Home        Media      Contact    Blog   

 About Dr. Gaillour     Executive Coaching    Speaking       Online Learning CME 

    Free "Daring Doctors" Newsletter        Free Articles               Testimonials         

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE Daring Doctors



What Is Your Highest Goal? 

by Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA  

The first conversation I have with someone who comes to me in search of guidance or clarity of direction about their career eventually leads to this question:  

"What is that special gift you were meant to share with the world?"

You'd think this question would stump most, but in reality we have some strong clues about our "life path", our "special gifts" and our "highest calling."  

One person states laughingly they want to reach hundreds of people by writing a best-seller; another relates she remembers her "peak experience" was writing poetry in college.  Another envisions himself building the world's most renown clinical center in his field. 

Herein lie two inherent challenges: 1) uncovering our "inner knowing" of what our individual greatness actually is, and 2) getting back on or staying on that path.

There are several methods and resources I use when working with clients to address both of these challenges.  One book I find very useful is:  The Highest Goal: The Secret That Sustains You in Every Moment, by Michael Ray.  For over 25 years, Ray taught a class on Creativity in Business to Stanford MBA students.  As part of the class he used an unconventional (non-left-brain) approach to finding your professional path. Fans of Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, may be interested to know that Michael Ray was Jim Collins' "guru" when Collins was himself a student at Stanford.

A Defining Experience of Highest Goal 

Michael Ray's perspective is that we all experience a "defining moment" of our highest goal usually around adolescence.  What we experience is a feeling or knowing that "we are great, that we have a connection with everything, that we have potential."  Almost all of us can remember that moment, usually with a little help from a coach or counselor, or a good friend.  The trick is to hold on to this highest goal once we recall it because the experience that created it holds the secret to personal and professional fulfillment.

Obstacles to Following our Highest Goal

Why do we lose sight of that moment where we felt in flow, full of personal power and possibility?  Ray suggests there are two obstacles that get in our way of living our life in tune with our highest goal:

Obstacle 1: We Sub-optimize

According to Ray: "We may have an experience of the highest goal in our lives, but we quickly pull back to the lesser goals that society calls success.  We often get frozen in our accomplishments, which may be great, but not the highest or optimal that we can attain."

Obstacle 2: We Give in to the Cruel Grip of Socialization and Comparison

According to Ray, the second obstacle is a result of the bombardment from media, schools, parents, and friends, all of which "tell us to chase a successful life that will be admired by others." "That influence invades our dreams and our deepest thoughts.  It holds us with a cruel grip.  We buy into the game that society convinces us we should be playing, even if it draws us away from who we are at the core.  We consistently compare ourselves with others.  We lose the power that comes from doing what is right for us." 

For Michael Ray, you can map out two life paths that predictably diverge from the get-go as soon you let these obstacles cloud your memory of and attention to your highest goal.  

Two Alternative Life Paths

Do what you don't like, but should Do what you love and find meaningful
Get experience doing this Get experience doing what you love
Become great at doing what you dislike Become extra good at doing what you love
Gain opportunity to do more Gain more opportunity to do what you love
Live life empty of meaning Live life full of purpose and meaning

Eastern tradition often refers to the concept of "dharma" which is like "life purpose." A quote from that teaching summarizes Ray's philosophy:  

"Better one's own dharma, however imperfect, than the dharma of another perfectly performed."

If you want to do some pondering about your Highest Goal, I highly recommend Michael Ray's The Highest Goal: The Secret That Sustains You in Every Moment. And if you're interested in having a coach walk you through an exercise to explore your memory  of Highest Goal, contact us to arrange a complimentary coaching session.

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, President of The Gaillour Group, and Director of Creative Strategies in Physician Leadership, is an Executive and Business Coach who helps her clients discover express their full potential. She can be reached at francine@physicianleadership.com  or at (206) 686-4205 .  

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
15600 NE 8th Street, Suite B1-173
Bellevue, WA  98008
(206) 686-4205

Francine R. Gaillour, MD   2006 Ki Health, Inc.