Don't fear the Fog (or the Reaper)

The other morning, I had to run out for an errand.  The fog was so thick that I could barely see my hand in front of my face, but that didn’t stop me.  I understood what I needed to get, and I had a plan for how I was going to get it.  Even though I couldn’t see the path I was going to take, I trusted that I would reach my destination one way or another.  What’s this an analogy for?  Goal setting.

I knew I was going to get my DayQuil and milk – that was my goal and I could visualize it easily.  It was simple to know when I had succeeded because I would have my DayQuil and milk paid for and in hand.  Although I knew the route I had planned to take to get to the store to meet my objective, I didn’t know what obstacles would lie in the way that could have caused me to change my course.  With all the fog, there could have been an accident in my path.  There were construction signs along the way, but luckily they didn’t block my route.  In the end, I succeeded in acquiring my DayQuil and milk without having to change my planned route. 

This is exactly the same way we reach every goal.  First, we create an ambition to strive towards, making sure it’s very clear so we know when we’ve reached it and we are able to visualize it.  Saying that I’m going to the store wouldn’t have been a clear enough goal.  I could have gone to any store and that would have met the target, but I might not have been able to get the DayQuil and milk I needed.  Be very specific when you’re setting your objectives.

Then, we plan our course to get there.  I knew the route I was going to drive my Miata down and which store I was going to go to.  If something happened along the way to make me veer off my path, I would have just rethought my way to the store I was planning on going to or perhaps chosen a different store depending on what street I was detoured to.  Either way, I was going to get my supplies.  I didn’t have to think through every single contingency plan before I left my house.  If I did that, I might not have ever left.  I started towards my goal knowing that I could be flexible and go with any change that comes my way and still reach my goal in the end.

The same thing holds true for any objective, and a previous blog post I wrote – Be Flexible – talks about this.  If you visualize your end game, believe that you can reach it, and have the persistence to stick with it, nothing will hold you back.  Don’t let the fear of “what if” hold you back from starting or prevent you from making progress when you’re on your way.  Take it one step at a time and see what happens.  You’re free to edit your plan along the way depending on how things go and you may even choose to change your goal once you get going.  That’s totally fine!  It doesn’t matter what your goal is – only that you have one.

To recap, the three steps to successfully achieving your goals are:

  1. Create a very specific goal that you can visualize and you believe you can reach, even if you’ve never done anything like it before
  2. Plan how you’re going to achieve your purpose.  Break your plan into baby steps so you can make progress and see what steps are coming up
  3. Be flexible and analyze your plan and your goal.  A situation may come up where you have to alter your strategy or you may decide to change your goal with the new knowledge you gain.  Whatever happens, don’t let fear of the unknown cease your progress

If you’re looking for some assistance in setting your goals or overcoming your trepidation for “what if” situations, reach out to me so we can discuss how I can help.