When making her acceptance speech in todays Australian Open, Serena Williams commented that she had "reached her goal."
The context of her remark was not that winning the tournament was her goal - there was something more behind it. It made me think further about the goal of the artist. The questions of "why" you make music or produce art is irrelevant - and inevitably you always get the same sort of answer - "I just have to ... its inside of me and I just need to let it out ... to express myself etc etc".
A better question is "what do you want to get out of doing what you are doing?" This helps to actually focus the output of your creativity, and to clarify the intention of your work. MaJiKer and I use this technique constantly to keep his project on track. He is highly motivated to achieve, but with so many possible directions to pursue, how do you focus your energy and resources? Setting clear goals reinforced with an understanding of what you want to get out of it at the end is crucial to moving to the next stage of your career.
High performing athletes clearly know this - they do not achieve in their careers simply by setting out to beat someone, or win tournament money. The best are constantly striving to hone their talent, to reach milestones along the way and then stretch themselves even further.
The majority of XFactor hopefuls quickly demonstrate that fame is all they want to get out of what they are doing. Unfortuantely fame is a goal that rarely results in remarkable talent.
Image from Flickr by John of Dublin