When Goals Do Not Work Out

Many times, goals do not work out and I believe it is okay as often things turn out even better than the original desired result or outcome. There are many goals that I had in my life that did not pan out, thankfully. If they had, I would not be where I am today.

There are other upsides to goals not working out and you can read that here in The Dirty Little Secret About Goals. Unrealized goals are not necessarily losses as long a we learn and grow during the process… and they are truly not losses if an unrealized goal, while in the middle of it, leads us to a more awesome and amazing goal with even greater results.

In case you are frustrated about when your goals do not work out, I want to list for you some of the major goals I had in my life that never came to fruition and the positives that came as a result.

  1. Korea. – After being stationed in Germany for two years I was supposed to go to Osan Air Base in South Korea in 1989. It was a huge goal of mine and I was sure it was a done deal as it was finagled through Electronic Security Command, which was who I worked for. Imagine my shock when I received my orders and they said Colorado instead. I think that worked out rather well.
  2. Seattle. – After getting out of the Air Force in 1990, it was my number one goal to get a job with a tech firm (any tech firm) in Seattle, Washington. When I moved from Colorado Springs to Aspen, I found in a box a file folder at least two inches thick with rejection letters from that period. Instead of going to Seattle, I got my dream job with Martin Marietta Astronautics in 1992 that in the end was a better goal and worked out for the best.
  3. Sweetwood Information Systems. – Sweetwood was the first company that I ever started and that was in 1997. For many reasons it did not get off the ground. I had some work consulting but I never had the courage to pull the trigger and go for it 100%. I learned a lot about being an entrepreneur during that time and it was those lessons that carried with me and have used when I started Tri-Peaks Life Coaching. Definitely, a goal that fell short but the knowledge and experience greatly outweighed the shortfall.
  4. Career advancement in MCI/EDS/Verizon. – I really wanted to work up to being a Senior Manager or above, especially in the early days. Thankfully, that never happened, as I would have probably been laid-off a lot sooner in my career. After awhile, when I was re-positioned from being a manger to being an individual contributor – that worked out better too as I saw the headaches the “new management” had to deal with and I also saw that it was not worth it.
  5. Leadville Trail 100 Run 2009. – This run resulted in a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me and it was my first attempt at running that distance. DNF’ing was a crushing experience but again, the lessons and experience of it all has made me a much stronger ultrarunner in the end. It was a lesson, not a loss.
  6. Buying a new house in 2013. – In early 2013, Melissa and I were seriously shopping for a new house in Colorado Springs and though we saw many nice houses, there was nothing that we really liked or anything that we believed was a good fit. When the option of Aspen came to us summer of 2013 we probably would not have taken it or had been able to take it if we had just bought a new home. Instead, we now live in the most awesome little apartment in Aspen.

Looking back, I can tell you that there are probably 1000’s of goals and aspirations in my life that did work out and worked out wonderfully. And at the same time I can tell you there were also some that didn’t work out either and turned out just as wonderful. The examples above are only a few of the major ones that I can think of but I believe they represent and depict the good that can happen when goals do not work out.

What about you? What goals in your life did not work out but in the end worked out for the better?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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