor's Note: Can't get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we've released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Michael: Well, Happy New Year, Carl.
Carl: Happy New Year, Michael J. Kitces.
Carl: I know it's Michael E. I know it's Michael E, but it just sounds so great to say Michael J. We all know Michael...
Michael: We all love Michael J. Fox.
Carl: Yes, yes. Happy New Year.
Michael: Happy New Year. And I feel a little strange saying that. We're recording this immediately after New Year. It's going to be a month or two before this airs out to everyone. But it is New Year's. I feel like we... I don't know, maybe it's obligatory meme, but I feel like we have to do the...so how were your goals for last year? And what are your goals and resolution for this year? Because we're financial planners, Carl. We set goals and then we achieve them. So you have goals, right?
Carl: Yes, you do. Of course you do. Of course. I mean, I don't know what they are, but let's talk about it. I think it's really important.
Does Carl Actually Set Goals For Himself And His Business? [01:57]
Michael: Do you? This is a genuine... Do you have goals? Are you a set goals for yourself to pursue and achieve person?
Carl: I was. I was. Are you going to let me get away with that answer? I can just say I was and we can move on.
Michael: No. I mean, you can say that, but we're not...
Carl: Well, first of all, I need to tell you real quickly. We were in New Zealand for New Year's and we decided...it wasn't because we had some grand vision or some smart, altruistic people. We were tired. That's the reality. Our older daughters are with us, and they want to go out to a party. And we were tired. And so I was like, "I'm just going to go to bed." But I had to make a bargain. So I was like, "Hey, what if we go to bed now at 9:00? And I'll wake you up at 5:00. What time is sunrise?" Sunrise is 6:00 in New Zealand. So I was like, "I'll wake you up at 5:00 and we'll drive. We'll get ready and whatever. We'll be in the water. We'll get in the ocean at dark and we'll...dusk..." or sorry, dawn. So it wasn't actually dark, but, "We'll get in the ocean. We'll be in the ocean for sunrise." And they bought...
Michael: So you see the water peek over the water horizon...the sun peek over the water horizon. Yeah.
Carl: Yeah. Totally. And they bought it, which was great. So we decided to celebrate. And then the next day I was like, "Man, isn't that interesting, these trade-offs we make around goals and behavior," right? There's nothing wrong with celebrating New Year's Eve. Anybody who wants to do that, that's amazing. This isn't a statement of right or wrong. It's just we decided accidentally to make a trade-off and we celebrated New Year's morning. And we were in the water for the sunrise. And for us, that's a much better alignment of what we value than being out late, doing whatever you do out late. I've forgotten at this point. And again, no right or wrong for that. But it's interesting when you start thinking about goals, and trade offs, and why you're setting certain goals, instead of just sort of like, "Oh, this is a..." And how mimetic.
Michael: Because you need goals because it's New Year's.
Carl: But it does, right? It's so mimetic is my point is like, we're mimicking everybody else because we all have set goals because we have to have goals without a lot of intention behind them is all I'm saying. And so that's where things have changed for me a little bit is I am a big fan of having. Something akin to a goal? I'm scared... You and have talked about this before. I'm scared to call it a goal because any goal I would have set for my career, it would have been silly. I would have never set goals for the things that I didn't know. I didn't know it was a giant mystery. So I liked the idea of having kind of a sense of direction without an attachment to a specific goal. And I know that doesn't work for a lot of people, but that's kind of where I've fallen out on this thing. It's like, I want to go that direction. I want to explore this, but I'm going to embrace the uncertainty of the journey. Because if I'd had certain goals and had the blinders on, I would have missed the chance to do 8 out of the 10 things I'm most proud of.
Michael: So do you ever have...the challenge that I feel like comes at the other end of that spectrum, which is...this isn't the right analogy. If you're not certain where you're going, how do you get anywhere and not just...
Carl: I know.
Michael: ...turn in circle standing where you are, constantly looking at the next thing and be like, "Oh, I can go after that. Or I can go after that. I can go after that. Or I can go after that," as you turn in a circle until eventually you've done 360 degrees and gone nowhere. Because when everything is possible and an option on the table, you never actually take a step in any particular direction.
Carl: I know.
Michael: For me, I feel like I see a lot of people where the biggest thing about setting a goal is it makes you choose something to take a step. Because otherwise the endless range of possibilities feels great. It's like the unlimited range of possibilities. But you never actually pursue any of them. We're so focused on keeping our options open that we never choose one.
