Just “do the right thing.” It seems a cliché to say that these days. What is the right thing anyway? How do you go about doing the right thing? Because my work focuses on helping people with goal setting—especially setting bold, audacious goals—in the workplace and in one’s personal life, I will share with you 3 ways to focus on doing the right thing within that context.
1. Pursue Inner Peace
Although I would never recommend that you always trust feelings over logic, I ask you to think of situations where you felt totally at ease and peace with both yourself and those around you. How did you feel internally? When you do the right thing, that sense of inner peace follows and you’ll know you’re doing the right thing.
2. Fight the Resistance
This might seem to contradict what I just said about inner peace, but doing the right thing can cause anxiety at the beginning, if it’s something that takes you out of your comfort zone. The emotional part of our brains will fight and fight to keep us in our comfort zones and recoil when we try to take risks to do the right thing. Sometimes you have to push yourself as you do the right thing. But the end result will be peace if what you pursue is in alignment with your values.
3. Seek Consistency
When you learn a new idea or tip and eagerly set out to integrate it into your life, pause for a moment. If, for example, you’re a manager and you’re trying to become a better manager, would the new teaching you just learned about how to motivate your team also be applicable in your personal life? Would it work if you treated people in the your personal life in that same way? If not, you should think twice, as it might not be the right thing to do.
It’s too easy for a split to occur in our professional and personal lives. At work we might be overly-focused on efficiency and accomplishing short-term goals no matter what the cost. At home, this might not be so acceptable. I recommend that you not compartmentalize your life.
When you set that audacious goal, as I encourage you to do, make sure it’s the right thing by visualizing how it would impact ALL the areas of your life. Losing 50 pounds in 3 months would be audacious and while it may improve your health, would it throw your family life into chaos if you radically started cooking differently and spending inordinate amounts of time at the gym? As you set your goal, keep such things in mind, and you’ll be assured you’re doing the right thing.
When you pursue your audacious goal—or any goal—it should be with the intent that it will ultimately help you become a better person. Sure, losing 50 pounds, motivating your team to earn bigger profits, or climbing a mountain when it seems impossible (as I did) are all wonderful things in and of themselves. But your goal should make you a better person in the process. Then there will be absolutely no doubt you did the right thing.