Question #2 – Do I feel joy in moving forward?

One of the most exciting things about tackling a new goal in life is the feeling of eager anticipation it gives us. We just can’t wait to get started!

Or can we?

People have very different reactions to experiencing (sometimes: drastic!) change in their lives:

  • Some of us seem to live our  lives literally “on the run”. There can never be enough going on to suit us!
  • Others of us begin to hyperventilate if someone dares move a vase of flowers on our coffee table. The thought of going after a promotion or starting our own business is absolutely paralyzing!

Fortunately, most of us are somewhere in between.

How do we deal with a desire to improve our lives by expanding our options and horizons when that desire flies in the face of what we’ve been taught we’re supposed to want or be?

Even when we try to listen to the voice in the inside, we’re continually bombarded with subliminal messages about what Black women

  • shouldn’t like
  • can’t do
  • aren’t good at

The world around us sometimes seems to conspire against our realizing our wildest dreams.  They’re unreasonable, we’re told, as they try to steer us towards what we can “reasonably expect”. In other words: mediocrity.

One of the most effective ways to discover whether you’ve reconnected with your inner voice is the sense of joy you feel at the prospect of inviting positive change into your life!

If you want to know whether or not the goals you plan to focus on for the coming year are coming from someplace deep inside yourself, spend a few minutes on the following exercise.

  1. Take a moment to think about the three most important goals you have for 2011. Think about each one separately – actually visualizing what you and your life will be like once you’ve achieved that goal. In other words, really “see” yourself standing in front of your own boutique or autographing a copy of your newly published book or handing out business cards with your new job title printed under your name.
  2. Let yourself be quiet long enough for your body to register how the visualization of each of your scenarios affects you on a physical level. Is your heart rate constant? Do you have a spontaneous smile on your face? Or do you feel a sense of tension in your chest. Are your hand and feet suddenly cold? Your rational mind can try to convince you that this goal or that project is right for you, but your body doesn’t – can’t! – lie!
  3. If you have a hesitant or negative reaction to any of your goals, take a few minutes to write down what this particular goal means to you. Get to the root of why you feel it is important for you to achieve this particular goal, but also ask yourself what possible advantage(s) postponing – or forgetting! – this goal could have for you.

To help you recognize the values in life that are most important to you, have a look at this What Makes Me Tick? worksheet. It will also help you assess just how well your goals for this year are aligned with the values that govern your life.

Once you have identified the core values that are most important to you, and then chosen (or redefined) goals that honor and support those values, the joy your feel as you pursue those goals will make it easier to stay on track!

Tomorrow: Question #3 – How do I define goals so that I’m motivated to really achieve them?



Filed under Coaching

2 responses to “Question #2 – Do I feel joy in moving forward?

  1. kekemichel

    Hello Trina,
    When you talk about the world seems to conspire against us realizing our wildest dreams, I can identify with that. There are other women that I know who have experienced the same thing. Many women that I know have settled for being a nurse, teacher, and cosmetologist. Very few every pursued their wildest dreams. I had begun studying interior design, I did not pursue it beyond the one year residential design program. Like you said, there were so many people telling me what I could not do, should not do. However, I was the only African American in the Interior Design program (that year at least). And quite frankly, I was not accepted as a peer and the job offers were not forth coming where I lived at the time. Also, family members thought it was strange and they were not supportive at all. I realize that most designers start their own businesses anyway. So, I sought to establish a design service that did not take off. So, I put it on the shelf. But, I still love design work and my niche is creating mood enhancing interiors. I can see how in the near future, I will be able to use those skills with my professional counseling practice. But, during the process it was fierce.
    Also, the three step exercise is great. It forces you to really look at what we say we want and observe how we actually respond to our desires. Finally, analyzing negative responses helps us face our fears. It is important for us to never give up.

  2. Trina

    Keke, your example is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. Sometimes when we do things that are considered “out of the box” we get no support at all. More than that – some people will try to actively discourage us from going forward and achieving a specific goal.

    I’m really sorry to hear that your dream of pursuing a career in interior design didn’t work out. I understand how difficult it must have been to stay the course when you were not only discouraged by family and friends, but also found yourself studying in a hostile environment with slim hopes of getting your foot in the door career-wise.

    I wonder how different your story could have been with the right encouragement and mentoring.

    I’m glad to see, though, they you are taking the lemons life handed you and turning them into lemonade! Every situation has a lesson, and no one who can understand and apply that lesson later in life is ever a failure!

    Thank you for commenting on the exercises. I’m glad they helped! I will be addressing the topic of “fear” later in this series.

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