Are your goals making you miserable?

Are your Goals making you miserable? Mine were! 

Tune in to Lead With Who You Are, where I’ll share my personal journey of rediscovering fulfillment by shifting from achievement-oriented goals, to prioritizing mastery and adventure. Get realigned, and authentically create meaningful  goals that resonate with your true self. 

Join the conversation and reshape your perspective on success!

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Super unscripted.

In this episode of Lead With Who You Are, Dia Bondi reflects on her experience of transitioning from business-focused achievement goals to rediscovering her path of fulfillment through authentic goal alignment. She discusses the impact of various goal types, highlighting how prioritizing mastery and experiential adventures can transform your perspective on success. 

Dia shares insights from a conversation with a book marketer that led her to question the alignment of her goals and explore different approaches. Discover the power of mastery-driven learning and the significance of crafting experiential goals that reflect your true self. 

Join Dia as she navigates the journey of shifting goals and embracing a life filled with adventure and deeply connected experiences.

Check out all things Dia Bondi here.

Dia Bondi  00:19

Hi, everyone, this is Dia Bondi and welcome to Lead With Who You Are, on this show we are exploring and discovering, and I'm doing it right along with you what it means to really lead with who you are. We do it with guests. And right now in this sort of season in my own life and leadership and work, we're doing it a lot with just me. And so today is going to be a solo episode. Next episode, we'll have a guest. But today, it's just you and me now, why do we call this show lead with who you are, because the world is going to pressure you to do it. Whatever the it is, the way you lead the way you run your business, the way you approach your clients, the way you think through problems, the way you express yourself, the world is going to pressure you to do it in a different weigh in a boxed in templatized, the way you should quote unquote, do it. And it will beg you to be different than who you are to change to transform and not in the good way over and over again. And in the 20 years, I've been doing my leadership communications work, I've seen that you are at your most powerful when you lead with who you are. Of course, you're going to find techniques, you're going to find frameworks, I love a good framework, you're going to find methodologies and approaches that you can use. But the key is where they really light up for you is when you make them your own and integrate with them in a way that is truly you and truly yours, to bend them to your will instead of it bending you to its will, I see that you are your most powerful when you lead with who you are over and over again. And so on this show, we dig in on how to do that, whatever the that is for you, to prepare for board meetings to get ready for standing in front of an audience that matters to you to do the things I've mentioned before to run the kinds of marketing campaigns in your small business that makes sense to you that are aligned to who you are and the way you want to connect with customers to to write in a voice that is truly yours even the way it's even though it may be not the way you're supposed to do it. But to champion what it means to lead with who you are means doing just that committing to leading with who you are. And I am doing it, too in all my professional pursuits, and all my personal pursuits and my parenting. And that was just almost an alliteration right there. professional, personal and parenting. It is a struggle to listen to myself and say dia, how how do we how do I do this in a way that is aligned with my own values, the core principles in my world, the way in which I want to show up the way in which that lights me up and delights me. And that lights up people around me and delights them at the right moment for the right reason at the right time and in the right context. So we're going to answer questions, you know, all around what it means to lead with you who you are with a variety of folks. And today I want to talk to you a little bit about one thing that I know right now is a struggle for me. And I'm grappling with it very intentionally, in a way that I hope will help me lead a life that is aligned to who I am I said earlier, professionally, personally and in my parenting, but it can even go you know how it penetrates the way in which I walk the world when nobody is around. So that is around what kinds of goals I'm putting at the center of my table. So this this episode I'm calling are your goals making you miserable? Because mine cerrar let's get into it.  Hey, just a quick reminder, you can subscribe to this show on your podcast platform of choice. We're live nearly everywhere and you can always listen to the show at If there's a leader or innovator in your life, who is it their shiniest when they lead with who they truly are, Please share the show with them and rate, subscribe and leave us a review makes a huge difference in the reach that the show has when you let everyone else know what you will love about the show. Thanks so much.  