Human beings are pretty funny (as in peculiar as well as ha-ha) creatures. We often crave what we fear, and we also fear what we crave. What I find with both myself as well as my clients and the groups that I work with, that often as fast as 30 minutes after getting all excited about a new tool, goal, or possibility, the mind immediately goes to a problem, a fear, or just focuses on something else and gets distracted, quickly putting the kibosh on our shortly lived excitement.
Clients will often come to me with this complaint, and use it as fodder to beat themselves up further, as if experiencing a let down isn’t enough of a punishment, when it comes to one’s goals or dream. I almost always tell them (and remind myself when I’m in a similar situation) “Take a deep breath, and start treating your fears or resistance with the same love, you would treat a scared child who doesn’t know any better.” They often roll their eyes with a look like, “Oh god what’s next? Breaking a chorus of Kumbaya and other hippie anti-war songs from the 70’s?”
But here’s the thing, if we judge that part of us that is afraid the fear will continue to take over and we won’t be able to separate that aspect of self that is totally committed to the goal, and that part is just afraid.
So Step 1 is and always will be, breathe, take a breath and send love to that scared, resistant part, and if you do, it will always shift. Not always right away but eventually because when we have compassion for ourselves (that’s not the same as making excuses or being in denial) then we’re better able to break through the resistance.
Step II is to reconnect with what the dream or the goal is even if it doesn’t have the same fire as before. Remember we have a relationship with the dream, not just a dream, and relationships are not always fluid. Sometimes they’re grumpy, disconnected and not passionate. Other times they are heartfelt, joyful and creative. Still others it’s everything in between. Be flexible with where you are at with your specific dream.
Step three is to get support. Call a friend. I have an action buddy and several colleagues that I can call when I’m feeling gummed up and disconnected from my dream. Many of my coaching clients (especially the ones that are very proactive) will reach out and let me know what’s going on and ask for support and I welcome it.
Step Four is to take an action that furthers the dream. It could be small or large, but taking any action towards the dream, moves us closer and connects us with the energy and excitement of it. I was in a great workshop the other day, with Mark LeBlanc and I loved his “square meal, square deal Minneapolis” attitude when he said, “Don’t trust the process, trust the practice,” meaning when we create a specific practice of routines that involve actions on a regular basis towards our dreams, that’s when our dreams materialize.
So in summary, when you find yourself losing momentum towards a goal:
- Stop. Breathe. See that scared resistant part of you, as a scared child who doesn’t know any better and just send that part love.
- Reconnect with the goal and the reason it jazzes you up. For me, I will write a blog, practice a bit of a presentation or engage in some of the creativity around the project and be reminded, “Yes, that is why I love doing this,” almost immediately. Otherwise I get what I call, “creative amnesia.”
- Get support. Work with a coach, or call a friend or colleague. Meditate for 10 minutes, whatever support looks like for you at this time in your life. Ask for what you need so you can best be supported.
- Take Action on the Dream- Again it could be a creative action to get the juices flowing but be honest with yourself and take an action that while accessible, stretches you a bit. One of the best actions I ever took as a speaker was a cold call to a Speaker’s Bureau even though I was scared and “didn’t feel ready.” Make sure to take the action with the pure goal of the joy of taking action rather than its specific outcome.
Lastly, welcome to the Club! The Club of Human Beings. You’re a card-carrying member, so yes this stuff is going to come up AND you have a choice at every moment to allow your feelings to dictate your life, or your commitment to what’s important–to be in the front seat of your Personal Power mobile.
I want to hear from you! What spoke to you about this blog? Let’s create a dialogue around this very important topic? What do you do when you lose momentum to get back on track?