Are You Running In The Wrong Direction?

November 11, 2020

 

If at first or second or third or more you don’t succeed, maybe it’s time to rethink your destination.

 

Many of my clients choose to work with me because I help people reach their goals.  Many are people who keep failing to achieve a chosen objective that they thought made sense.  They try numerous paths and approaches, but they’re stymied or lose interest after making a little progress.  They feel frustrated and defeated.  Why can’t they do it? They try to explain it to themselves with reproaches and self-accusations such as . . .

 

 There’s something wrong with me. 

 I’m not talented enough.

 I don’t have the tools. 

 I don’t have the education.

 I’m lazy. 

 I just can’t do it.

 

None of the recriminations are true.  These are smart, dedicated people who are simply stuck. 

 

They have the energy, the aptitude and capabilities to choose a goal and get there.  The problem is that the goal they choose is NOT their goal. 

 

The goal they’ve selected is one they think they should pursue . . .
 

Because of their skills and training,

Because it’s what everyone in their family did,

Because it makes sense given their background and talents,

Because it’s the right thing to do. 
 

Pursuing one of these goals is a road to failure because,

 

It’s NOT a goal that’s inspiring, exciting or satisfying.  If pursued only for money or to appease someone else’s needs, it will likely be accompanied by dread and even depression.

 

Why would anyone want to go down that path?

 

It’s time to let go of a lackluster goal or someone else’s goal and discover one that inspires

YOU, one that makes your heart sing, one that’s for you and one you can and will achieve.

 

Let me take you on a little adventure. 

 

Imagine that you NEVER reach the goal you are pursuing. It never comes to pass.  What would happen? See yourself there. Where are you? Look around:  what do you see, what do you hear, what are you thinking, feeling?  Take it all in. 

 

Think about 3 POSITIVE things about this potential future.

 

Now let’s take a look at a different scenario. 

 

You achieve your difficult-to-reach goal spectacularly!  You’ve done it.  Again, put yourself in the picture.  But this time list 3 NEGATIVE things about this potential future.

 

I know.  It’s counterintuitive.

 

Read what happened with one of my clients first and then go back and do the exercise . . .

 

Tom is an excellent statistician and computer programmer.  Math and logic come easily to him; they always have.  Several months ago, management let him know that if he took a course in modeling and data design, he could move up to a much more lucrative position as a Data Scientist in his firm.  It’s a bump of more 50% in salary with added bonuses for performance at the end of the year. 

 

He was dragging his feet when he consulted with me.

 

I took him through the above exercise.

 

What if he didn’t follow this opportunity?  His face sunk.  But then I continued.

 

What were 3 good things about it?  Where was he?  What was happening?  Describe it in detail.

 

He saw 3 different scenes.

 

In one scene, he was sitting at a bar with a group of people from work.  They were laughing and telling stories about some shared “idiocy” that happened that week.  They were shedding the tension surrounding the event, and as they did so they became more serious.  What happened was something that made their work situations more difficult.  Being able to relax a little led them to begin to start problem solving.  Tom was animated as he described how he encouraged them to work with each other.

 

In the second scene, he was walking in the woods with friends, talking, enjoying the fresh air and nature views.  He felt refreshed and energized.

 

He was in front of the TV watching the television show The Black List.  He felt relaxed and engaged, no worries, just enjoying the show and sitting close to his wife, Janelle.

 

I then asked him to imagine he was working in the new job, with the added moneys and responsibility.  His management was thrilled to have him.  

 

I asked him to consider what would happen if he took advantage of the opportunity. What were 3 negative things about this outcome? 

 

He breathed heavily.  He had 4 negatives.

 

“I have no time for myself, working all hours of the day, just getting home in time to go to bed.”

 

“I have to always be on my toes so I can deal with all the problems and questions that are constantly being thrown at me.”

 

“I’m head down, alone at my computer.  It’s very lonely.”

 

“I’m constantly having to prove how smart I am by coming up with new insights.” 

 

It became obvious that the new position was not what he wanted.  Although he’s great at analytical skills and likes to think of himself as innovative, what he most enjoys is being with people and either directly or indirectly drawing them out and helping them think creatively and engage. 

 

How could he bring those interests to bear in the Data Scientist role?

 

We came up with a strategy for him to talk with management about a reframing of the role.  They would reposition the job, moving it from a solitary engineering role to a team leader.  He would spend part of his time in design and analysis, but most would be in identifying, training and developing his team. 

 

They considered what he suggested and bought in.  The company paid for his course work in modeling and data design, added workshops in team leadership and after he completed his studies allowed him to build and lead his team. 

 

Isn’t it time to let go of a lack luster goal or someone else’s goal and discover one that inspires YOU, one that makes your heart sing, one that’s the right opportunity for you and one you can and will achieve?

 

Do the exercise for your hard-to-reach goal and let’s see if it remains viable and interesting.  What might your positive and negative outcomes be? 

 

Need help thinking it through?

 

You can always contact me at DrSharonLivingston@Gmail.com or 603 – 505 – 5000.  I promise to get back to you within 24 hours.

 

To your success

 

Doc Sharon

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