You can ask for more and get it if you ask like an auctioneer, the book Ask Like An Auctioneer, how to ask for more and get it is coming soon. So go to And get on the list for pre orders. Now, in the book, you'll learn the power of asking big, the one idea that holds us back from asking for more and getting it and the nine ideas I learned from the auctioneering stage that you can use as strategies to help you step into every ask with courage, and conviction, get on the pre order list now. For preorder bonuses, again, go to  Now, in our last episode, I said I was going to do a few things. One is I wasn't going to fully script out all of my episodes is the second one that I've done. Without that, I'm sure it's going to be terrible. Thank you for sticking with me as I practice, and figure out the way in which the format that brings me most to life. And that is something that is resonant for you. And so we're going unscripted today, so bear with me, thanks so much for your patience, your forgiveness and your interest and seeing how this goes. So my goals lately have been making me pretty miserable. You know, in my, in my life and in my the trajectory of my career, I really was always driven by two very important things to me. One is the pursuit of deeply connected experiences, and to the pursuit of adventure. And adventures, by the way, don't need to look like zip lines and sailing around the world, they can be quiet adventures, they can be being part of important conversations that change the trajectory of a project. It can be actually traveling around the world, but not in a fancy Instagrammable way. But the way in which that lets me sort of sleuth the lives and realities of people from, from different perspectives, it's been an opportunity to have an adventure, and an exploration of who I am and how I rise to an occasion or don't. So I can understand who I am in a very, I don't know, spelunk kind of way. And deeply connected to experiences isn't just about intimacy, it's about having the kinds of experiences that make me feel connected to myself and the people that I'm collaborating with whether I'm facilitating a workshop, working on a one on one context, or jumping in with peers to create something together, those two things are so deeply motivating for me, and they always have and they've been more important to me than almost anything else. I remember very early days in my career, like super early everybody. I mean, I was, I think I was 25 I was just starting, my husband and I had just bought our first house and couldn't even afford it. We weren't even married yet. I think we've been married 23 years now, but we weren't married yet. And I remember getting into the world of leadership communications in the way that I did, which was not to go in house somewhere. But to operate as a 1099 and independent contractor to somebody who ended up sort of, I was his apprentice for a long time. And it was a perfect balance because it gave me incredible freedom to opt in and out of engagements with his clients without having without having a hierarchy that was difficult for me to operate. And because I was a 1099 I learned to develop to deliver his IP for him in workshops and in, in particular around particular projects. And I got the freedom to say yes or no to whatever whatever projects came down the pike it was so wonderful for me a great balance. But it was hard for the folks around me the adults in the room to sort of swallow I remember talking one time to one of my to my my bookkeeper in those days. And she saw what kind of money I would be making doing this work. And she literally said to me, like, what are you stupid? And it was a moment where I had to choose to lead with who I was, who I am the person in that moment that said, No, I'm not stupid, and I'm not crazy. I love this work and I'm going to pursue it. I couldn't articulate then why but it was because it had two very critical ingredients, connected experiences and adventure. And I doubled down and committed and ended up in the career that I have today which I love and tend to like it as a very special person in my own life. For me over the years these two motives have been really drivers have been really critical and have been the reason why I've landed into some of the most exclusive. And I say that not to be not to make something sound exclusive, but exclusive meaning small, very unique and niche contexts that have let me do the work that I do in these places that are hard to find kind of obscure, and that are, that are so unique, that they're almost once once in a lifetime experiences talk about adventure. And they were chock full of connectedness. This has always been a strong driver for me, Well, fast forward 25 years, I go on sabbatical, because I was experiencing some burnout, and wanting to sort of re fall in love with my own life and work. And when I did that, I realized no, I don't want to go away from the work that I do. But I do want to actually build something out of it, which was new for me, I always wanted to be a single secret weapon. I didn't take what I learned out in those experiences and build any significant shareable frameworks out of them. I didn't build a brand around it, the only way you'd know about me is through word of mouth, I was part of a whisper network. And that was fine. Again, I could it was light, I could hold it lightly, I could jump in. And I could jump out whenever I like, whenever I liked. All of my clients were fantastic, because they came from word of mouth. So I had a high quality book of clients, bringing extremely unique and very exclusive projects to me, I got to say yes to them, go do them, and then bounce out. It was so wonderful. But I knew after these after my sabbatical that I wanted to take all of what I've learned and actually build something out of it. See if I could extend my reach my impact, whether I could take the things, the insights that I've gotten from those 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of hours of coaching, and workshop experiences