Carl: I love that. It's really a giant set of beautiful tension around this. Because I think...so look, my understanding of the complexity research is that when...the easiest way to navigate a complex adaptive environment, which is the environment you're operating in, when you say, "I want to have business goals or life goals," there's complexity, which we often don't even understand the degree to...I mean, it's borderline chaos, but it's not complicated. It's complex. Well, the best way to navigate a complex adaptive environment is to get really clear about where you are today, and then solve for the next local optimum. That's what the literature says, right? The next local optimum, which is just the next best step.
Michael: Take one positive step. I think in general, I'm better going east than west. So I'm going to go that a ways. And then I'm going to take a few steps and figure out what the heck's going on now.
Carl: Yeah. So that's what I love. I think when you go to take that next step, it's really helpful to have a sense of direction, as you pointed out, right? Am I going east or west? And so what I think...I think to me, goals are powerful for two reasons. One is a sense of direction. So it's like a stake out there. I have a goal. I want to do more individual level coaching with people who are trying to do their thing in the world. And it's mainly advisors who have created a project they want to do, and they've reached out for help. And I keep getting asked. And that's kind of what I'm saying. I didn't have that as a goal two years ago, but I keep getting asked. And so that's sort of like the universe saying, "Hey, stupid. People want this from you. You enjoy doing it. Why don't you do more?"
So I have set a goal to do a bunch more of that this year. And these are like, come to Park City, spend a day. So that's a goal. And so now I can say the direction, "Okay, what am I supposed to do today? Well, I know I want to head that direction." And then the second reason goals are powerful to me is they do have gravitational pull. So sense of direction and gravitational pull. Because we've all had that experience. If you set a goal and you forget that you set the goal, but you wrote it down somewhere, and then you wake up two years later and you find that piece of paper and you've achieved the goal. It's like some weird magic. Not to be confused with the secret, and the juvenile version of the law of attraction, but there is something really powerful in the law of attraction, which is why that book did so well. It's because there's a kernel of truth blended in by teenagers, teenage thinking.
So that's how I think about goals is like a sense of direction and gravitational pull. And it's helpful for that goal to be specific, but I just think of it as written in pencil. It's not carved in stone, because when I go to take that next step, I may learn some new information that says, "Ah, you know what? I really thought I wanted to retire to a sailboat. But man, I went sailing the other day. I didn't like it that much." You know what I mean? So I can change the goal.
Michael: So you said a few minutes ago you used to set goals more. And now you don't or you do them less. So I guess I'm curious to understand more. What did it used to look like? And then what changed? Let me start there. What did it used to look like? I mean, were you a whiteboard, a vision board? [crosstalk 00:09:26] write down three things, and keep it on your desk on a post-it? What was your goal process?
Carl: It was the Franklin Covey planner thing. And I got to be clear, I don't know that...in fact, I'm positive I'm wrong about this. You know what I mean? I'm just like everybody else trying to figure this out. But the way it's evolved for me is from daily tracking. Franklin planner. Remember those things?
Carl: Is that what they were called?
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Carl: Yeah, the little book you carried around. You'd move stuff every day. You'd move the little book note, and you'd wrote stuff. And so it was daily tracking. And I guess our version of that now would be KPIs. And I was really into that. And then I kept...
Tracking Steps Taken In The Pursuit Of Goals [11:10]
Michael: What did you track? What did you measure?
Carl: Yeah, I mean, it'd be...I remember having goals for revenue for the firm when I started Prasada, the planning firm. I remember having goals, athletic goals, the time I would spend in the mountains, or how fast I would do this, or how hard I could climb. There's specific numbers on climbs. Like, "I'm going to climb a 511 by the end of the year," which for climbers...
Michael: I don't even know what that means.
Carl: And for climbers hearing it now, it'd be like, "511, big deal." But back 20 years ago, 511 meant something. So don't worry. We don't need to explain it. I'm just saying I had specific goals. I was trying to... Goals around budgeting, "Oh, we're only going to spend this much on gas." I remember one time having that goal, and one time I showed my wife, "Hey, we spent $97.23," whatever the number was. And she was like...
Michael: Under $100.
Carl: Yeah. And then she was like, "That's what you've been doing in this room each night for a half an hour?" I'm like, "Yeah. Stupid, huh?" She's like, "Well, what would you have done if we'd spent $101 on gas?" I'm like, "Yeah." So I had goals like that.
Michael: You would have wept for the failure of the goal, and then remediated your behavior.
Carl: Yeah. There would be punishment until behavior improved is what that would be. Yeah, this is all kind of in jest pointing at both the positive and the negative aspects of the goal. So that's what it looked like. That's what it looked like.
