To Consider: Are Goals Good or Bad?

Is Sacrificing to Reach Goals Really Helpful?

Like most people, I have often been encouraged to set goals – five year goals, 10 year goals, hard goals, easy goals. These goals all seem to have one thing in common: a notch on the “American Success” totem pole. And that was stressing me out.

It takes a lot of mental energy to focus every day on an outlandish goal… not to mention the effort it took to even craft it. “Is it doable?” “Is it realistic?” “Is it manageable?” “What will I have to sacrifice?” It’s just too much. It seems American success is measured by how much money, how much sex, and how much fame. Keeping up with the American standard of success is tough. That’s why I quit worrying about it and lead my company to do the same.

Skillful Antics’ View Of Success

Here are a few practical goals that we focus on that not only allow us to have a lower stress and high creativity, but also help us stay true to our claim: “we’re not in it for the money.”

  1. Focus On Relationships. A potential client meeting typically involves me spending the first 15 minutes asking everything about the individual: education, family life, hobbies, etc. This is a goal that we can accomplish as a team, and the relationships we build with clients is one of the best rewards we could ask for.
  2. Focus On Quality Work. When we focus on relationships first and develop a friendship, we naturally try to work harder to deliver better work for our friends. If I thought of clients as a dollar sign and I sold them an hour of my time, I would tend to stop working when those 60 minutes were up. But if I thought of that client as a friend, who cares about an extra 10 or 15 minutes? I want to make sure a quality product is delivered.
  3. Don’t Set Long Term Goals. A mentor once asked me about my 5 and 10 year plan for success, and I told him I don’t think I have one. I have an immediate plan. Work hard and focus on family and relationships*, but not so much some extravagant American 10-year plan. Living in the here and now allows me to have freedom, creativity, and spontaneity, which is what you want from a creative agency. We have the freedom to experiment, fresh and creative momentum, and the ability to adapt to unforeseen change.

In the business world, I understand this contradicts most advice out there. Fortunately, measuring up to the American view of a success isn’t my priority. Don’t get me wrong; operating an income-generating company should be a goal for every business owner, and it’s certainly a goal we have. But I have found when running a company the way Skillful Antics is run, generating success is a natural consequence, not something that has to be forced, rigorously planned, and stressed over.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and start a discussion.


Read the overview article, the switch: Freelance to Full Time.

Ben Homan is the founder of Skillful Antics: an honest web design, online marketing, and multimedia company. Interested in having us by your side? Let’s work together: 407-545-4649 or [email protected]

*Genesis 2’s view of a “successful man”

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