and turn them into something I could share with a greater batch of folks with you. And in that, I took on goals that felt like business goals. And they lacked two really important characteristics, deeply connected, and adventurous. Now, they were goals that are and still are goals that are important. But they were much more I realized just things I needed to learn, and outcomes I wanted to create. I had elevated them though, to the status of a goal and they were the wrong kind of goal. And I could feel that really deeply in my body, in my bones in my spirit, in my level of energy that I've had around the work that I know I love to do. Over the last couple of months. Very specifically, since the day I closed my laptop at the end of writing the first draft of my manuscript, asked like an auctioneer, which will now be published coming up in November, if you're listening to this, after that it should be out in the world for you to check out. I remember having a feeling when I close my laptop that Oh no. This part is over. It had such a connectedness about doing the writing even though you weren't there with me. I sat on the couches and the chaise lounges and the tables and the and the and the beds of the writing retreats that I booked for myself and went up the coast and sat on all of those pieces of furniture and cranked out word after word after word feeling like I was almost sitting right next to you. Although you were nowhere to be found. I felt connected to you, my reader, my listener as I produce those 60,000 words. And it was an adventure because I get to see what came out every time I sat down to write I thought I wonder what my body what my brain what my heart will produce today. Which way is this going to go? What stories am I going to remember? How am I going to tell them it felt like not something I was doing, but something that I was sort of summoning and that was an adventure the months after I closed my laptop and turned that project into now an editing project which is just a tactical task. And that's fine. I want to do it because it's worth the work. The rest of my attention in my business felt like it was just moving toward the sort of hardened business goals that again, I realized now should have been seen as outcomes but not the goal itself. These new goals that I had taken on in the in my business the way I talked about them the way I described them the way that I sort of loud them as important. Were actually making me miserable. So today I want to talk about the three types of goals that I've seen folks. Talk through Um, when they talk about their goals, there's sort of three categories, you can place them. And I may have done an episode on this in the past, and share with you which one was making me miserable. Which one, I feel so differently now that I'm putting that in the center of the table, and challenge you to think about how do you think about your own goals for yourself and do one of these three goal types feel like a better fit for you than the one you're maybe holding on to right now. So the first goal type are what I call recognition, goals. Goals that are recognizable when you achieve them to the rest of the world. Making a Forbes list a certain title, in your job description, a certain income level, a status in at work a metal, you've achieved a trophy, you can hold a prize, you've won these things that let you hold them up and say, Ah, look, I have achieved something. And I have the thing that gives me the recognition around it. Absolutely legitimate and very important goal type for some of us, but not for me. It looks like I am because I'm fairly competitive, I'm kind of energetic, I've got to go get him kind of attitude. My friends tease me a lot that I always am worried I'm not doing anything. When they look at me, they say do you do so much. But actually the recognition goal, the ability to say I hit this kind of revenue in my business, or I have that kind of client is sort of not that juicy for me. And I had put that type of goal in the center of my table. And I had said, Okay, I've already done so much coaching, I'm a strong facilitator, I know how to write curriculum, like, I can't not that I can't get better at my job. But the next thing to do is to take all that and build a business around well, if I'm going to build a business around it, I guess I need to have some business sounding goals that are breakable, I could I could say I achieved something important because I, I reached a recognizable goal. But that just diminished everything I was doing into a simple to do list. And it was sucking my energy dry. This was really apparent to me. A couple of months ago, I was on the on a call with a book marketer, because check this out, this is a real thing. I was on on the on a call with a book marketer. Book Marketing is a thing because I'm about to publish a book, I need to have a marketing plan. And one thing you can do is something called the best seller campaign. And quite literally the conversation went like this. If you give me X 1000s of dollars, I can make you a best seller. If you've been dreaming dia since you were a little girl of being a best seller, I can give you that dream for a low low price of was not such a low price. And in that moment, I was like, thank you. But no thank you that actually, I don't care. Now, of course, would it be nice to get a bestseller status? Absolutely. Because it'd be good for the business. You know, it would be a recognition in the world that I could say, That's very nice, thank you so much. But it's not a massive driver for me. It doesn't have the juice that it might have for you, or your cousin or your colleague or your