One Step at a Time
I remember when I was first introduced to the world of motivational success techniques. We were directed to come up with our five top wants that needed to be specific, realistic and attainable. A time-line had to be set for when we would achieve these goals. Plan the work. Work the plan with excitement and enthusiasm. This is goal-setting 101, but it backfired for me. Anxiety and worry showed up instead of the intended burst of productivity.
Worry visited first. “What should I want? What am I supposed to want? What happens if I am wrong?” Next, anxiety chimed in. “How come the more I think about this stuff, the more depressed I feel? What is wrong with me? Maybe I’m cursed with a fully activated loser gene.”
Then the next phase kicked in. Sharing our goals with the rest of the group. Apparently, stating what you want in front of others was supposed to add to the excitement necessary to make it happen.
Since I was already worried and anxious, this added challenge invited a third unexpected guest. Lying. I wasn’t willing to stand up in front of strangers and cop to the fact that, at that moment, my true top goals were to disappear instantly, be miraculously transported back home and securely tucked under the covers, be content with and forever grateful for what I already had, and be spared the humiliation of melting down in front of this whole group.
I quickly came up with a money goal, followed by the dream home, the upscale car, the perfect wardrobe, travel plans to exotic locations and a perfectly toned and trimmed body. I got through the rest of the training by pretending to be motivated, ready, and willing to get home and make it happen.
My perspective is different today. At that time, I was married with two daughters, who were 2 and 9 months old. My husband had just quit his steady job to become an entrepreneur. He was an enthusiastic risk-taker. I was traditional, conservative and liked the predictability of a steady paycheck. The reason goal setting didn’t work for me was that a crucial ingredient was missing. My physical, mental, and emotional safety and security needs were unmet.
I had enough on my plate with the care and feeding of two little ones. I was already overwhelmed and challenged to the max.
My life was in a state of flux. I was standing on shaky legs. I was trying to ignore my true needs in favor of making up some far-reaching goals that didn’t presently hold any interest for me.
Now, am I saying that external goal setting is wrong? No. Reaching for the stars is fine. It just isn’t the whole picture or the most important part. Because of my lack of self-knowledge, I too easily negated my own truth in favor of trying to follow some good ideas that were not right for who I was and where I was in my own life. I too readily assumed that whatever I was naturally and happily doing wasn’t it.
Also, I had an ingrained habit of second-guessing myself. This makes you a magnet for unsolicited input from dominant, controlling, and aggressive people who have a never-ending list of good ideas for your life.
What I know today is that an imaginative glance up the stairs of life creates inspired motivation only when you are respectful and willing to choose what is right action for you today.
Climb the step that is directly in front of you. Rest, relax and then tackle the next step. Before you know it, you will be moving in tune with your personal rhythm, timing and tempo, feeling surefooted as your unknown future unfolds, one step at a time.
Susan teaches seminars locally on using your intuition. Her book, “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind,” is available at our local bookstore. www.susanvelasquez.com.