Last month we talked about the different traits or patterns of behavior that motivate us. I would like to tell you a personal story that illustrates how this works.

Once, when visiting Mexico with my children, I had an amazing experience. We were at a beach where the ocean was very rough and big waves broke very fast and hard close to shore. I was out swimming and heading back toward shore when I realized just how difficult getting out of the water and onto the beach was going to be. I was unprepared for getting caught in the breaking waves. It tumbled me in a mad, churning jumble of water, sand, and pebbles. I panicked. I tried to fight my way to what I thought would be the top of the wave to break free and breathe. My head, chest, and heart were pounding. I desperately tried to gain control of my emotions. The thought passed through my mind that I was not going to make it. Then strangely enough I remembered something my son had told me that morning about this particular beach, and how he had discovered the best way to cope with these waves. He said, “If you get caught in the rotation of the waves, don’t panic, don’t fight them, go with the flow.” I stopped fighting and let go, and found myself “spit up” onto the beach with only a few scrapes and bruises.

For the rest of our vacation, swimming and getting in and out of the ocean became easy and enjoyable. I learned a valuable lesson that day – it’s always better to go with your own flow, using your own strengths within your traits and patterns to your advantage, instead of trying to change who you are and wind up getting tumbled in the waves of life. My natural pattern is to reach for that carrot, know within myself that I can do anything, and look for and use all of the options available. When I heard my son’s words in my head, I knew that was my truth as well and I let go of whatever was keeping me from my natural patterns and strengths.

Knowing your motivational traits/patterns that we discussed last time gives you the knowledge of why you function in a particular way. There is no right or wrong to any of it, it’s just information. As you begin to understand your own patterns and traits, you start seeing them as benefits and attributes. You can then start using them consciously to your advantage. They become your allies and strengths. In doing so you have the option of adjusting how you choose to create your plan of action and pursue your present goals. Accepting your traits/patterns as an ally is choosing to enjoy the journey rather than fighting the wave.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
~ Robert W. Service

Now let’s talk now about creating goals and taking action. It’s like creating a map of the territory you want to cover on a trip or journey. Once you have a goal, you have to plan your course of action. To plan your trip, start with where you are and finish with where you see yourself ending up. Your plan of action is the steps you create between these two points. It’s not about success or failure or competition. It’s about the kind of contribution you want to make to your life and the lifes of others. There will be many ways to get there; you need to figure out which is the best way for you to make that journey. Do you like the mountainous pass or the sweep of the open plains? How many rivers do you have to cross? Is it warm or cold? There are several important steps you must take to ensure the success of your trip.

First – Write the goals down. Write down your “big” dreams. Writing them down somehow makes them seem more real, like you are openly making a commitment to following your dreams. Big or small, every successful business has its goals in writing.

Second – Write down and describe in depth your vision of how your goals will look, sound, feel, taste, and smell, as if you had already achieved them. Submerse yourself in the emotional energy of the end achievement and bring that enthusiasm into each step you take. Use that positive energy to do what is next on your list for that day and notice that you are moving closer to your desired outcome, your long-term goal.

Third – Share your goals with somebody or several people. Letting others know what you want to accomplish not only helps keep you honest about pursuing your goals, but gets the Universe working on it as well. When the Universe knows what you want out of life, it conspires to help you achieve it. As Goethe said, “When one commits oneself, the providence (universe) moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Fourth – Break down goals too large to contend with in one bite. Chunking your goals down into manageable bites or secondary goals helps you understand that it is a journey with a beginning, middle, and end. It gives you the what, who, when, where, and how of reaching your big goal, your dream. This in turn helps keep you motivated and feeling successful. When starting out on your journey, it’s much easier if you not only enjoy each step you take, but do a 180 to make sure you have not left anything undone while on that particular step. It’s a process and gives you the opportunity to learn and reflect on any new experiences and what you have learned, rather than always looking at how far you have to go to reach your final destination.

Fifth – Break it down even further. Get out your daily planner, calendar, palm pilot, etc., and give yourself just one or two mini-goals to do each and every day. By making this part of your daily routine, part of what you do, it easily becomes a habit. You will see that your goals and dreams are feasible. By taking care of just a few of your mini-goals every day you will be motivated and feel successful. Incorporating your mini-goals into your daily “to do” list gives you a feeling for how long it will take to get to the next one. It seems very within reach when you have only one small step to take at a time, while keeping your eye on the primary goal at the end of the path. With your plan and mini-goals, you can see where you are, where you want to go, and know how to get there. And by the end of the week when you look at your map, your active plan of action, you will be surprised at just how far you have already come.

Sixth – Set new goals just prior to the final accomplishment of your old ones to keep motivated. The more experience you have in setting and accomplishing your goals, the more you will understand that the actual journey is much more exciting and fulfilling than the final destination, the goal. Reaching the final goal can sometimes be anticlimactic. That is why it is important to have a new goal in place as you finish your current one. (Keep in mind that your goals span across all the roles you play in your life, so there may be several goals running and overlapping simultaneously, and that is a good thing.) This will keep you motivated and excited about where you are right now, where you want to be, and how to get there.

Six simple steps, that’s all we have talked about. But then talk is cheap; it’s all in the doing. Are you up to the challenge? Yes, you might have to make some adjustments and changes in your life. If you like the outcomes you are currently getting, then congratulations. If not, why not try inventing something new, a new story? You have nothing to lose. As my husband’s grandmother used to say, “If you don’t make something of your life, someone or something else will.”

” A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to it’s old dimensions.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Next month I will address a subject that I think is not talked about enough. It is a subject that one of my readers wanted me to comment on: How do you rekindle a career after having stepped off of that path to pursue other things for a while? It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

I look forward to your comments and questions. If you have a subject you would like me to address, please email me at
[email protected].


Look forward to next time. Carol

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