The early morning sky today reveals the past. Journeys taken by airplanes, one after another, thrusting their way to a common destination. The trails remain, for a while, then dissipate, lost into the passage of time.
I wonder if we have trails too? Human trails of being? Invisible to others, often invisible to us. Trails which reflect a path we have journeyed; a choice we made, a decision we took, a thought we encountered.
Maybe the paths, like airplane trails, fade quickly? So quickly we don’t see them overlaid, repeated. We lose sight of the flight paths previously flown. The recurring patterns of thought, behaviour, choice… The fact that they might follow a similar route, that they might point to a common destination, is lost to us. But if they did linger, maybe we could see their purpose? Their intent? Their focus?
Maybe then we would know what silent beacon calls them?
These human trails of being.
When you choose the behaviour, you choose the consequences
All too often we focus on the end game. The result. The success. The failure. The implications. The achievement. The gain. The outcome. The goal. The consequences.
How we get there though, colours the outcome. It is the ‘how’ that people notice and the ‘how’ that people remember. It is the ‘how’ that affirms alignment to our values.
Many of us write lists. The ‘to do’ list is a favourite.
Jobs for the weekend, reminders of tasks for the day job, lists of objectives for the project, even a list of things to buy for a birthday…
These lists tend to be full of tasks. Doing things. Activities to complete, assignments to progress, promises to keep.
How often do we create an emotional ‘to do’ list?
Today, I need to feel joyous, curious, excited and relieved. Tomorrow I plan some happy, a bit of stressed (because I will need that adrenaline) and a ton of relief, because I can foresee a few minutes of sad.
I recently attended an event where the group was encouraged to reflect on sources of happiness in their lives. We then shared and told stories of how and why that happiness had arrived for us. We pledged to each other to do more of that in our lives going forward (whatever it was for each of us). Having people bear witness seemed to help.
So, what’s on your long term emotional ‘to do’ list, and how do you plan to get more or less of the emotions you want or don’t?
It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.
G K Chesterton
Sometimes the bounty we seek is on the inside.
Sometimes it lies in a direction we are blind to.
Sometimes we need someone else’s mirror to help to look where we need to look.
What is it?
Like so many of life’s most important treasures, it seems almost intangible, hard to put your finger on, illusively difficult to describe. floating in the ether. Yet of immeasuable significance to us.
For when it is absent, all seems lost. Its magnitude then, monumental. Its impact, seismic.
An important element seems to be a goal. An intent. An objective. And then there needs to be choice. A sense that we can see alternatives. Pathways. When there are none, hope is lost. A will to get there seems to be the final ingredient. A desire to make the choice and a drive to work towards the aim, however difficult. We all lose sight of one of these from time to time – goal, alternatives, will. Perhaps hope is lost when they all leave us?
Why are the most important things in our human lives so hard to quantify, to describe, to grasp? Hope, belonging, love, freedom, will, happiness…
There are many ways of moving forward, but only one way of standing still.
Franklin D Roosevelt
We notice stuck. When we experience it, stuck draws our attention. We can’t see past it. We feel it pinning us down. Stuck consumes us.
When we’re stuck we become blind to possibilities. Ways to move forward. Advancement. Growth. Movement. All seem out of reach when stuck grasps us.
Yet there are always more ways of moving forwards.
Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest?
Seize this very minute; whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.
For boldness has magic, power and genius in it.
Begin it now.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Illustrator: Tim Lahan
When a man doesn’t know what harbour he is making for,
no wind is the right wind
I was speaking to a prospective coach client this morning. They described themselves as lost. The work appears to be about self, about who they are.
They asked me how they would know when they had achieved their goal; I responded with a question, asking how they know now? How they know they need to come to coaching, that they are indeed ‘lost’?
They responded that they ‘feel it’. And so I said, ‘that’s how you will know.’
Sometimes knowing where we are headed is important, but so too is knowing how we will know we have arrived. Without this, any wind, any movement, is without purpose and just as likely to take us the wrong way as to take us the right way.
These were the words I heard this morning.
I laughed at first, but then, on reflection, realised the logic was irrefutable.
My wife was explaining a need to go to the shop, to buy pizza, so that we could have pizza for tea. The sequence of the thinking intrigued me.
It seemed to highlight the significance of setting a goal and that once the goal is in place, the steps, the resources, the requirements to fulfil that goal can follow. They become almost inevitable. The goal is pizza, pizza is required, pizza comes from the shop.
So, if you can’t have pizza without pizza, maybe…
You can’t change without changing?
You can’t move without moving?
You can’t learn without learning?
You can’t grow without growing?
You can’t see without seeing?
You can’t feel without feeling?
You can’t be without being?
Of course, these action words necessitate a self awareness – a knowledge of both the intended goal. the current state and a means of connecting them. What is learning for me? What is it I want to change? What am I feeling and what do I want to feel? What am I moving towards and how do I create movement for me? Who am I, who is the person I’m seeking to be?
It is true you can’t have pizza without pizza, but knowing what pizza you want will certainly deliver a more satisfying meal.