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The Ups & Downs of Going With The Flow & Goal Setting

Are you a planner? You know... goals, focus, detail.

Or are you more of a go with the flow person; you like to just see what happens and react accordingly?

I've tried both, initially both make me feel great but ultimately neither work for me.

(Stay with me I'll explain the relevance of the carrots...).

Focusing on a goal or on the details tends to drain me of any inspiration and my work starts to feel like an uphill struggle. I get tired quickly.

Going with the flow, taking action on what is put in front of me, definitely takes the stress out of my work short-term, but I don't tend to get that sense of achievement that makes me feel good and often end up feeling I could have done a better job if I'd been more prepared.

What I have found is that both have their place. The key is not to be fixed on one way of doing something but rather to use what's appropriate depending on what you are trying to achieve.

The Upsides

Going with the flow works really well for grabbing opportunities as they arise, for having a sense of Divine guidance, for experiencing surprise and delight. It can also feel less stressful (if you're happy not to be in control of your life).

Having goals works really well for giving you focus, something specific and tangible to work towards, and when you achieve the goals you can get a real sense of personal pleasure and satisfaction (provided you take the time to acknowledge the success).

The Downsides

I've found I achieve less overall when I just go with the flow, or perhaps it would be better to say I feel I achieve less or, what I do achieve feels less meaningful to me, because if I just flow without a plan, without an idea of what I'm trying to achieve, I end up doing a bit of this and a bit of that, and not really creating anything comprehensive nor meeting any real needs I have.

When I go with the flow, taking action based on the things, people or opportunities that come to me I can get lost in just flowing for the sake of it, like a rudderless boat on a river. I also find that great opportunities do come to me but I'm often poorly prepared, busy with something else or just not in the head space to take full advantage of them.

Operating based on goals alone also doesn't work for me because I find they can be too limiting, lack the flexibility necessary to grab good opportunities when they arise, and I find that when I'm goal driven alone then the goals tend to mean less for me as I grow and evolve over the year(s), in which case I become less incentivised to make them happen; and once I do achieve them they often don't mean as much as so I don't celebrate them or get the satisfaction I should from them... after all by then I'm excited by something else.

What Works Better For Me...

Imagine wandering around the woods because it just felt like the right thing to do at that moment, finding some amazing wild carrots, tastier than you've ever had before. You see them, you dig them up. Perhaps you'll wash them. Then you eat them. They are fabulous and delightful.

But what about if you'd thought about them a bit, made a plan, set them aside while you looked for a few more ingredients to enhance them, you could actually have turned them into a sumptuous meal that delighted not only you but those around you too.

See? Going with your inner flow is good, it leads you to some amazing things you'd not thought about, but this world is about balance. This world is a real world where we need to bring our ideas to life, to create from our imagination things that are real, tangible and useful. Our flow brings us to the new ideas and unexpected opportunities, it enhances our imagination and gets us to think and dream bigger, it leads us to what truly satisfies and inspires us, but ultimately we still need to create a container, a plan, some specific tangible goals, to turn our delightful discoveries (the inspiration, imagination and opportunities) into something real, tangible and useful in this world not just for you but also for those around you.

Action You Can Take

  • Let your flow inform your vision, your bigger picture. Let it bring you inspiration.

  • Then choose what you want to focus on and make a loose plan that you break down into short-term, specific goals.

  • Leave space in those goals to grab opportunities that are aligned with your overall vision as they come along.

  • Reassess your plan every few months to see if it is still aligned with your flow...

Let your flow lead. Make your goals serve your flow.


I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share the personal a-ha's this article has raised for you, and what you are going to do differently as a result, in the comments below.


Want to know more?

Here are some related articles

Also, there are a number of live video recordings on the Hands-on-Business Facebook page where I go into greater detail about different aspects of your life purpose, showing up, your business and what is in your hands and fingerprints.


I'm Helen Elizabeth Evans, a London based life purpose coach and consultant. I work with women in business (and open-minded men!) to powerfully awaken their life purpose work, using a unique combination of scientific hand and fingerprint analysis, deep intuitive skills and practical business acumen running my own businesses for the last 21 years.

I'd love to start a conversation about whether we're a good fit to work together. Simply use this link to arrange an informal chat. There's no hard sell. Just a warm, down-to-earth conversation and a straight forward, honest assessment of whether working with me would be right for you.


I have been running my own businesses from a home office since 1996 and am passionate about business being the vehicle for our freedom. I am also deeply passionate about us each having a purpose on this planet and it's my job to help you find and live yours. I am known as the UK's No.1 Scientific Hand & Fingerprint Analyst as I introduced the system to the UK in 2010. It is the most accurate profiling tool I have encountered. I also have a masters in NLP and have studied astrology and psychology for years - getting your mind to work for you rather than against you!

My clients tell me I am a powerful kick-starter for their purpose, helping them clarify their focus and create an inspired vision aligned with their purpose. They describe me as a highly intuitive, deeply powerful, passionate, authentic and an extremely practical truth teller who makes them laugh, feel safe and free to be their true selves. I help them discover who they really are, find their true purpose, give them a spiritual blueprint for their life expression and help them create a business that is based on their life purpose, so that they can live happy, fulfilled lives without feeling like its all a struggle or just hum drum.


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