A New Way to Think About Goals
Getting there – that’s what it’s all about, right? Everybody’s wanting to “Get There”. We hear people talk about “There” all the time.
“I’m getting there.” “I’m almost there.” “Will I ever get there?” “I’ll never get there.” “I just want to get there already.”
What they’re talking about is a place beyond their current conditions that they feel is better than where they are right now. Sounds like they’re talking about a big goal or a dream and that would be quite fitting for a coaching article.
Goals are a major component in coaching. They evoke creative tension and stretch people to grow into, and create, the lives they really want. To a large extent, goals are a good thing. When you have an important goal to reach, whether it’s a new career, a better relationship, more confidence, more inner peace, more fulfillment, your desire for it stretches you to take actions that are outside your comfort zone and help you become more of who you want to be. I strongly believe that you can be, do or have anything you really want if you are committed and resolved to achieving it and you take the steps needed to make it happen. Anything is possible, but… you’ll never Get There.
Huh? What’s that you say, coach? Thanks for the vote of confidence!
What if I told you that you can never get There, because There doesn’t even exist?
Based on the conditions of your life right now, you may not be too happy with that notion, right? It may even irritate you off a little (or a lot). That’s good… I struck a nerve. Bare with me.
One way of thinking, a perspective held by many mindful and successful people, is that the only thing that exists is the Here and Now and that you’ll always be Here and never There. There will always be some place outside your current reality.
If you’re always striving to get There, how and when will you ever know you’re there? After you’ve been there for a while? Right away? Near the end of being there, when you want to be some place else?
Getting There usually means we have some work to do, some steps to take, some kind of movement forward.
We are now here and we want to be there. If There was a city, all you’d have to do is look it up on a map or plug it into your GPS and you’d be given directions on how to get there. Most likely your dream or vision has no clear and precise directions on getting There. Even if it did, you most likely aren’t aware of them, otherwise you’d already be There.
Perhaps you’re asking for help from someone who’s already there or you’re considering working with a coach or mentor to help you reach that elusive destination. Maybe you started developing a plan and building your own map with a set of directions but there are certain obstacles, blind spots and dead ends along the way that prevent you from even taking one step. You want to know the whole way before you set out on your journey.
Those obstacles, blind spots and dead ends have nothing to do with the road or path itself, but to your own fears and resistance.
Let me tell you, there will never be a perfect plan or set of directions and there will always be some steps missing or a section of the map that’s blurry or even uncharted.
What’s the difference between Here and There?
It’s just the letter “T”. In this story, “T” stands for TRUST. The thing you need most to help you get from here to there is trust in yourself; a strong conviction that you will be able to figure things out along the way. Also trusting that when you do move in the direction of your goals with passion, enthusiasm and a strong resolve that somehow, new possibilities present themselves that you never could have anticipated, seen or known about from where you were.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
~ W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951.
That reference to Goethe reminds me of another one of his famous quotes: “Trust yourself and you will know how to live.”
Most often a lack of self Trust or confidence is the missing component that holds people back and prevents them from taking even just one step towards their goals.
So if all of this is true, that There doesn’t even exist, that all we really have is right Here, what would it feel like to declare right now that YOU HAVE ARRIVED at your destination? You are exactly where you’re supposed to be and all you ever will have is the present moment.
If you had enough trust in yourself, enough is all you need, what would you do with this moment right Here? What step would you take?
Let’s bring it all together – time is linear for us and we keep moving forward with time. We are always Here on the timeline and can never be There. We can’t be in a past that no longer exists or in a future that is always out of reach. In each moment, we have the choice of what direction to move in – you can choose to keep taking a step back trying to hold on to the past and remain stuck, which will cause extreme frustration and angst because a deeper part of you knows you are depriving yourself of achieving and being who you want to be. Or, you can choose to take a step forward in alignment with your desires.
Know this, there is always going to be another There – once we reach a goal, there will always be another one and another one after that. That’s a good thing, it’s part of our human condition to keep wanting and to keep creating. We are creative and generative beings. Accept that.
So in the grand scheme of things, if we were to rise up and take an aerial view of the timeline of our lives, we would see billions of here and now moments. Moments that were at one point There in the future, and then became Here in the present and then again, There in the past.
If you’re not happy with the Here you’re in right now, and you’re wanting to get There, trust that if you take one step in the direction of your desires, you have made the most of this moment and here’s the part most people forget in their pursuit of getting There. They forget to appreciate and celebrate where they are, that they already got there, they neglect to acknowledge the steps they took and they aren’t grateful for the moment they’re in right now.
The bottom line is this – all you have is this moment – right here, right now and you have a choice. What are you going to do with this moment? Appreciate that you’ll never have all the directions and there will be obstacles, blind spots and dead ends on your journey – and trust that in the moment, you will make the choice that helps you be more of who you really are. With billions of moments like that, you will always be in the perfect place, at the perfect time and you will already be There.