in life

The Simplicity of End Goals

What we “think” we want and what we “truly” want are two very different things. 

We think we want a specific job. A big paycheck. A nice house with a garage. A retirement plan. That new iPad.

But really, its not about the big paycheck or the fancy crib – when you step back and put things into perspective – what we truly want is fulfillment. 

As Vishen Lakhiani shares in the video above – there’s a big difference between our means goals and our end goals. For example, if being fearless and corageous is an end goal, the means goal would be to do something specific that you’re afraid to do. Take the leap toward starting your business. Move to a new place. Commit to running a marathon, even if you’ve never run before.

My philosophy on work and life is very much the same as Vivek’s in that the big picture is what matters. The day to day grind of doing the work, figuring things out, facing obstacles, learning, and growing – it isn’t always glamarous, and it isn’t always ideal – but it’s all about taking a step back to look at the end goal. As long as you know what you’re trying to achieve, and why, you’re on the right track.

It’s so easy to confuse end goals and mean goals – I do it, and I see other people doing it every single day. This confusion creeps in because we focus so intently on the means goals, putting our blinders on to what really matters.

As Steve Pavlina puts it:

“Begin with the end in mind.”

Our end goals should motivate and drive everything we do. End goals define results that we’re unwilling to compromise. For me, an end goal is “freedom” – which can mean a lot of different things – but ultimately, it means I’m committed to creating a lifestyle that allows me options and choices. The choice to stay home and work in my PJs. The choice to work with the right clients. The choice to travel with my wife.

Choices. Options. Freedom. THAT is an (extremely) important end goal for me.

Steve Pavlina goes on to say:

“By having flexible end goals that connect with the manifestation and expression of your ultimate potential, it’s nearly impossible to fail except by choice.”

When we talk about setting ourselves up for success. When we talk about being “unstoppable” – we’re talking about aligning our actions and behaviors with the grand scheme of things. YOUR grand scheme of things.

End goals should be simple. Pure. Specific. Ambitious.

The means to the end may be complex, challenging, and at times seem nearly impossible. But if you keep in mind what you’re working toward, and why you’re doing it – you’ll never question whether or not you’re doing the right thing.

What are your END GOALS? What matters most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Add Your Voice



  1. My end game is: Location flexibility, complete control of my own time, unlimited earning potential, total creative freedom, feelings of passion/fulfillment everyday (or as often as possible!), make a real difference in my clients’ lives, spend everyday with my husband in whatever way we choose.

    Maybe it’s a pipe dream but darn it I’m going for it!

    Thanks, Matt!


    • SG – Wow! Perfect! Sounds like you have the clear vision I want.

      I am struggling with taking those first steps. I guess I’m afraid. Odd thing is I’ve never been afraid to go for it. I feel very trapped but my husband and I are not living we are existing. Our careers have the grind have taken over and I don’t like it. I want more!!

      I’ve given myself 1 1/2 years to completed business plan and set things into motion.


      • J, the first steps are the toughest, for sure. The living rather than existing is a very unfortunate epidemic in our country and you are not alone. I’m glad you recognized what you do and do not want in your life.

        A year and a half is a long time to wait on taking action on your dreams. I’d love to chat with you, I am a coach and strategist working with young women who want to leave their drudgery jobs and discover/pursue their life’s work. It can be really daunting and years can slip by if you aren’t deliberately taking action.

        Email me at and we can chat more about you and your goals. I’d love to help you in any way I can!

  2. A few end goals that shape my ‘mean’ goals: positive influence (truly making an impact), surrounded and invested in REAL community with others (through thick and thin), and being financially stable (not an excess of money as much as simply having options). 

    To put it simply: Influence. Community. Stability. I agree that having end goals in mind makes it easier to go through the grind of making hard (good) decisions that will eventually pay off. Asking ‘what & why’ rather than ‘how and when’ is what I have to continually remind myself as I try to accomplish goals and tasks in all areas of life. -Jordan 

  3. “The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person’s story is about, just ask them what they want”
     -Donald Miller (A million miles in a thousand years)

  4. Very important.  The second thing is to know when the steps to your goal are aligning.  You will almost have to deny seeing it in your face.  Work your plan and position yourself for success.  Give yourself the means to make it and you may be surprised.

  5. When I applied to business school a few years ago, my dream was to work in media and entertainment. I wanted to chose what went on the air.. There have been lots of wrong turns, setbacks, and things haven’t exactly gone according to plan. But today I chose, produce, and create what goes on the air and do it on my own show. 

    • Srinivas,

      That sounds like a really great way to work! Complete control. Did you end up going to business school or did you venture out on your own before that ever happened? 


  6. My end goals are: 

    freedom (time, money, location)
    good health 
    great relationships 
    positive contribution to other people’s lives
    personal growth (so i don’t get bored)

  7. What about having SMART goals? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bounded! That’s the goals but what you’re talking about for me is values or even vision sometimes. Isn’t the goal is created to be reached?