How to Achieve Success Without Goals

December 16, 2019
Terri Maxwell

How to Achieve Success Without Goals

What makes the chase for success even more challenging is when we go about it in the wrong way, and in some cases, for the wrong reasons. The result is feeling defeated. There is a better way to think about achieving success.
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Success is one of the most desired outcomes humans chase. Who doesn’t want to be more successful?

What makes the chase for success even more challenging is when we go about it in the wrong way, and in some cases, for the wrong reasons. The result is feeling defeated, and in many cases exhausted from the quest.

There is a better way to think about achieving success:

1.  Give up goals completely.

2.  Replace goals with purposeful vision.

3.  Replace plans with priorities.

4.  Trust the process. It’s always working.


First – Give Up Goals:

Archery Master Awa Kenzo taught his students that “It’s not whether or not one aimed, much less hit the goal, that determined success. He taught them to focus on how the task was approached to determine success. 

Said another way, Kenzo taught his students to take their focus off the end result and focus it on deliberate and consistent action.

His rationale for this guidance was simple: “The more goals we wish for in the future, the more pressure we place on ourselves. The pressure creates disappointment, and leads to failure.”

As a recovering obsessive-compulsive control freak, his wisdom rings true.

I’ve driven myself to exhaustion and talked myself into depression over the pursuit of goals. For what? To achieve success?

On the surface, yes, but mostly because I wanted to feel significant.

You see, most of us pursue goals to feel good enough, rather than to achieve a noble cause. Ironically, chasing goals rarely helps us feel good enough and often creates undue stress and fatigue, which translates into more negative self-talk.

Woman with a path in front of her.

Second – Replace Goals with Purposeful Vision:

When I woke one morning in the summer of 2009 with the purposeful vision for Share On Purpose, Inc., and Succeed On Purpose, I knew life would never be the same.

I had found my purpose, “to inspire potential,” and had prayed for a week to understand what to do with it, because we’re all obsessing over what to “do” with our lives.

The truth is…the path finds you. You don’t DO purpose. You BECOME your purpose. You follow it.

So, find your purpose and open up to the vision. Let the vision unfold, before taking action. Wait for weeks, even months if you have to, until the vision is clear. Not the goal, but the vision.


Third – Replace Plans with Priorities:

Although I run several companies in the Share On Purpose portfolio of brands, believe it or not, I rarely build plans. What do I do instead?

  • Twice a year, for each business, I build a 6-month roadmap which is a high-level set of priorities to focus on. I have a meeting with that company’s leaders each month to evaluate progress. The focus is not on the goals, or a detailed plan, but rather on priorities.
  • Each Sunday, I set one personal priority and one professional priority for the week. If I achieve each priority, it’s considered a successful week.
  • Each day, after my gratitude practice, I ask for guidance on a step I can take that day to focus on my weekly priorities and my broader vision. 

Since I started this practice, I get more done, work less, and enjoy life more.

Fourth – Trust the Process… It’s Always Working:

As a person with big dreams, it’s easy to let delays, mistakes and course corrections get me down. But if my life has taught me anything, it’s to have faith and trust the process. It’s always working.

Let’s test that theory. Think back to a major setback or disappointment. What happened after the setback? Did life send you in a new direction? And now that you’re on the other side, do you realize it was a better path?

Most of the time delays, mistakes and setbacks are just the course corrections we need in order to get to where we want to go.

We just have to trust the process and relax. It’s always working.

So, if you want 2020 to be your MOST successful year… stop worrying about results, stop obsessing over plans and give up control. Shift your focus to vision, priorities and follow inspiration and joy.

With the soulfulness of Wayne Dyer and the entrepreneurial spirit of Richard Branson, Terri is a world-class business growth expert, social impact investor, and serial entrepreneur whose purpose is to inspire potential. With her own money, Terri built a portfolio of purposeful companies, Share On Purpose, Inc., and now invests in and creates mission-driven start-ups.

In a career that spans more than 25 years, Terri has launched, owned, sold, rebranded or turned around more than 40 companies. She is known for her game-changing business models and personal transformation frameworks.

Everything she built came directly from a wellspring of perseverance and soulful resiliency, which she openly shares through her first purposeful brand, Succeed On Purpose.

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