It is human nature to wish and have something to look forward to; after all, hope is said to spring eternal in the human heart. Labeled Hedonism; the human desire for seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is a part of us, a facet we should embrace and celebrate as a fundamental part of our social makeup.
For it is this very sense that comes into play when we are faced with unpleasant situations. The feeling of discomfort as the pleasure of the familiar is ripped away from us, creates the desire for us to move out of our present condition into a better state. I value this discomfort, for it is what I call the “mindseed” that will change our path in life if heeded and start a new adventure for us. There are, however, gaps or shortcomings of this very noble desire to change and being able to bring about the change.
Memories returned from one of many evenings when I sat amongst best friends on a lazy summer night overlooking the city skyline as we ate, sipped drinks and laughed, and joked and chatted the night away, sharing unfiltered joys and “lessons.” Realization of the fact that such a massive gap existed between our dreams and any structured plan by people to achieve them dawned on me at that time. This was triggered by a joke a friend made “If you ever want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for the future.”
“If you ever want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans for the future.” As I sat there, I remembered how often we had gone through the same ritual in which we had shared our ideas and personal perspectives of ours and others’ lives; always as great friends, we listened attentively first. What I believe our difference was, however, was the game of role-play we played with our plans, named What would X do? We sought inspiration from someone we admired; it could be a celebrity, a legendary figure, or the like, who would be adept at fulfilling and succeeding fabulously at dealing with the situation or achieving the task at hand.
What started as a joke game between us, soon became a gem in finding new ways to shift perspective to solve a problem or achieve something. It was not fated laughing at our plans, but a different perspective needed to see our blindspots. Dreams and bucket lists, without timelines, were made by us, then forgotten, then reminded to each other and haltingly somehow these were achieved. Overall it was fun, but surely there had to be more to it.. and a more natural way! It was just too painful and uncomfortable to slog away at making one’s life better while fighting distractions and exhaustion.
Looking back at those times and comparing our story to that of my Life Coaching clients today, I’m reminded over and again of how many dreams, hope, try, and then become frustrated. Luckily for me, no sooner had I wished that the process could be made in easier, that life in its strange way allowed me to befriend a highly successful older colleague-turned-mentor, who it seemed, avoided the public eye in proportion to the extent that his advice was much sought after.
My mentor had gained international recognition and status in the finance industry, which I was a part of at the time and shared his diverse knowledge and insights (which I will share in future articles) that I had never known existed. Between those office breaks, I learned and was pushed to implement a technique to bring those plans which previously existed only between friends or in my head to life: Get them out on paper (“birth them,” he said). Plans which live in your head aren’t subject to strict scrutiny, compared to something physically observable.
We either kill our bright ideas with negative self-talk or keep our thoughts inside our heads for so long that we become comfortable with dwelling on them, rather than implementing them. These plans do not hold any evidence of changes or evaluation, nor do they allow for another’s perspective if one doesn’t have the luxury of a confidant that gets it when you speak. While on the topic of writing down one’s plans, I would like to add that perhaps you, in a similar way to me, have long since lost any desire that I once had for traditional journaling.
A set time frame and book of thoughts now resembles the homework of school days way too much for my carefree spirit. I have, however, developed the knack of doodling. This simple act of making random patterns on paper to represenmet and vent my mood or feelings at the time opens up creative expression pathways. After doodling a bit, I write my thoughts, plans, hopes, and dreams; however wild they are, without judgment on whatever scrap of paper is available to me at that time and then collected it.
This means I can never say that I couldn’t write as my book was elsewhere. Forgetful of any rules of grammar, punctuation, and neatness, I scribble, draw and create or welcome in new ideas in a colossal mess on paper, a mess that I have learned to fall in love with. I have learned to enjoy expressing myself and by doing so have given myself the most significant reward ever to myself; I can date and look back and change my plans- I can celebrate baby steps, significant milestones, and my successes while holding myself accountable and put dates to my past and future goals. Make friends with the fact that plans and goals are your creations and painting on the canvas of life, a creation that you can bring to fruition, raise, develop, and enjoy living in.
I know that I can achieve anything now, without discomfort- at least not at the level of discomfort that would make me run away. The shyness and creative blocks have long since disappeared since I picked up that pen the first time, in of all places an investment bank with me formally dressed, surrounded by contracts and on the serving end of the desk, wondering why I had stayed so long: A familiar thought by that stage in my life.
Little did I realize that my perfectly-formed intentions and images of the future I wished for had so much more to work on that I had overlooked. My personal beliefs, my actions, and my desired goals were not in alignment with each other; I was more the trapped artist than the free soul living and doing what I wanted and when I wanted. As I confided in my then mentor, that I had decided to change perspective from the trapped artist into the captain of a pirate ship, with my boat as my life (cliché much), I remembered feeling great as I anticipated being congratulated on my new awareness of my mind and life patters.
I was checked immediately with a piercing gaze and questioning voice: Who was I running from? Why am I a pirate? After all, a storybook pirate by nature has to flee and fight. My mentor had brought my sub-conscience tendency of over-zealous thinking to light. My make-believe character showed who I was at the time and who I was planning on becoming out of old patterns; again, out of alignment with my current situation. My current location was a star member of the team; the problem was my lack of fulfillment as I had already achieved and overachieved in a job that had started with a childhood dream of working in the finance industry.
A more apt character was needed. So I created the role of one who would travel, help others, learn, and teach. I didn’t have a name for the character at that time. These lessons from this mentor, came from days long before life coaching had become a thing. I had no idea that the semi teacher-student, semi parent-child level my mentor had engaged me in, had, in fact, most of the techniques of life 24 coaching. Years later, attending life coaching classes for certification, these memories brought a smile to my face.
Though my journey is far from over, as a partner in the learning process, I hope that you, too, can experience these bits of joy in years to come, when looking back on yourself today. I hope that by me sharing these moments with you, you, too, gain inspiration, learn how to role-play an appropriate character to find the perspective needed to achieve your goal. Write out your plans, doodle.. do whatever you need to get your expression and your creative juices flowing.
Write it out and lastly, evaluate your written plan, and get an external perspective. Having a vision of what you want or at least don’t want in your life is one of the most important steps to being a successful achiever in the life coaching process. Do not let you stop you. Kearan is a certified personal life mentor and business mentor and is also trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
His passion for moving people forward and upwards formally started with his degree in Clinical Psychology as well as Organizational Development. Feel free to reach out to Life Coaching today and join Kearan; you too can be a part of and know why self-empowerment through life coaching has become a global phenomenon.