What SZA Said: Are We Done With Goal Setting?

You want to know what’s funny?

After I finish my PhD program in a couple of years, I don’t plan on doing anything else. I’m laughing as I type this, but please know I mean this with so much sincerity.

When I tell my friends, they always say, “Girl, you’re going to find something to pick up! You won’t just stop your career.”

I obviously know I have to do something because bills come every month. But I don’t have a big, lofty goal to accomplish right now. And to be honest, I think that’s a good thing. Here’s why:

I decided early on in my career to give it my best shot and go after what I really wanted: a job at a record label. When I got there, I quickly realized (within three days, to be exact) that this wasn’t where I wanted to retire from. For two years, I searched for the next step, not knowing entrepreneurship would be my path.

A career isn’t the sum total of my entire life – it’s not yours either.

After I created and scaled ​MOXIE Nashville​, I started wondering what’s next? That brought me to my current job at Shondaland and my PhD program. For the last decade, I’ve worked really hard and continue to love the challenge that comes with building a career.

But a career isn’t the sum total of my entire life – it’s not yours either. I always talk about pivoting when you need to and encourage you to do so. However, I often neglect to share one of the critical precursors to the pivot: contentment. Learning how to sit in joy, regardless of your location or current circumstances, really is the secret sauce.

I loved a portion of ​this Apple Music Live interview​ with SZA and Zane Lowe. You can chew the meat and spit out the bones on the rest of the interview, but here’s what SZA mentioned about her goals:

SZA: “I don’t have any more goals, so I might as well just try at this point.”

Zane: “When you say, ‘I don’t have any more goals,’ you mean you’ve caught up to wherever you would have ever hoped you could get, and everything on top of this is unknown…”

SZA: “I caught up to that on ‘Ctrl’ [debut studio album].”

Zane: “Wow.”

​The clip is from 38:05 – 41:02​ if you want to watch it. SZA then goes on to share some of her goals that she’s accomplished, which include a GRAMMY® win, headlining a festival, and working with Beyoncé. While I have yet to hit the stage with Queen B (Parkwood, holla at ya girl!), SZA articulated what I’ve been feeling for quite some time: I’ve already exceeded way beyond what I dreamt. Anything on top of this is gravy.

Does this mean we give up on goal setting? Nah. Quite the opposite. It means there’s so much more to be explored and more life to live. That’s how we can become inspired to dream again – we keep on living.

I talk a lot about envisioning the life you want and going after it because you have to see yourself in spaces you have yet to step into physically. But don’t get it twisted. Inspiration comes in waves. Learn how to enjoy your life, in whatever state it’s in, so you can catch and ride those waves when they come.

What do you think?

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  • Franshandra Owens
    June 23, 2024

    Yaaassss!!! This is living for the present and being open to all opportunities not just ones on the list you created. You know success, so now can be time for peace and enjoyment not just the grind to the next goal.