Discovering the dream, keeping your eyes on the prize.

Posted on 17. Nov, 2009 by in Life Coaching

I’ve discovered this year more than any other that my clients are coming to me with similar needs – often in the same time frame. There appears to be a common cycle or thread among them. They have similar needs and desires, yet they are articulated and played out differently. A few things could be happening here: I’m attracting those of like-mind and experience through my own reflection, I’m more targeted in my message, or we are all not so unique when it comes to managing transitions and navigating through change. For whatever reason, it’s all very inspiring and supportive of what I love to do.

So today I have the opportunity to share with you the insight and experience of one of those clients. This is someone who I began coaching this summer with his initial desire to lose weight and get fit. Well, little did he know that we would be getting at a whole lot more than weight loss, and luckily, he hasn’t walked away but instead has made some significant insights about his life and business.  Here is his most recent reflection:

Eyes on the Prize

I work hard, sometimes too hard. And like many of my self-employed brethren, I rarely take a vacation. This past August I just packed it in one day; walked away from my computer, picked up a book, and fell down on the couch. Three weeks later, I was starting to sense feelings stirring: “You’d better get back to work, summer’s over.” It’s November, and for me, it’s still summer.

I’ve been floundering for the past couple of months. I haven’t found the work groove that I used to have. It hasn’t helped that my partner has gone back to school. So now, my days are easily chewed up with the stuff that we all have to do on a daily basis, and I’ve been struggling to get to my computer and work. But even when I manage to carve out some work time, I’m finding that everything is taking longer than it should and I’m really not getting a lot done.

It’s been about ten weeks of this now and things are getting a little scary. My pay cheques are getting smaller, and there are fewer of them. As a way of looking for a life preserver in this sea of confusion, I picked up a couple of motivational, business-type books. Yesterday, I went to my favourite greasy spoon and had breakfast and read a bit of The Power of Focus, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt. And it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to have a list of goals. So I listed ten things I thought I wanted to achieve within the next year. Whew! That was easy!

But something wasn’t sitting right, and since I’m lucky enough to have relatively easy access to a life coach, I gave my friend Susan a call. I started off asking if it was okay to have open-ended goals or whether everything needed a completion date attached to it.  Susan and I nattered for a few minutes, during which I shared some of my goals from the list. But then I reached this constipated moment, it was there – had been there all along – and then, I finally blurted out: “I want to be known as the top in my field.” And Susan said, “Ah … I’ve been waiting for that.”

Susan didn’t judge it, like I did; she just accepted it. Susan doesn’t have a trainload of baggage attached to being the best in my field, so it’s pretty easy for her to hear and zero in on the goal. I said it, therefore it is; if I want it, I can make it happen.

It turns out that giving my goal a voice has made it pretty easy on me, too. It hasn’t even been 24 hours since I blurted out my vision, and I’m already feeling a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. For months I’ve been struggling, but now it’s clear to me where I’m going. I have direction. I have a hell of lot of work to do to achieve my goal, and that’s weight for a tomorrow’s shoulders, but for now, I’m relieved.

In my regular work day, I have umpteen things pulling me this way and that. But having had the courage to declare such a lofty goal, I can now hear myself saying “no” to all these things that I need to do. Now, it’s a matter of passing the test: does this contribute to my goal of becoming the best in my field? And if it does, then it makes it onto the “to do” list; if it doesn’t, it just gets tossed aside – without guilt, remorse, or regret!

But another thing has emerged for me. A feeling of wanting to be in the moment. Before, I had so many things demanding my attention that I couldn’t see any of them. And I certainly wasn’t enjoying any of it. It’s like I was running around my empire, as I call it, tending to a dozen fires and spooning out a dollop of water when I arrived at each fire – a lot of good that was doing. Now, I’ve got my sights trained on a goal, and there are other concerns churning around me, but I can just let them be. If they have nothing to do with my new goal, they’re no concern of mine.

So I took another crack at my goal list, putting my newly-discovered prize at the top of the page in a big, bold  font. Underneath, I’ve listed seven areas of focus that I feel will get me there. It all fits on one piece of paper and I’ve got it in a prominent place on my desk so I can remind myself of my goal umpteen times a day. For the rest of my weekend I’m going to tie up some loose ends, clean up my desk, and get ready for Monday and my new journey. I’m excited thinking about getting back to work.

My immediate response after reading:

I love it. It speaks to the root of getting into action or motivation, finding that prize worthy enough to sink your teeth into!

Three days later…

This morning I shared this first client’s goal-setting exercise with another client.  Similarly, after mapping out her dream, she declared: “I have a lot of work to do!” She was enthusiastic, despite the level of activity required to achieve the dream. Two questions no longer mattered; how am I going to get started and what direction am I going to take? Now my client could see her purpose and had conviction about starting on her goals immediately.

This year, for many of us, has been a year of adjustment, change, and transition. Sometimes we lose sight of the prize because we are focused on what’s happening around us, not within us. We are looking at what others are doing rather than what we are doing. We are being near-sighted rather than far-sighted or the reverse depending upon how you view it.

Expressing the dream and aligning with the goal is a sure-fire way to get focused and clear about what you are doing and what you will not. Keep your eyes on the prize, it will enthuse you with energy and focus.

Taking the journey with you,


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