Wisdom Workout


One Step At a Time

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Goal setting is a staple of motivational success techniques. Come up with your five top goals. Be specific. Are they realistic? Have you set out a time-line for when you will achieve these goals? See yourself in possession of these outcomes. Plan the work. Work the plan. Establish an attitude of expectant positivity.

I was introduced to this motivational wisdom in my 20s. My attempts at goal setting invited and activated two main experiences. Anxiety and worry.

Worry showed up first. What should I want? What happens if I’m wrong? What if I don’t have what it takes? Here’s where anxiety entered.

Why don’t I know what I want? How come the more I think about this stuff, the more depressed I feel? What’s wrong with me? How come I can’t be more positive? Maybe I’m a born loser? By that time, the next phase of the instructions kicked in.

Share your goals with the rest of a group. Apparently, stating what you want in front of others was supposed to add to the excitement and enthusiasm. Now that I was both worried and anxious, this added challenge brought the third unexpected guest. Lying by making up goals that would sound good.

I wasn’t willing to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and cop to the fact that I was so threatened and overwhelmed that at that moment, my true top goals were to disappear instantly, be miraculously transported back home and under the covers, to be content with what I already had and to be spared the humiliation of bursting into tears in front of this whole group.

Goal setting didn’t work for me because there was one important ingredient that was missing. My mental and emotional safety and security needs were not met. I was overwhelmed before I even got there. I was already challenged to the max.

My life was in a state of flux. I was standing on shaky legs. I was trying to visualize the top of the stairs while ignoring the importance of climbing the steps one at a time. I was trying to ignore my true needs in favor of making up some far-reaching ego goals that didn’t presently hold any interest for me.

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. I was trying to follow some good ideas that were not right for where I was in my own life. I too readily assumed that whatever I was naturally and happily doing wasn’t good enough.

What I know today is that an imaginative glance up the stairs of life creates inspired motivation only when you are firmly standing in the self-knowledge of who you are today. Once you know where you are, climb the step that is directly in front of you. Rest, relax and reground and then tackle the next step.

Before you know it, you will be moving in tune with your personal rhythm, timing and tempo, feeling sure-footed as your unknown future comes to you and unfolds one step at a time.


 Susan writes and produces seminars on how to Unleash The Power of Your Intuition. susanvelasquez.com



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