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Too obsessed with personal goals?

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Achieving goals is one thing. Being obsessed with them is another, says executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.

“I see too many older people wrecking their health in pursuit of their next achievement. I see too many younger people who are missing their youth, then postponing their love life, then not having children—all in service of their career,” he says.

There is nothing wrong with hard work, as long as the price you pay for achieving goals is worth it.

Goldsmith points to Col. Nicholson in “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” who becomes so obsessed with his goal (building a great bridge) that he completely forgets his mission (winning the war). At the end of the story, he realizes he has built a fantastic bridge to support the wrong army and exclaims, “What have I done?”

Avoid Nicholson’s fate by asking yourself these questions:
  1. What are the most important values in my life? Are they reflected in the way I spend my time?

  2. What is my mission as a human being? Has my focus on goals overlooked that mission?
—Adapted from “Are You Too Obsessed with Your Goals?” Marshall Goldsmith,

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