Michael: So what changed?
Carl: I think I've just been really...let me use the word overwhelmed in a beautiful way, by the mystery of it all, right? I never had... The first example of this was...certainly the first big example for me was The New York Times column. There was no, "Are you kidding me," in terms of having a goal to do that. I would have never thought of that. But I did have a...I don't even know if I had a goal. I know I was blogging back in the day really regularly, and that led to that. But I would have never had that as a goal. The book was the same way, the first book, "Penguin." I mean, come on. I just would have never considered it. I still am like, "I can't believe that happened." And things I'm doing now.
So I just got overwhelmed by the...overwhelmed, I think is the right word. But I want to use it in a beautiful way, just deeply touched by the mystery of how life works. And so I started focusing more on where's my energy? What feels good to do? I want to do more. This year I have a goal to do more "podcasts," more conversations with humans that I like. You're one of those people, by the way, Michael. You're a human that I really like.
Michael: I appreciate that. Sweet.
Carl: This kind of thing. I love... So I have a goal to do more. And so if I were to put a label on that, I could say, I want to become a professional conversationalist. Turns out that podcasting is one way you can pull that off. Okay, I'm going to do "50 Fires." I'm going to do "Kitces and Carl," and I'm going to try and do one other one. Okay, great. I'd love to be the guest on 10 shows a month. Okay. Because why? Because when I'm done, I feel energized. That's the reason. Not because I want to be out in the world more, but just because I feel energized having the conversation. So I'm following energy... And I think that's the closest technical phrase I could come up with would be Dan Sullivan's unique ability. What leaves me energized? What do I want to do more of? So I have a goal of noticing what I want to do more of and doing more of it. That's my goal. How's that?
Michael: I'm struck by this, only because I've...I feel like I basically had an evolution in the 180-degree opposite ends, which is I was a no goals person who's become a goals person.
Carl: I was actually really interested because I remember you being...this wasn't very long in the past. It is a new thing. [crosstalk 00:14:24]
Michael: Yeah, yeah. So, it's similar, actually, in principle to what you said earlier. I found very early on that...I guess in the purest sense, I was so bad at predicting the serendipity that was going to come in my life that I gave up pretty early on on setting goals. I mean, I think self-therapy looking back kind of thing. I went to college as a psych major and theater minor, but really wanted to go into medicine. So I did all the classes to get ready to go to med school. I was an EMT. I was doing hours and hours of internships in emergency rooms in local hospitals because I really wanted to go into emergency medicine. And had this really clear and concrete goal that this is what I wanted to do until the beginning of my senior year. And I decided that it wasn't actually what I wanted to do.
And I was like, "Well..." So all the time and energy, and all the focus that I've been putting into all the things I've been doing for the past three years now basically feels wasted, because I put all that goal energy into the goals. "I've got to take these classes. I've got to check these boxes so that I've got a strong med school application. I need to get these internships. I got to take this curriculum." I'm a planner and a goal setter. I had the whole game plan laid out, and was executing on it quite well until I basically realized, "Except I don't think this is actually what I want to do. Crap."
And so what it led me towards from a pretty early point on was, I didn't want to set goals because I found basically I changed my interests too quickly. And this is probably just a luck of the cosmic genetic dice, whatever it is, I happen to be just naturally pretty well wired to be directional, right? In that directional sense that you said. Yes, the direction will shift sort of incrementally. Okay, well, I was going after medicine. It turned out I didn't want to do medicine. But what I did want to do is helping people, which is how I ended up in financial planning, ironically, because I was slightly oversold on a life insurance sales job for all the people that I was going to help.
But nonetheless, I came to the industry because I was told it was a helping industry around giving people advice. And then that didn't work because it was an insurance sales job. But I liked the advice thing enough that I found another opportunity nearby, and I got a little closer to it. And then I found another opportunity, I got a little closer to it. And then I found I actually like talking to the advisors as much as the clients. So I started doing that. And I liked it enough that I started doing a little bit more of that. And in that sense that some people I find have challenges taking the first step unless there's a concrete goal to move towards, I've always found for whatever dumb luck, I'm pretty good at taking those first steps. And I'm really bad at predicting where they're going to take me 3, 5, 10 years down the road because the human brain grossly underestimates compounding in the long run.
