Five well-tested strategies that will get you what you really want.
Something is holding you back right now from running full speed toward your dreams. If there were no obstacles at all you probably wouldn’t have clicked on this link. The most common culprits between you and your deepest desires are these –
Insecurity about your abilities, skills, or talents.
Fear about money or achieving success.
Worry about how your spouse will feel, or your parents, or your peers.
Worry about whether you’ll have enough prestige or approval.
Fear that you don’t have the education/experience/access to reach it.
Worry that what you want isn’t possible.
There are others, but in my coaching business these are the ones I hear most frequently. Here are five steps that can, and will, get you there.
1. Get Permission
In order to move forward, the first step is to get permission - from yourself. Ask your fear, worry, and insecurity to let a different part of you take the wheel. This isn’t wooo, this is practical. The dreaming part of your brain needs to be the leader when you are going in a new direction. Hope and possibility need to be able to guide you, if you are going somewhere you haven’t been before. (I promise you that fear, worry, and insecurity will be along for the ride and ready to step in at a moment’s notice. They won’t abandon you if you ask them to take a back seat.) Let your fantasizer be the driver for the first leg of your journey. Dreams are realized when the driver is a part of you that doesn’t always listen to Siri about directions, and might take an exit just because it looks like you might be able to see the sunset well from that peak over there, or because the sign promising local peaches excites your senses.
If you look at your dreams and there are pieces that don’t seem to go together - a common pair is risk and security, another frequent pair is joy/passion and financial compensation - give yourself permission to look for them on the same path. Suspend your disbelief and seek them in the same place. Pursue the goal you really have, and not the safe or ‘realistic’ version of it. It is an amazing truth that when you bring your unique talents to the world, the world embraces them, because they cannot be found anywhere else.
So give yourself permission. And then share your newfound permission with those who are close to you. Let your spouse, your parents, or your peers know that you are seeking fulfillment at full steam. Ask them to support you and cheer you on. Chances are high that your worries, fears, and insecurities have more doubts than they do about how incredible you are, and about what you are capable of accomplishing. Tell them and allow them to be excited for you. When they cheer you on, believe what they say about you, and let it feed your dreaming mind.
2. Be Yourself
My coaching clients, when talking about their dreams, have often started sentences with ‘If I was the kind of person who…’ Now the cold hard truth of the matter is: you are not that kind of person. I’m not saying you will never be that kind of person (although you might well not), but right now, at the moment that you are starting your journey toward this dream, you aren’t. One of the best tips I have for achieving your dreams is to be willing to move toward your dream AS IS.
Mine your self-knowledge with unrelenting honesty. What kind of work/life balance do you need to have to really sustain something? What are your core values and beliefs? Not the ones you’d like to have but the ones you already truly have? How do you get successfully motivated? What brings out your procrastination and inertia? What are the circadian rhythms of your work habits? Do you have periods of high activity and low activity? Do you need variety or repetitive structure? Are there certain times of day where you think differently – creatively, productively, organizationally, etc.? When you’ve succeeded in getting something done, why and how did that happen? A sincere inquiry into WHO YOU ARE gives you all the tools you need to successfully move forward. You can motivate yourself with things that will actually be motivating. You can accomplish things in ways that will actually accomplish them. We all have ways we’d like to be different than we are, but waiting to be that person ends your journey before you even leave the house.
3. Build Your Team
When you are seeking transformational change, it’s good to have folks in your corner. You’ll need people who can hold the thread of your dream through your moments of doubt. Folks who can keep their sites on the forest for you, when you get sidetracked by the trees. Transformation is supported by people in your life who believe in you, cherish you, and are rooting for you.
Seek people who can spot your patterns and are willing to share kindly and honestly. If you are someone who tends to get discouraged by rejection, or who questions themselves when others see things differently, or who is always striving for satisfaction around the next corner, these are helpful things to understand about how you operate. Honest and kind insight can help you make choices based around the reality of who you are, so that you don’t accidentally end up in your own way.
Find people who share your excitement. Dream with them and brainstorm with them. Two or three people in a room together can generate ideas bigger than any of the same people can on their own. Root for each other wholeheartedly. Becoming part of something bigger than you, and letting yourself belong there, builds momentum.
Be accountable to someone. This isn’t just about follow-through, although accountability can help with that. It’s also about making sure steps and goals are realistic, and that who you are and how you operate are part of the equation. If something didn’t work, accountability allows you to take stock without jumping ship. It allows for course correction. It adjusts your rudder. Accountability takes failure out of the equation and instead creates a series of experiments, efforts, and inquiries that allow you to move forward with the least resistance. Like a river winding its way down a mountain doesn’t fail when it rounds a bend, accountability allows you find the course where your efforts will flow most swiftly and easily.
