By Michael Kline
As we enter mid-January, many of us have recovered from our resolutions and are back in our comfort zone, feeling bad about ourselves for breaking our promise to be thin, tan and rich by the end of 2016. No worries, New Year’s resolutions typically don’t work for several reasons. 1. We choose weak goals. The middle of the holidays is not when we are likely to spend quality time reflecting on our core values and life purpose. As a result, our resolutions can lack significant meaning to be sustainable. 2. We choose other people’s goals. Without the deep personal work, we often choose familiar goals – they might be the goals our spouse, friends, parents or boss wants, but they don’t really resonate with us personally. 3. We don’t choose goals at all, we choose strategies to get what we’re afraid to say out loud. For instance, losing 20 lbs. sounds like a goal. However, if we ask why we have a particular goal, we might discover it is really a strategy to achieve something we are less comfortable talking about. Say I want to lose weight so other people find me more attractive – so the goal is to be more attractive and the chosen strategy is to lose weight. When the voices in our head start telling us that either the strategy or the goal won’t be achieved, it’s too easy to quit. By the way, research has proven that a smile is the most attractive feature you can offer! If the weight-loss goal is a life or death health issue, and your true goal is to be alive and well to attend your daughter’s wedding this summer, that may be more compelling than being jealous of your BFF’s skinny jeans.
Choose your own date to begin a resolution and your own compelling purpose do make a change. Ask yourself three simple but deep questions, or better yet, have someone else ask you: 1. What do you hunger for in your life? 2. What really excites you? 3. What difference do you want to make in the world? The answers to these types of questions and many other options a professional coach might use, will lead you to your compelling purpose. The compelling purpose is key.
It’s time to live like you mean it, play a bigger game, live your larger life… so what’s holding you back? Once you really know what you want, fear, doubt and/or procrastination shows up. The little voices in our head convince us we aren’t good enough. The voices get louder, armed with plenty of evidence that suggests we should stay safe; stay small. We don’t know how, and courage is scarce.
If you wait until you build the courage to do something, you will never do it. We never have enough courage to take action, because courage does not drive action. Courage only shows up as you take the action that required the courage. When you connect an action to your compelling purpose, the fear, doubt, and self-limiting beliefs fade while courage, intelligence, skills… all the resources you need start to show up. I have been experimenting with facing fears – first it was the zip-line, then a free-jump from the height of a three story building, then I jumped out of an airplane. All were easier than quitting a job, moving to the country and starting a business. Still, I thought I was mustering courage to overcome my fears. In each case, I had some compelling purpose to the task – in one case, I was teaching the concept of facing fears to my niece and nephew, whom I love very much. How could I not be honest and vulnerable and push through it for them?! I hated jumping out of the airplane, but I am passionate about teaching success principles, so I had hired a videographer to film my jump, and committed to use it for my teaching. If I didn’t have a reason bigger than myself, I probably would have bailed on that one!
Would you not run into a burning building to save your child? That’s a compelling purpose that has no regard for fear, skills or courage. A Compelling purpose drives us. The courage shows up as we step into action.
Being afraid or unsure and lost is a sign that you’re doing something worth doing. You will still sense fear and doubt. The voices will be there. Remind yourself of the hunger, the excitement and the difference you want to make and let your purpose drive your action. The universe always rewards action and you will always get feedback – success or failure are one in the same; just feedback to use for taking the next step.
You may have heard the expression “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle”. Jack Canfield has a similar expression that went viral recently after being on Oprah:” The Universe does not give you a dream that you don’t have the capacity to fulfil”. Your ideas come to you from some greater source, validating that the world needs your idea. You have the idea. It came to you, not someone else. This means you have the capacity to do something about it. What do you hunger for? What excites you? What difference do you want to make in the world? What are you going to do about it?
Michael Kline is a Certified RIM Facilitator and Certified Success Trainer for personal and group transformation. You can reach him through his website www.intus.life, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.