So I found pretty quickly I didn't need a goal in the short term. because I was good at taking the first step. And I didn't want to make goals in the long term because things kept turning out so differently than what I'd expected that it wasn't helpful to have done that. But what I found kind of coming full circle on that conversation, that worked great when the journey was me and my career supporting my family. And then I started growing a team. And all of a sudden, this business thing that I'd created that for a long time was a business of me, right? We hang our shingle and do our thing. Suddenly was a business that had team members. And they've got their goals, and their families and their mouths that they feed and provide for, and put roofs over heads of.
And I found this shift that it was like, "Okay, I can be dynamic with me in the journey of me," and no goals me that's directionally strong enough to take steps in the right direction, and solve for my next local optimum. But once there was a team in place, just for me, I mean…there was this weight that shifted...to me, that shifted further onto my shoulders. I was like, "I'm pretty good at fending for myself and making sure that my family's taken care of." But now that there's all these other team members and they're depending on this as well, I just...I guess, for lack of a better term, it was like, "I don't feel like I can wing this anymore the way that I have been."
And not that winging it was going bad. I feel like that understates the sense of vision that I typically did have for myself of where I was going. But when there's like team members that want career tracks and goal opportunities, and they want to be in a certain place at a certain time, I got to get pretty clear about where the business is growing, and what it's going to do, and what goals we have to achieve this over the next one year, so we can be there where we want to be for three years, so that I've got a great team member who has a great career opportunity five years from now. Because I've grown the business to the point where they get to move up to do the things that they want to do.
And so for me, at least, just the phenomenon of growing the business materially beyond myself I feel like sort of forced me into the goals direction. Because I really don't know how to make sure everyone in the whole business is on track for the opportunities and goals that they have, unless at least I get clear about the goals of the business. But when you're the founder, goals of the business are sort of strictly linked to your goals as well. So lo and behold, I ended up with some goals for myself.
Carl's Personal Relationship With Goals [21:56]
Carl: I mean, look, I have a revenue goal for the business now.
Michael: A goal goal? Like a...
Carl: It's a very specific number. And I had a team member come to me late last year and say, "Hey, I'm thinking about making a relatively big commitment personally," I think he was buying a house or something. "Are you thinking of closing the business anytime soon?" Sort of like, "Where are we?" And I communicated that goal. "Okay, here's the goal." Along with the caveat of, "Look, there's massive risk in that goal, but I'm doing everything I can. That's my personal goal. If you're on the train, that's my goal." So I can see how that's obviously super helpful. And my question to you is, when...and I've seen this a lot, so don't tell me it doesn't happen. I see this all the time, where the goal is actually just a false sense of security. Just because you set the goal doesn't mean you're going to reach the goal. It's just a guess. Now, you may have had magic fingers your whole life. As far as I can tell you do. That, "I set a goal, I reach it." But that's...
Michael: I didn't set goals. It was like, "I want to go over yonder," and I kept walking and the numbers kept getting bigger. They moved up and to the right.
Carl: Yeah, but at this point you've decided, "That's not a good idea anymore," because it works so well. Is this one of those, "What got you here won't get you where you want to go."
Michael: Well, it may be, except you've had literally the polar opposite journey, and other people rigorously set their goals each and every year. And others have never, ever, ever set a goal and never do. So to me, it gets to the much...I guess, much more interesting underlying question. Why are we going through this exercise in the first place? And why do some of us seem to be fine without goals, and other of us really need goals? And sometimes we shift where we want them, and then we don't, and we don't. And then we do.
Carl: Because what I want to answer, it's just not true for me yet, is I have no goals. And then the more you're pushing me on this, the more I'm like, "Well, it turns out I got this and this and this." But I know people, but they're much more...they're operating in a different plane, and they're running big businesses. So it's not like, "Oh, that's a cute little, whatever. Don't give me that lifestyle business stuff." You know what I mean? Dismissive. And we all fall into it. I was really glad you caught yourself with, "I can't just do this." What did you say? "On a whim," or, "By the seat of my pants," or what did you say?
Michael: Yeah. I forget. One of those.
Carl: What word did you use.
Michael: Winging it.
Carl: Winging it. Yeah, yeah. I can't just wing it. But we have this tendency to think that if you don't have KPIs that you're tracking every day, you're just winging it. And I know you didn't say that. And you caught yourself, too, to say, "Look, that was doing...it's a disservice."
Michael: Well, the thing... I guess this seems to be, I had KPIs. I just didn't have goals for them.
Carl: So you were tracking stuff.
