Can You Relate to This?
In the last days of 2017, did you set a goal for yourself?
Maybe it was big, like a juicy promotion. Or a proposal for an exciting new service that you intended to pitch to your boss last February.
Whatever it was, it was super important when you set the goal. Yet here it is, the end of 2018 and you haven’t gotten traction. Every time you’ve thought about tackling it, you found other things to distract you from working on it.
Does that sound familiar? Or is it just me? Because that’s exactly what I discovered when I reviewed several of my 2018 goals. And that led to a lot of reflection. What I discovered—and maybe you can relate—is that underneath the distraction was fear. Fear that I didn’t even know I had.
But there's good news! Once I got in touch with the fear, I was able to use that awareness to jump-start my progress. That's exactly what I'm doing by writing this blog post.
If you’re interested, I’d be happy to share what I’m learning.
Anything but Writing
One of my goals has to do with blogging. Back in December 2017, I stated the goal as “to blog more often.” Actually, I’d love to publish something every week, not just “more often.” I never wrote that down until now because it’s hard to imagine how I could pull that off.
My first excuse was that I’m too busy…How could I find the time to publish on a weekly basis? Digging deeper, I discovered that some of what keeps me “so busy” are things like email, news, managing technology, and other necessary but mundane time fillers. Luckily, I’m not a social media junkie, or I’d be doing that, too.
I knew I needed a writing jumpstart. Luckily, fabulous writing coach, Henneke Duistermaat and Kathy Keats, peak performance coach, teamed up to create a kickass program to help build a solid writing practice. For a description of their program, click here.
One of the activities provided a series of steps to help us "dance with our fears." While it’s geared toward writing, the system doesn’t just apply to writers. Any goal will work, especially if you find yourself procrastinating or stalled. I plan to apply it to any of my 2018 goals that I haven't made satisfactory progress on to see how I can get things moving.
5 Steps to Make Fear Your Ally
Here are the steps. I added Step One based on other work I've done on goal accomplishment:
Step One: Get clear on what the goal is and why it matters to you.
Example: My goal is to publish a blog post every week. It matters because I like to write. I especially like to share my experiences with others who might benefit.
Step Two: Write down specific fears.
I can’t write as well as….
Everything on this topic this has already been written.
This is too personal to share.
Nobody actually reads anything I write.
I have no idea what people want to read.
Step Three: Pick one that feels most difficult to deal with.
Example: I have no idea what people want to read.
Step Four: Identify a tiny step to move forward.
Example: Ask for readers to share some leadership challenges they would like help with.
Step Five: Make a specific commitment to taking the next step described above.
Example: I will make an outline for this blog post tomorrow.
Once I got through Step Five, I had the momentum to carry me all the way through.
So, you may be thinking, “How can it be that simple?” The starting point is recognizing that fear has been the obstacle more than time constraints. Then, surfacing fears that have been lurking below the surface offers something to work with. Finally, identifying a doable action for one of the most difficult fears helps gain traction. I can attest to the fact that it works: it’s the reason you’re reading this post. Now, if I can only keep it up for 2019!
As we enter the home stretch of 2018, I challenge you to pick a goal that needs jump-starting. Try this five-step process and see if the result is greater confidence and more motivation to accomplish your goals. What do you have to lose?
If you’re interested in another approach to accomplishing your goals, check out this post.
Oh, by the way…could you please help me with Step Four? Leave a comment about leadership challenges you would like help with and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts. I’d love to have more concrete ideas about the leadership challenges my readers face. Thanks in advance for your support.