This is the second in a series of posts outlining workshops I will be giving at Esprit 2014 in Port Angeles, Washington in May. The rest of the week, I will be blogging with shortened snippets of workshops I am doing in Indiana and Chicago over the summer.
We all have dreams. Our dreams have a beginning, middle and end - and a slump. It is normal for anyone pursuing a goal to hit a dark night of the soul, a period of inactivity, a time of questioning. This often comes as the result of outside influences or criticisms. We start believing others more than we believe in ourselves. Where are you in your dream path?
In coaching, this happens to everyone. It is normal to have a lull somewhere around the 5th or 6th coaching session. Here are some of the techniques my clients use to reignite the fire.
1. Make Your Goals Emotional
Old school strategic planning says make goals that are concrete and measurable. In larger projects, you may have been provided with steps in the process that are predetermined and tied to a specific point in time - a school graduation, a surgical procedure, a specific job interview. These old school concrete and measurable items are not your goals. They are the strategies for achieving your goals. A strong goal generates an emotional response within you. How will it feel when you graduate, complete your surgery, get that job, lose the weight? THAT FEELING IS YOUR GOAL. When the slump occurs, it is easier to get reenergized by focusing on how you will feel, than to try and rev yourself up for the concrete and measurable task you are working toward.
2. Rate Your Influencers
Often the slump is the result of something an person has said or done or a situation has occurred to make us question the path we are on. There are two choices which are not productive - take on the role of the victim and do nothing or take on the role of the fighter and spend your energy trying to strike back. It is more productive to take a step up energetically and take an "I win" attitude. In order to win, you need to identify your winning team. To do this make a list of all of the people in your life right now who have an influence on you. Remember, influence can mean positive and negative, so list them all. Now, on another page, make three columns and label them "Champions", "Spectators" and "Phhhttt" (the sound you make when you blow a raspberry). Now sort your list into these three categories. Champions are the people who are in your corner - mentors, coaches, best friends. Spectators are people who observe, but offer very little influence either way. Phhhttt are the naysayers. If there is a person who has started your questioning yourself and your dream, they most definitely are in the "Phhhttt" list. Now the last step is to contact each of your Champions and briefly draw some positive energy from each of them. Let them wallow in the dream with you. Let them share your passion. Then, for grins, contact one Spectator that you feel has the most potential for becoming a Champion and connect with them. This step will help you keep adding to your Champion list. What do you do with the Phhhttt's. Nothing. Just keep their list around so that when they speak in the future, you know to ignore them.
3. Set a "Next Step" Immediately
The most important response to a slump is to unslump. Look at your strategic plan and pick out something you can do immediately that says "progress" to you. Start doing something within the next five minutes that will be a physical commitment to moving forward. The most threatening villain to inactivity is activity. What you will find is that one activity usually leads to two or three others and you will find yourself back on track.
Again, this is a 90-minute workshop very much abbreviated and generalized for public consumption. Let me know if these techniques help you overcome the inevitable slump. Keep on track. Dream big. Energy attracts like energy.