I’ve never been what you would call a goal setter. I never set them because I could never see clearly enough to have them. in a conversation with a coach at a trade show about a year ago, he suggested I might want to do some visualizing to understand where I want to be in the future. He said to me, “If you can’t dream it, see it, taste it, feel it, hear it, and sense it, you can’t become it.”
Ouch! I went home and over a couple of days imagined my business and my life in great detail at three different futures, writing pages and pages of very detailed visioneering. It shifted something in me. It gave me a vision of where and who I wanted to be in five years. And some of those things are happening, which is very exciting.
But that’s as far as I took it. Why am I so afraid to call these goals? Fear of failure, definitely. Fear of disappointment, yes. Fear of success?! Not so much nowadays. But, ah yes... there it is, the worthiness issue to end all worthiness issue, being proven that I am not worthy of all I dream. But really, I have to say, Fear is clinging to me with far less tenacity now than it was at the beginning of the year (yay for Break Free journaling and coaching!).
It turns out goals are important
Goals don’t have to mean monetary or tangible things like exotic vacations, flashy cars, expensive clothes, and bling (don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things too — and I love having a never ending money stream too).
I want to success. I want to be able to put money away and have real vacations. But mostly I know I need to keep moving forward. I don’t have to strive and grasp, but I do need to keep growing in my soul.
I adore Danielle LaPorte’s concept of creating goals with soul. As a sensitive soul, I know that for me when I’m listening to my heart, it’s all about how I feel, not how much I have. It works for me. My values are the sextant I use to guide me, like stars in the dark night sky. And I firmly believe that when we pay attention to how we feel about what we’re doing, acting, being — our values and beliefs become our North Star. And when we follow our North Star, all of those tangibles will come to us. And so much more.
But we still need a plan.
Just because it’s a cliché, doesn’t mean it’s not true
Yes, I’m talking about that one by Ben Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
I just finished the last module of Break Free and we did some visioneering to dream it, taste it, feel it, hear it, and sense our future as I mentioned before. But my early days as a production coordinator in advertising agencies taught me that you also need a plan, and you need to break that plan into detailed steps, by making time-sensitive, step-by-step to-do lists. Because if you don’t have a plan and step-by-step actions, Fear is going to do the Freak Out all over your dreams.
That dark chasm between where you are now — on the precipice of change — and where you want to be in X years is long, dark and unknowable. Anything new is unknowable, that’s why we need to do it (to find out). And it’s frickin’ scary not to know what will happen. But, at least, if you’ve got a plan (your map) you have purpose and direction and milestones, you have something to guide you. Those teeny-tiny baby steps will get you far. Checking them off your to-do list builds confidence and resilience.
Let your heart be your compass
When we’re trying something for the first time, or again after failure, it’s going to be uncomfortable and we’re going to be unsure. A plan, which is a left-brained logical type of action, is a wonderful thing to have. It’s a map of your journey through the chasm, with your milestones (met goals) marked on it. However, logic and maps can only carry you so far. In life, on journeys, and in business, your right-brained heart is every bit as important as your map because your heart is your compass — another guidance tool.
I heard a radio interview with Canadian ultra-marathoner, Gary Robbins (who lives in Vancouver but hails from Newfoundland). He lost his chance (for the second time) of becoming the first Canadian in the torturous Tennessee Barkley Marathon to complete the race in under sixty hours, BY SIX SECONDS. Sleep deprivation, fog, and mistaken turn after a compass reading also made him come down the mountain in the wrong direction, so he not only came in 6 seconds over time but from the starting line instead of the finishing line.
Robbins probably was listening to his gut and his heart all the way through, but when you’re hallucinating after going 5+ days with only 25 minutes sleep, the odds are more than stacked against you. However, he says he will try for a third run and I believe he will make it next time because he’s got it all — the plan, the milestones, the values, and he knows the steps it takes to make it happen.
THIS IS WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE
You need to leave a little room in your plan for the magic of co-creation.
It’s best not to rely solely on any one tool. Your intuition, your goals, your plan, your milestones, your intuitivity, and your values are meant to work synergistically — together. The whole is more valuable than the individual pieces. When all of these tools are working together, the higher energies that watch over your life can place landmarks, signposts, people and opportunities on your path that will get you to your vision faster. Then, all you have to do is to recognize them as opportunities and graciously accept them for the gifts they are.
I also know that you will lose faith or make a decision without the use of all your tools an setbacks will happen. Stop. Listen in. You may need to make a minor course correction, but you don’t need to give up or go back to the beginning. Just go back to your tools — your goals, your plan, your milestones, your intuitivity, and your values. Listen in and the course correction will make itself known to you. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It usually just means you missed a landmark or misread a sign. You need to retrace your steps to a few back to see the path that you could swear wasn’t there before. Then go within and ask, “What is the right, next step?” and take it. And then do it again. And again.
In the end, with your wayfinding tools — your map (plan), your landmarks (milestones), your compass (your heart) and your sextant (your values) — to guide you, and the magic of co-creation to help you get there faster, your journey will be entirely worth the fear and effort. Your once impossible visualization will become clearer with each step forward you complete.
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kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)