Are you the Captain or the Beach Ball?
In my work as an Executive Coach, in fact in life in general, I frequently encounter those that are frustrated because they are not getting the level of results that they want from their lives. Perhaps they see others that are doing better, going further and getting more and they don’t know why. Many times, work and life demands feel all-consuming and their life does not feel as if it is their own.
Where is your compass?
What I have found is that we all hold the potential to captain our ship but we may be making the choice instead to be a lost beach ball getting thrown to and fro by the waves of life going wherever the demanding sea throws us. Life can be demanding, it has been my experience, that it is a rare day indeed when everything that we want to complete or that needs to be done is completed. We are forced to prioritize and make decisions on where our energy will go each and every day. So how do we make that determination? What compass are we using to help us determine those priorities? If we are the beach ball lost at sea, it is the waves that direct us-other people’s priorities and demands become our priorities, we have no way to steer and may feel out of control and at the mercy of the elements.
If in fact, we have taken the time to navigate our course, to determine what goals we have and what action we plan to take to get us to our goals, we become the Captain. By navigating our course and setting our sites on our plan, we climb out of the water and steer our ship, we gain control of the rudders and while we may still experience the toss of the waves and the demands of others, we have a plan and a sense of where we want to end up. It is only when we take the time to establish where we are going, that our compass can work for us.
Are you in the 3%?
It is estimated that only 3% of the adult population has goals that are written down and these 3% earn more than the remaining 97% combined. It is in getting clear about where you want to be that you set the course on how to get there. How many of us spend time and energy planning a vacation-the route we will take, the activities in which we will participate, the people we will see, the places we will stay, and the list goes on. While I am not saying that it is wrong to plan a vacation for the greatest pleasure and most effective use of our time (I will even admit that I have been accused of going a little overboard in an occasional vacation planning episode), I would challenge all of us to treat our life journey with at least the same, and hopefully more time, energy, time and thoughts about where we wish to go in this life journey.
Where to begin
To begin to plot the course of your life and be the captain of your ship, you need to get clear about where you want to go. I encourage you to get a spiral notebook where you can keep your thoughts together and use this notebook only for your goal setting exercises.
Let’s take a page from Brian Tracy’s, The Miracle of Self-Discipline and follow his 7 step method to setting goals that can transform your life:
- Decide exactly what you want, be specific
- Write it Down-a written goal is something that you can touch, see and modify if needed
- Set a deadline (a reasonable date)
- Make a list of everything that you can think of that you could possibly do to achieve your goal
Examples include obstacles and potential difficulties to address, additional knowledge and skills you may need, people to contact, and everything that you can possibly think of to help you move forward toward your goal
- Organize the list by sequence and priority
- Begin to take action on your plan immediately
- Do something every day that that moves you toward your goal
Make the choice are you the Captain or the lost beach ball?