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4 Questions to Ask to Yourself to Create Powerful Goals

Feb 23, 2024

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, or hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”

                                                                                             - Albert Einstein


There is a classic story of Beatles legend, John Lennon as a young school-boy.  His teacher had assigned the class an assignment to answer the simple question,


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”


As expected, as his classmates shared their answers, typical careers emerged from the imaginations of young primary schoolers of that time, policeman, nurse, teacher, fireman, etc.


It then came time for young John to share, and the teacher asked, “John, what do you want to be when you grow up?”


Without hesitation, he promptly answered,




Legend has it that his teacher was not amused with his answer, even threatening punishment, unless he changed his response.  He declined.  Perhaps this was the beginning of his challenging the status quo that would make him a genius singer, song writer and international superstar.


Regardless, there is great wisdom in his answer. 


In their book, From Me to We, brothers Marc & Craig Kielburger, share their distinction, which supports Lennon’s response to his elementary school teacher, as the difference between  creating Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Goals.


Specifically, Extrinsic Goals are those we strive to achieve outside ourselves like career status, financial achievements and personal possessions.  


Intrinsic Goals are those we create inside ourselves like love, peace, acceptance, a connection with our Higher Power (whatever that is for you) and a commitment to the service of others.




Neither is good nor bad or better than the other.  However, the Kielbergers propose that if we are really clear and committed to our Intrinsic Goals, then the Extrinsic Goals will manifest naturally and in more expansive ways than we ever thought possible.


This got me really thinking about the goals and intentions I have set for myself in 2024 and beyond and what is really important for me. 


While it is a standard practice in our Western society to be focused on success in the material world (and this has served me and so many others in our society and history well) is there a more nuanced way we could be looking at things to achieve the outer goals we desire, which begins with what we want to experience inside of ourselves?


If you are wondering this yourself, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions to gain clarity on your inner or Intrinsic Goals.

1) What do I want to feel? – Let’s be honest, any type of goal we have set for ourselves be it in our career, social status, financial, health and wellness, relational and even spiritual, at its root, is really present because of how we expect accomplishing these things will make us feel.


What if we got clear first about answering this question...how do I create feelings such as being confident, satisfied, loved, generous and yes, Mr. Lennon, happy inside of myself?  When we focus on experiencing these ways of feeling, not because of our accomplishments, but as a means of attracting them to us, we are not only more fulfilled, but actually increase their chances of coming to us.


2) Who do I want to be? - Two of my most influential teachers in my life, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, of the University of Santa Monica, often shared,


“Outer experience is an expression of inner reality.”


With this being the case, it is our responsibility to be mindful of our inner state and do what we can to maintain positive and high frequency of energy to attract what we desire. 


While we may not be able to always control what is going on around us, we can always in control of how we respond to what is occurring.  Being conscious and intentional about our way of being is the critical step in bringing this forth. 


Do you want to be loving, courageous, confident, trusting, peaceful, joyous, strong, vulnerable or prosperous (these happen to be the ways of being I focus on each day in my prayer and meditation) or something else?  The specific qualities do not really matter.  What does matter is your commitment and action in maintaining your inner state.


3) How do I want to serve? – It is my experience that the greatest way to impact my inner state and thereby positively impact my Intrinsic AND Extrinsic Goals, is to be of service. For me, there is nothing more magical than sharing my own talents or helping someone else to develop and share their own personal gifts that make a positive impact on others. 


In this blog, I have often shared my hypothesis that if each one of us was clear about what are gifts were and shared them in the world to serve others, many, if not all of our societal problems would vanish.  Why, because people would feel so good about expressing themselves in this way, they would want nothing more than to assist others in doing the same.


How do you want to serve?


4) Why is it important to me? – I believe, getting clear about our “why” is the driving force for us to achieve any breakthrough results, both internally and externally. It has often been said, when you get clear about your “why”, then the “how’s” will usually take care of themselves. 


While having a clear plan of action is important, when we just focus on the “how’s” we can get bogged down by placing all of our focus on the externals.  Just knowing how is not enough, or as author Brian Klemmer states in his book by the same name,


“If how-to’s were enough, we would all be skinny, rich and happy.”


When we are clear about our why, it opens up our minds to possibilities and provides us with an injection of energy, clarity and confidence.  This is particularly important when obstacles arise on our road to achieving our desires.


So, there you have it, my friends.  Four questions to ponder in gaining clarity on what you want to achieve intrinsically so you also achieve what you desire extrinsically.


And, if in the remote chance that you don’t achieve your outer goals, at least you will be happy.


Just ask John Lennon.


Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching


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