I give workshops in which I help people to align with their purpose, to build a strategy for their life and business, to proper planning and other structured stuff.
In doing so, I use a lot of formats and frameworks. And I ask them to set specific goals.
Sometimes, this results in resistance. It shows as a resistance to the form or the tool.
I hear back that it's too much structure. Their uniqueness and full humanness can't possibly fit in a framework. It will restrict them too much and they need to be free.
That it's not their style. They prefer to stay in the moment and let the universe come to them. Focusing on something will cloud their presence and that way they'll miss what the universe is ready to provide.
That goal-setting and business models are SO a decade ago. We're more enlightened now. Don't you know that everything of real importance is available in abundance? Goals are superficial. Nothing you'll achieve will make you truly happy. Happiness is an inner-state.
Now, these all might be true. Maybe not committing or not using a framework is exactly what they need to do. But it could also be an excuse. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't all of these sound like great excuses to put you off the hook? To put off taking action and to keep drifting along.
Could it be that the form only brings to light the fear they have to choose, to commit or to express?
Why do I think so? Because I experience it too whenever I have to make a decision to commit to something or whenever I have to make something explicit. I recognize myself in the resistance.
The 10 things I'm afraid of
It's much easier not to commit, to not choose something or to not fully go for it. It's easy to keep all your options open until the perfect thing comes along. There is no (short-term) risk involved.
I do it all the time. It's fear that's holding me back. It's fear for different things. Maybe you recognize these voices.
I'm afraid to be explicit about what I want. Because once I formulate it, write it down, speak it out, admit that I want it, I'm on the hook to act. Best not think about it too much and keep myself in the unknown.
I'm afraid to have to get into the real world with my goals and share them. Because this will reveal to others what I really want. Which makes me vulnerable to ridicule and possibly sabotage. Best keep it all to myself.
I'm afraid to give it a go. Because it might not work. The tactics might be wrong, the timing off or I simply am not able to do it. That sucks. Best not try, self-sabotage myself or not give it my all. Because you can't fail if you don't really try right?
I'm afraid I'll make the wrong decision. Because it means I'll have wasted my (and other people's) time. Best wait around and think some more about what to do.
I'm afraid I'll miss out on something better. Because when I fill up my time I can't say yes to everything else that happens then or might still come along. Best keep my options open.
I'm afraid it will result in something I won't like. That it's going to be way harder, will take way longer or will include a lot of grunt work. That sucks. Best to stick with what I know.
I'm afraid to own up to the responsibility that it is my life and I get to take action. Because if I fail in that case, I only have myself to blame. Best leave it to the universe then.
I'm afraid of the power of focus. Because if I really put my foot on the gas it might go way faster than I'm comfortable with. Best take it slow.
I'm afraid that it will actually work. But it turns out it isn't what makes me happy. Because that will mean I was acting on false beliefs and reasoning. Best not shatter that world view and open up that can of worms! Who knows what else needs to change then.
And maybe, I'm afraid that I'll be happy. Because what will I do when I've gotten what I wanted? Best stick with the 'known imperfections'.
A more empowering story around taking action
Now, all these fears in me are real. You might recognize some of them. Maybe you have some other ones. They are my friends. And, in their own short-sighted way, they try to help and protect me. However, they're not always empowering me.
So, I listen to their advice. And ignore it when I can. I've got the power to choose a better way. That's self-leadership.
That better way? Allow me to tell you a more empowering story. Here is what I believe.
The Buddhist have this saying: "This being so, so what?”. So, yes, you need to see reality as it is and it helps if you can find happiness in what is. It's ok if you choose to do nothing and be content with that. But, if you have a desire to increase fulfillment in your life, then act. Dare to create happiness for yourself.
And yes, maybe the universe has a plan for you and if you listen carefully enough things will come your way. But you can't control or influence that (or at least I don't know how to). That's why I choose to take ownership of what I can control and do the best I can.
And yes, goal setting and business models are mere frameworks and maybe they've been around since an even more mechanistic era. But, you can use them as a tool instead of an end goal. Tools for motivation, action, and structure. Indeed, reaching the goal is not what will make you happy. It's who you have to become to achieve it that matters.
So, use committing, choosing and goals as tools to create momentum and progress. In movement, you can start to align closer to where you want to go to. And progress creates more opportunities that you couldn't see before you started.
Commitment is only scary when you're uncertain about what you value and how it is going to play out. Action and experiencing something is how you learn about that.
And maybe you'll make a wrong decision. But not making a decision is also a decision. And it's probably not a better one. Make the best decision you can with the information you have now. Doing so will give you more information.
And yes, it might not work. Yes, you might struggle. The only way to know if it's going to work is to try. But if you value the goal and its purpose, you'll find better tactics. The only way to find out is to try.
And even failing miserably is not the end of the world. Decisions can be reversed most of the times. But you can never go back and reclaim lost time due to waiting.
So choose a direction. You'll be able to align even closer to your true north once you do.
Commit to doing something for a certain period of time. You'll adjust to a better plan afterward.
Use the best frameworks and tools you have at your disposal. You'll find even better ones, once you get started.
This is my take on it. My interpretation. But maybe you completely have a different take on it and your way works too. I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment!
Thanks for reading!
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