Michael: I'm tracking am I building revenue? Am I building the inquiries that lead to revenue? Am I building the new opportunities for growth? What are the factors that input into that? I need sort of business KPI. Ideally you want things that lead the business, not that are lagging the business. So I had a lot of measurements. I mean, Carl, it's me. There's been spreadsheets since forever. But [inaudible 00:24:49] there were goals on the spreadsheets beyond, "I know what I'm tracking, and I want to make sure they're moving up and to the right." I mean, I suppose at the purest level, the goal was not zero or negative. There was an implicit goal around that.
But beyond that, I'm launching a new business. Is this thing going to grow a lot or a little? I don't freaking know. I think it would be useful for people, so I'm going to try it and put it out in the world. So I've got enough of a "goal" to say, "I think I should do this thing and put it out into the world rather than not doing this thing and not putting it out in the world. But I don't know which thing's going to be huge or big or not." I mean, you take your best guess, but at some point, particularly in entrepreneurship context, you just have to put it out in the world, and the world will tell you what they actually think of it.
Carl: Totally. And I think maybe there's this... Yeah. So let me just try something on here. Let's say you want to build... and we may talk about this in a future episode, so let's not get into all the behind-the-scenes stuff about this. But let's say you have a goal of building an audience, right? I want to build... And let's just pick one... Please don't anchor on any of these things. Don't anchor on the thing. Don't anchor on the number. We're using these to get to a concept. As soon as I use numbers, I find people always want to debate the number and they miss the point. So let's not do that now, but let me use a number.
I want to build an email newsletter. And this would be...I would imagine a lot of people have set this goal. I want to build an email newsletter and I want to have 1000 people on it by the end of the year, or 10,000 people on it by the end of the year. And then I could measure that every week, the dashboard, and I could say, "Okay, well, if I break that down weekly, if I want to add 10,000 people to my newsletter this year, or 1000 people, or whatever, and I break that down, I want to add 520 people this year." And I break that down weekly, "I want to add 10 people a week, and I can compare it every week."
And my question is, is that any different or more likely to succeed than, I'm going to write really...I'm going to really focus on the work. I'm going to attend the way," to use that quote that caused so many problems for us last time, "I'm going to attend the way, I'm going to create really great content. And by great, I just mean authentic to me. I'm going to work really hard at finding my voice. I'm going to do everything I can to make it easy to spread. So I'm going to put it in the world and then make it easy to spread. And I'm going to make it very easy for people to raise their hand and say, "I want more."
And so that looks like a blog. It looks like a LinkedIn post that point to a landing page. And the landing page says, "To get this in your inbox, sign up here." This is really simple. And then I'm going to just really focus on writing really great stuff so it spreads. Which one's better? If I want 520 people, is there anything I can do to be like, "I only got eight this week. Next week, I have to get 12." What are you going to do?
Michael: Yeah. Well, create something more meaningful that makes people show up.
Tracking The Steps Vs Just Doing The Work [29:01]
Carl: Yeah. So it all comes back to me to, "What if I just totally attended the way? What if I just did the work?" Including all the scary stuff about sharing it, and... You know what I mean?
Michael: To me, this kind of gets back to the question I was raising earlier. So why do we set the goals in the first place? I mean, to me, I think essentially what it comes down to is there's sort of this question, do you know what you need to do to move the ball forward? To kind of use the sports analogy. And there are sort of two things embedded in that. Do you know what you need to do? What are you going to do? What's your next step to move forward? And do you know what forward is? Do you know what direction you're going? So in the purest sense, I need to know what direction to be pointing, and I need to know how to take a step. And if I'm not sure how to take a step, or I'm not sure what direction to point, I need to solve for that. A goal can help orient me around what would a realistic next step be, or how do I point myself in the right direction.
But to me, that's kind of the limit of it, right? I set a marketing goal, and then I start breaking it down into, "I need this many newsletter subscribers so I get this many inquiries, so I get this many prospect meetings, so I get this many approach talks, so I get this many new clients, so I get this much new revenue. Because at the end of the day, I'm trying to grow my revenue." And all that whole sequence ultimately gets back to me is...well, then I can work backwards, say, "If I want this much new revenue, I need this many clients, which means I need this many approach talks, which means I need this many prospects inquiries, which means I need this many newsletter subscribers," or whatever your marketing tactic is, "which means I need to do this thing."
Carl: Thing. Yeah. Yeah.
