when big goals change directions

When Big Goals Change Directions

In Adventure, All, Italy, Learning, Personal Development, Travel by Don Alley0 Comments

The plan was simple. Move to Ashburn, spend 10 years there making money, and then “retire” in Venice, Italy. Big goals.

The BIG Goal

Moving to Italy and being financially free, that was the BIG goal. Everything that I did from age 27-30 revolved around that. Ask any friends, my instructor, or anyone who knew me, and they would have told you I was Italy-bound. I started learning Italian. I traveled there as often as possible to attend language schools. I hired a private teacher that I met with weekly via Skype. I started the process of Italian citizenship. That whole “goal-oriented thing” we teach our students? I rocked it 🙂

And at 30 years old, I knew that moving to Ashburn would help me speed up my process because the demographics of the area were so strong. I would be able to hit my financial goals more readily. So off I went.

I put my nose to the grind and I worked. I hustled. I opened my karate school. I bought property. I opened another location. I bought more property. I created and opened a preschool. I created a non-profit. I opened another location. I bought more property. I created an ad agency. I hustled. I worked.

The Transformation

And what started as a “move to Ashburn and get financially free”, unbeknownst to me, has turned into “how can I create and add more value to the marketplace than anyone else?”

And now, I have found myself asking the question, “Why would I ever want to do anything other than what I’m doing?”

Something curious has happened in the last 7 years. My goals have changed. My desires have shifted. As I have become more profitable from my businesses, my desire to add more value has become my driving force, not making more money. The idea of bailing and hiding away in Italy, or anywhere for that matter, is strange and foreign. I absolutely love the life I have created for myself and continue to create.

Move away? Why? So many students to teach here. So much business that can be done. So many lives can be touched here.

I am currently writing this post from Venice, Italy. I’m elated to be here, but I’m sitting on the side of the Grand Canal, looking at the Rialto Bridge, contemplating my life on day 1 of a 7-day vacation, asking myself, “When do I get to go home and get back to the work that I love?”

The Path to Becoming

My goals have changed. And I didn’t even realize it. And it’s okay with me. That’s the value of setting a long term goal. It thrusts you in a specific direction, and along the way, we become…

That’s it. We Become. Maybe we get there. Or maybe, the goal was just there to get us moving in one direction so that we could BECOME something else entirely.

Seven years ago, I was just a karate instructor.

Now, after chasing this 10-year goal,  I have become an entrepreneur, a community leader, an investor, a writer, an actor, and an established businessman. I used to cringe at having staff and despised the idea that I had to hire a second person. I currently employ over 40 people.

And I feel like I’m just getting started.

Yeaaaah… I’m not moving to Italy. That goal has died. I am having way too much fun interacting with my students and families in Ashburn and adding value to people’s lives there. I’m incredibly grateful that my goal moved me in this direction, and I’m even more grateful that I unknowingly discovered a passion worth living for, far removed from just making money.

Now, I make people. I create experiences.

Adding value is my prime motivation.

Don Alley
Don Alley is an artist and entrepreneur. He is known as the karate guy, the preschool guy, or the video guy. He runs Super Kicks Karate as the chief instructor in Ashburn, Center Stage Preschool, and Lucky You Media. He is also the co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families across the country.

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