“The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles.” (Unknown).
On November 7, 1999, I wrote myself a letter from the future: “A Day of Dreams”. I wrote about the life I wanted to live, personally and business wise. I keep this letter in my current journal and occasionally read it. I always get a warm feeling and more to come.
What is success to you? Where are you on your road to success? Are you pretty much living the life you want? If not, what else would you like?
For some folks, success is a big promotion, a lot of money, a big house or fancy car. For others it is a job, an affordable apartment, wheels and food on the table. Some people are looking for the degree, or enlightenment. There are all kinds of ways to express success big and small.
Success is a process, not a destination. We all know the drill. Set your goals and objectives and start, hoping to succeed. How many times have obstacles gotten in the way? You start the new diet, and walk into work only to have the lunch filled with high sugar goodies? This has happened to me, more on that later. You make a date with a friend to start a walking plan and it rains the day (or every day that week) you are to start! How about a big presentation at work only to be assaulted by problems with technology.
It is pretty much a guarantee that you will start something, and obstacles will appear. Sometimes things are thrown in the way because it is not the right time or right place. Sometimes things are in the way because that is life. Life is going to throw all kinds of things at you. How agile are you? Can you duck and swerve? Good. Keep eyes on the goal while you deal and learn from what is happening today.
Life is very much like a game we might have on our phones, or the hot video games the kids like to play. You start out easy. You learn how the app works, some of the rules of the game and some strategies. You win a few games. Then you start struggling. Sometimes the game drops some tips and hints. The kids talk with their friends and share insights and strategies. Depending on the game, there may be books and internet sites to help you strategize. You try the new ideas and get faster, better and higher up in the levels.
Where are you in your process of success? Are you growing and reaching new personal and business goals? Are you generally happy with your life?
If not, what is getting in the way of reaching goals, and more importantly being happy?
This has been a rough year with the pandemic. Unfortunately, we probably have another year until some normalcy returns. This is where it is important to keep your eyes on the goal as you navigate all the obstacles placed on the path.
What obstacles have you experienced this year? I was a case manager in a doctor’s office. I remember the Tuesday evening that my boss came to my office. She told me that I needed to start thinking about what I could offer the health system and that tomorrow “things will start unravelling.” And they did. At the time, (I didn’t know it), the case manager position was going away. That was an obstacle.
I had a goal of working, ideally to keep my job, which I liked. I got stuck in the loop of “I have to go back into the hospital” self-talk. I was an ICU nurse for a dozen years a long time ago. I figured that they wouldn’t let me do that as so many changes. They would put me on a regular med-surg floor which I never worked. I was catastrophizing big time. That was an obstacle that I was creating in the situation. Why do we limit our thinking? I know better.
I was offered a position on the health system Covid line which I took. New place, new hours, new routine which offered small but obstacles just the same. There was a huge back log which my group of nurses was able to tame in about two weeks. I was then let go. Obstacle. However, I had a good relationship with a previous boss who was able to give me a position. However, I would need to find a desk and a computer. I was not allowed to go back to my former office as they had another use for my former space. Obstacle. A friend and former co-worker, who worked for this boss, was going out on medical leave. I asked for her phone and computer. That wish was granted, and I got to work from home. I kept my eye on the goal to work and flexed and swerved around all the obstacles.
What are your plans? Have you been able to pivot in personal and business life? What is holding you back?
Get some paper and a pen and start writing. Steps to making a pivot.
- Think about where you were before quarantine and where you are now. What is still important now that you need to pay attention to or move towards?
- Is there a new routine that you have developed over the last 9 months? What are the pluses from the new routine that you want to expand? Are there parts of the old routine that you are glad to see go away? Are there any parts of the old routine that you would like get back? Can you find a way to get that back or an adaptation of the experience? Ask yourself what needs to stay and what needs to go?
- What are your strengths? What has helped you through this year that you can use going forward? Look for things like being creative with connecting with people, or new ways to get project completed (like finding and buying toilet paper). How is your ability to reframe events? That is always a handy tool.
- What do you need help with to accomplish your goals? How is your mood or thought process. Are you able to be positive or do you need help with depression? Do you need to learn some techniques like how to do Zoom? Trust me, we are all in that boat right now. Lots of learning and sharing going on right now. By the way, do you have something to share that will help others as well as yourself? Look for the help you need.
- What new ways can you find to reach your goal? Be creative here. Can you change a deadline for a goal? Give yourself more time. Do you need to table some goals at this time? It is ok to table something. You can get back to a goal at a later time.
- Now make a plan. Step by step to reach your new goal or level.
- Get a partner, friend, advisor or a coach. It is more fun, more interesting, you get better ideas when you have the support of someone walking the path with you.
I have not hit all my dreams that I wrote in that letter in 1999. The interesting thing, I have discovered that I have many pieces of my dreams. Some goals I am still working on, some I have completed, and some don’t matter anymore.
Keep your eyes on the goal. You will have to swerve and pivot many times. Keep your eyes on the goal.
I wish you fabulous Holidays. May 2021 lead us to a much higher level of living and being.