best friend. For me, the juice is in doing the actual work was in the process of writing the book. Why? Because it was deeply connected and felt like an adventurer, writing a check and getting a badge for bestseller status has zero life juice for me. And again, even if I reach a status of a bestseller in whatever category and I didn't have to write a check to it. It'll be nice. But it was not the thing that gets me up in the morning is not the thing I dream about. It's not the thing that I twist my life into a certain position to enable and make possible. So I realized, oh dia, this is a clue for you right now. Things feel energetically low things feel hard things will unfun things feel heavy, things feel miserable. Because the things that you the goal type you put in the center of the table because you never had before and thought maybe I'll try it on are not the right goal type for you. Recognition goals are important if they're important to you. So let's talk about the next goal category which ends up being one of the other two that are really, really important to me. And the next one is experiential goals. Experiential goals are so important they touch on my adventure motive, my adventure drive. These types of goals are ones that are about having a particular experience It's day in and day out, how do we want to spend our time, and maybe it's a day in or day out, but maybe it's not maybe it's once a quarter, you want to have a particular kind of experience and know that everything that you're doing that's hard today is setting you up to be able to do that at the end of the quarter, or at the beginning of the next quarter, that you're in pursuit of having a certain kind of experience, I'd have a colleague client, who I was at. I was at a I was in New York with her and we were having a glass of wine after a day. And we were talking about goals and stuff tied to the book as like an auctioneer. And she said, You know, I don't really have big goals, like everyone else does everyone else around me want as big achievement goals. And I just, you know, recognition goals, they want to reach a certain status in the organization, they want to drive big projects, they want to grow their portfolio, and she said, all I really want to do is kick off by four o'clock and hang out with my kids. That's an experiential goal. For her it was a day to day maybe for you, it's knowing that every two years, you can take a four month sabbatical and do something outlandish, outrageous and completely unexpected. And then everything you do between that time is aimed at that goal, such that you can tolerate the difficulty of that, because you know what it's for. Experiential goals are also very important to me, what kind of experience do I want to have, and for me, unfortunately, it's like, it's the day to day how I shape every day, the ways in which I use my minutes are about having the experience that I want to have moment over moment. And being in control and in command of that has always been extremely important to me. And guess what they have to be chock full of the pursuit of the actual experience of deeply connected experiences, and had to be deeply connected, and they have to hold the promise of adventure. Now, the third goal type or the Gold category, that might be important to you, if recognition goals don't fit. Maybe experiential goals aren't. The crown jewel, is this third one I like to call mastery goals, which are about being really good at something, whether you're known for it or not being really good at reviving blooms on an orchid, being really good at playing the piano, being known as the expert in digital marketing in a particular niche in your organization. Really digging in and building mastery around something. This is this, this is the third goal type. That that I think is for me. Also very important, if I have experiential goals inside of those goals has to be something that that pursues mastery of something. And a few weeks ago, I realized that I wasn't, I didn't really have something that was in the center of my table that I could point to and say, the difficulty today is worth the mastery I'm gaining and something that I care about. And what when I asked myself, dia, how are you spending your time? What do you really care about? What gives you that minute to minute type of life design that feels alive and awake for you? The answer was writing isn't something I've enjoyed doing, but I never really pursued it with the idea of what might it be like? What kind of adventure might it be like for me to actually develop mastery. And so I'm with my bias toward action. I am putting these two, these two second goal types, mastery, and experiential. At the center of my table and wrapping some goals around them. I'm not sure exactly how to articulate the goals around them quite yet. But I'm already getting into motion. That's okay. Because I know that I want more of both. And so what am I doing, because it's one thing for us to think about our goals. It's another for us to get into action. And when we get into action around a particular goal that we might see a hazy shape of it's not perfectly articulated yet. That's okay. We get into action around it. We use that action as a way to make it clearer and clearer and clearer to us. So I'm doing a few things. Super simple. Everybody sort of embarrassingly simple, so obvious. One, I've registered in a solidly intimidating week long writing retreat in Montana. I wrote a check, which means dia, you're investing in yourself and this and to it booked a flight, and you're going to do it not in your everyday context, you're going to take yourself out. So you can have the