Obviously I think coaches are great for each of these types of support, since we are trained to be, but also therapists, close friends, colleagues, parents, children, and spouses can and should be cultivated as part of your support team. Whoever you choose to be with on your journey, rally them around you, and invite them inside your dream.
4. Do The Footwork
I’ve written about this in past blog posts, but the amazing thing about giant, transformational change is that it’s just putting one foot in front of the other, and doing one small thing at a time.
First of all, let me say that you are not required to reinvent the wheel, you can absolutely learn from those who came before you. For example, others have studied marketing before me, and if their data dictates that giving you this information in a list of five things, with a catchy title, makes it more readable, I can start my climb from where they left off instead of from the ground. Research, absorb, and immerse yourself in what is already out there.
Ground yourself into your dream using what you bring from the start – if you are a beginner swimmer, you already have the building blocks of floating, walking, running, holding your breath etc. You are not a blank slate when you are a beginner. Know what you bring. That said, let yourself be a beginner, and also look for the experts. If you want to create a website, look at many websites, talk to web designers, play with simple web design platforms.
Learning is not linear, it’s like putting together a jig saw puzzle. You’ll slowly start to see things take shape – Oh, it’s a puzzle of a dog, ok, I’d better look for eyes and I bet all these pink pieces are it’s tongue. Wait, it’s actually two dogs, I’m looking for eight legs, not four. Immersion as a learning style will show you where your growth curve is, and following that curve will give you a clearer sense of direction and next steps.
On the other hand, feel free to reinvent the wheel! If you look at what is out there, and you understand it, and you see that your contribution to it is something completely new and unique and revolutionary, by all means follow that path. It will be created one stone at a time just like a well trod path, except that you may only be able to see one or two steps ahead of you while you’re on it. More faith may be involved, but the steps are exactly the same.
My best advice about footwork is two fold, first look for low hanging fruit, and second, do it by hook or by crook. Look for the low hanging fruit: start small, it’s easiest to do so you’re the most likely to do it, but it shifts you into motion, dispels your inertia, and starts to create intrinsic reward. Once you’ve tasted an apple you can reach from the ground, and loved it, you might be willing to go on your toes for the next one, or even climb onto a low branch. Low hanging fruit also teaches you and orients you – go for the reddest apples you discover, they are sweeter. Once you are walking on a path, it’s much easier to keep walking. Standing at the beginning of the path staring down it is the scariest view.
By hook or by crook: do it badly at first, as long as you do it somehow now, you’ll do it better later. The number one hang up I’ve seen as a coach is folks who want to be perfect before they’ll begin. I’m not saying preparation is a bad thing, but if it prevents you from getting started it becomes a bad thing. And there is some amount of learning that you can only get from doing. If you want to be a writer, write. Today. Now. Do it every day. Even if only for five minutes. Even if you’re only writing ‘I don’t know what to write.’ Write on the back of napkins and dictate fragments of ideas to your phone at red lights. In time, it will teach you all the habits of a writer. When people start with the lowest hanging fruit, by hook or by crook, they don’t stay there. It’s just an entry point. But it gets you in the game.
5. Do The Meta Footwork
In the coaching certification classes I took at CTI, they had a core concept called ‘Forward and Deepen.’ Both trajectories, they teach, are needed simultaneously for true transformation. I buy this heart and soul. If the footwork is the ‘Forward,’ then there is also meta level footwork, the ‘Deepen.’ Meta level footwork isn’t as fun. It’s things like feeling your feelings, accepting your humanity, trusting your gut, and building your capacity to dream. Remember when we talked before about ‘being yourself’? This is the BEING in the being yourself. It’s the hardest part of transformation, it’s sinking into the root of you, shedding light, and cultivating a relationship with what you find there. Carrying forward the writer metaphor, the meta footwork might be trusting you have something unique to say in your writing, and that your voice is worth sharing with others. It might be accepting that the internet can be a ruthless place, and yet finding the courage to put your writing out there anyway. It might be believing in your talent or your craft or your creativity. The meta footwork clears a deep space in you, that allows you to take small steps forward without hitting internal blockades. The meta footwork is about acceptance, courage, values, and trust.
I believe that true transformation is rooted in an abundant perspective. It is an offering of our deepest gifts to the world, and trusting that the world will know the value of what it is receiving. It is an act of generosity.
This is how you get what you want. It’s actually quite simple.
Kendra Lubalin is a coach at Get There Coaching
Kendra works one-on-one with clients to clarify their dreams, break them down into bite-sized realistic steps, and then reach them using their own organic work/organizational styles.
She offers free 20-30 minute initial phone consultations.and offers sessions by phone, Facetime, or Skype