Michael: Write an article, or send a tweet, or go to more networking meetings, or do more seminars. Whatever your marketing thing is, if we're going to pick marketing. The point of the goal is it helps break down all the different things that lead up to it. So eventually, you get down to an action, a step, an activity, a thing you can do, and know what you need to do, or how much you need to do it that you can then hold yourself accountable to to take the step. And so I guess in that sense, I've always been pretty good at walking forward and having a sense of what direction to be pointed. So I didn't feel as much of a need for the goals. But if you're one of those people that feels maybe a little bit paralyzed, "I'm just not sure what direction to go. And I don't know what the next step is to take really to move," goal setting helps to say, "Okay, well, if you set a goal by direction, you picked a direction."
Michael: If you set the goal, you have to pick something. And then you can figure out what the next step is to move that direction. And congratulations, now you're moving. And the point is not that I'm unequivocally committed for life to the goal I just set. The point is it got you moving.
Carl: Yeah. No, listen, I love that. I think, to me, the power of goals is two things. Like I said before, a sense of direction. And there is some gravitational pull. And what's going to happen when I take a step in that direction is I'm going to get new information. And that new information may change the orientation of the goal, but it's probably directionally still correct. But then I love where you're going because Jeremy Walter pointed this out to me recently. And I believe it's probably from...I think he cited James Clear as the source. But to shift from goals to habits, which I love. And I also love... Yvon Chouinard used to talk about this a lot too, the founder of Patagonia. He used to talk a lot about profit. He would use, "Profit is what happens when you do everything else right."
So a goal around profit...yeah, okay, that may give us a sense of direction. But really we quickly want to get away from that. Or not get away. Just set it aside. Take our goal-setting hat off, and put on the process hat, which is pointing to the same thing, process, and habits, and daily actions. So I think the process, habit, daily action stuff is the stuff that actually matters. You can't just sit around and focus on your goal. You break it down into process, habit, and daily action stuff. Well, how do I come up with the process, habit, daily action? Well, I put my hat back on. This is what I would do with clients. I'd say, "Look, let's put those ugly hats. I've got them over in the corner. Here, they're ugly hats." The reason they're ugly...
Michael: Did you literally have an ugly hat?
Carl: I wanted so bad to do that. I wanted to get "No shame, no blame" hats. And I also wanted to get financial planning hats, and just be like, "Look, put on your long-term planning hat." So this is just metaphorical, but I still want to do it so bad. Maybe we need to start a Kitces and Carl merch store and have a "No shame, no blame" hat, and a financial planning hat.
Michael: As long as it's blue, I'm on board.
Carl: Yeah, we could go with blue, and as long as it's a Richardson 112. I get to pick the hat because I am a connoisseur. But the idea...
Michael: I literally didn't even know that's a type of hat, so I will run with you on that.
Carl: People who know...there will be people. My people will send us notes about...
Michael: I just feel like there's a lot of jargon. I've got 511...
Carl: Richardson 112.
Michael: ...mountain climbing Richardson hats.
Carl: Hey, Michael, it's okay. The people who know, know. But here's the point, put your long-term planning hat on, but kind of make it an ugly hat so you don't want to wear it around a lot. But it's still a very important hat. And we put it on to...I kind of think of stick your head up above the surface, look around. "Oh, yeah, that's right. We're going over there." And then get back down here to process habit, daily action. That's how I think about it. So it turns out, fine, I'm a big fan of goals. I just think they're abused.
Michael: So at the end of the day, your goals are a certain revenue target and more podcast conversations.
Carl: Yeah. And I've got daily habit and daily action stuff. And when I wake up in the morning, and I see somebody else's goals, I think, "I should do that." I can go back and go...I can put that ugly hat on and be like, "Oh, yeah, that's right. I don't really want to do that. I want to do this."
Michael: Do you literally have daily habits and activities that you're targeting?
Carl: Yeah. They are very specific, "I want to invite a specific number of people to," and these are scary invitations to me. And so I play the rejection game with them. I actually have a number of rejections that I want to get each week. And if I don't hit my rejection goal, I'm really bummed. So that's how I play that game. But specific number of invitations I'm extending to people to spend a day with me in Park City at a price that's not insignificant. So I think that my camera...for those of you who are... We'll have to see what happened. Carlito has problems again with his tech. Let's see why that's happening. Okay. Let's just keep talking.
Michael: All right.
Carl: So, yeah, I have specific things that I'm trying to make happen. And those are scary for me to do each day. And I keep track of them.
Michael: Yeah, for no goals, that was remarkably concrete goals and daily actions, activities.
Carl: I know. I feel a little like I just got tricked into... The reality is I'm a big fan of goals.
Michael: All right. Well, there you have it.
Carl: There you have it.
Michael: Thank you, Carl.
Carl: Cheers. Talk to you soon.