kind of adventure that only leads to a more connected experience for you. It's not interrupting my every day, it is the every day for that week anyhow. So I'm going on retreat. And then I'm doing something right after the retreat that I so rarely do. While I am on stage a lot and love to present, I love to speak at events, whether there's 100 people in the room, or 1000 people in the room, I don't actually go as a participant very often. And so I knew, however, that that one thing that always feels like an adventure, is putting myself in a new context. And right now, I won't be flying halfway around the world. But I will be flying to Atlanta to go to TEDWomen where I can look for something very specific. It's easier for me to go to these kinds of events when I know why and the why is looking for creative instigation, that I can then drive into the mastery that I'm developing around writing. And how am I doing that, through essays, I know that the way in which I will develop my mastery, using the craft that I learned at my retreat and leveraging the creative instigation, I get it TEDWomen is going to be right into the format of regular essays. You can call them blogs, I'm calling them essays. Why because it makes them sound fancy for me. And when I make the things that I do sound fancy for myself, I can fall in love with them and exercise more discipline around them. So this is what I'm committing to to do right now to try to start more often more holy, and more more wholeheartedly lead with who I am. And I don't have to have all the answers now. What answers meaning, I don't have to know exactly where it's going to take me. I know it's not going to take me away from the work that I'm doing and communications and helping women ask for more and get it. I know that it is in that territory. So while I'm, while I'm expanding a particular skill, and focusing back on having the kinds of experiences deeply connected and adventurous experiences I want to have as the goal, the other goals that I have the other business goals that I have become outcomes. Because I'm better. I'm more alive, I am quite frankly, more compelling. When I am doing something, when I'm engaged in something that feels alive for me, I'm better for you, when I lead with who I am. So that's what I'm up to right now. And that's what we're going to continue to talk about on this podcast. What does it mean for you to lead with who you are, even if it's you doing the same thing you do everyday, but from a different perspective. For me, I'm going to be doing the same thing I always do, running the intensive standing on stage and giving talks, developing content for you working in my coaching practice. But the stance that I'm taking is one of creative instigation, the one of developing experiences that I can say yes to experiential goal, and developing mastery of something new writing, that is, that is an easy place for me to cultivate and pursue the promise of deeply connected experiences, and adventurer, inward adventure or outward adventure. So here's my prompt for you today. Are your goals making you miserable? Any one of these goal types feel sound look like ones that you might want to put at the center of your table and really go for? Are you talking yourself into experiential goals that the way in which I experienced my work life everyday is good enough. And talking yourself out of recognition goals, because maybe, maybe for you holding that gold medal, whatever form it comes in, is deeply motivating for you. That's the thing that keeps you awake and alive as you do your every day. And if there were one of these three gold types that felt more important to you, more aligned with who you are, which one might it be, and how do you start to get into action around it? Such that it is not just a promise, but actually starts to show up in your life, your leadership. Oh, that's it for the alliterations today. Thanks so much for joining. I am so thrilled to have you along for this ride in this teeny tiny little podcast lead with who you are. Next time on leave with who you are, you are going to hear from a serial entrepreneur and we're gonna have a conversation about the really critical moments where a leveling up happens in an entrepreneur's life. I hope you'll join us there and I hope you'll also take just a minute, just a minute to go listen to or watch my TED Talk, which is titled Why the word yes is holding you back last month. It was published by the The TEDx team and was selected by the TED editorial team as an editor's pick, which was a wonderful and by the way, recognition oriented sort of moment. And well, it gave me a boost internally. More importantly, it means that it means that more folks are going to come across that 12 minute story where you can learn how to make the kinds of asks that can change everything. And it's that impact that really matters. The thing that was most alive for me and doing that TED talk is not being rewarded with an editor's pick, but instead going through the journey of writing, rehearsing and delivering it with a group of folks who also are doing their best at showing up as who they are. Thanks, everybody. See you next time. L Lead With Who You Are is a production of Dia Bondi Communications and is scored, mixed and produced by Arthur Leon Adams the third. Have a question or an inquiry? Reach out to us at You can like, share, rate and subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your favorite shows. Go to for the show notes to find our tools, frameworks, content and programs to help you and your team speak powerfully and lead with who you are.

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