At times, my tendency to be impulsive has brought me exciting surprises. I have stumbled across great restaurants or roadside wonders that I couldn't have planned to find. I just turned a corner, continued down the road and was rewarded with a gem of an experience. Sometimes the opposite has happened, resulting in wasted time or a totally, useless purchase ending up in my closet or garage. When I look at those misbegotten objects, I shake my head and wonder what I must have been thinking when I decided to grab that dust collector. No plan or goal, just an illogical decision, the list would be embarrassing if I ever wrote it out and shared with people.
But when I know what I want, why I want it and intentionally look for that perfect fit it can result in a sense of satisfaction that is just as exciting as the positive surprises my spur of the moment provides. One of those “wins” happened as I began looking for a new dining table for our house in Vermont. The table that came with the house was nice, and after having it refinished, I liked it even more. There was one problem though” the house sleeps 8-10 guests and the table only seated 6 comfortably. I know some of our guests did not like assigning some of their party to sit with plates on their laps away from the group gathered at the table. I had to find a new table to remedy that situation. I began my search where I find myself looking for most things these days: Facebook Marketplace.
Having my established my criteria first I looked daily for the perfect solution. Solidly built, leaves that could extend the table, appropriate quality for a ski lodge and close to our home in West Chester. The filter was tight, and many tables failed the test, but I kept looking for just the right find. After about a week of consistently viewing posts my table showed up. My decision to not just replace the old table with anything that might be better paid off. Patty and I picked up a solid maple table with two end leaves that add the needed seats at the table. No more assigning kids to dining before the adults, no one will be spilling their meal because their lap shifted, and no Ikea disposable product that will not stand up to a crowd. My disciplined search paid off and cannot wait to enjoy dinner after a vigorous ski day with my entire family there together.
While this story might seem like it is about t the end-all-be-all of tables, it is really about and important lesson of goal chasing. In this instance knowing exactly what I wanted the final solution to be, I was able to remove possibilities that could have worked if I didn't have a clear goal and result in mind.
Apply this simple exercise to more areas of your life. Don't only identify your goals and dreams, but share them with others so they can help you achieve them. There are a few sayings "build your bench" or "have others selling for you so you are always selling" that apply here too. Maybe a table would have appeared faster if more people knew of the goal, or maybe not. We can't predict the future, but we can help shape it if we tell others what we want.