Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Success Principles ~ Principle 7

Well, I have been absent from Blogland for a little while and for lots of reasons. One reason I'll write about later this week. And the other thing that set me off kilter was I got stumped by Jack Canfield's Principle 7: Unleash the Power of Goal-Setting. You see, at the same time as I'm working through these principles and sharing them with you, I am reading Thomas Leonard's The Portable Coach. And as I was considering the power of goal-setting, I was also reading about unhooking yourself from the future. I had a complete "does not compute" meltdown, which was great because it made me explore my assumptions and do some serious re-thinking. I'll be very interested to hear your perspective.

Jack Canfield's take on goal-setting is to make your goals as specific as possible, to make them measurable and to phrase them in a way that not only makes clear "what" but also "by when." So instead of, "I want to start teaching regular Nia classes this year," I would say, "By September 1, 2007, I want to be teaching a Nia class Mondays at 5:00 pm, Wednesdays at 9:00 am and Sundays at 11:00 am with a minimum of 10 students enrolled in each class."
To support you in making these goals as real and present in your mind as possible, Canfield suggests writing all your goals down, large and small, and reading them three times a day. He suggests creating a goals book with a separate page for each goal and illustrating it and adding to it regularly.

In contrast, Thomas Leonard talks about how focusing so intently on goals and what they will bring us can seduce us into becoming entirely focused on the future and not living in our present. He talks about how people create conditional happiness for themselves with these kinds of goals. For example, how often have you heard, "When I've paid off my debt, then I'll start to enjoy myself," for example. The approach that Leonard suggests instead is, "A better future will find you, no effort required, because you've made the most of the present you've been given."

Getting detailed and specific about plans and ideas has definitely worked for me in the past. And visualizing, especially collecting images of things that I desire, has also supported my dreams. But I do have to say that when my life has flowed the best, when the most wonderful things have occurred, it has been when I've been rooted in who I am, had a general vision of what I wanted and been open to the specifics as they've showed up in my life. When I've been overly concerned with things playing out precisely as I'd imagined them, it has tended to shut things down, tighten things up and doesn't leave room for things that are wildly better than I imagined.

I'm curious to hear which has worked out better for you, detailed visioning and goal-setting or focusing on the present and being open to possibilities.


Leah said...

oh, this is really interesting. i've felt this conflict before, which way to go. honestly, i don't know what has worked better for me in the past. i'll have to think on it some more.

Hello from Julia said...

thanks for your comment. i'll definitely come back to look at your blogs. i have a film recommendation for you, if you can make it: The Protagonist. only one more screening, this tues. 145pm at the isabel bader theatre. i'm sure you'll love it, esp. given the type of work you do. tales of four men's unusual journeys. think euripides. it was really fantastic. the latvian elevator one was cute (thumbs up) but the second latvian film in the same screening was a thumbs down. have a good week. -julia

Shannon said...

Wow, how oddly ....what is the opposite of synchronis? I wonder why those two things appeared at the same time, it's definately got you thinking!

I'm trying to think of which method was been more successful for me and I think oddly (or sadly) neither has. The few long term plans I've made almost all fell through and enjoying the present has often led to some kinda of backlash, mind you that might have been *over* enjoying...

It's got me thinking to now!

Sacred Suzie said...

It's true, the more specific you get, the more happy you'll probably be with the results because there's less chance of it "kind of" being what you want.

Funny, if I knew what I wanted, I bet I could be specific. I find figuring out what I want to be the hardest part.

kiki said...

i don't like to meander about aimlessly, i enjoy having a destination. on the other hand if i'm too focused on the specifics of a goal i start to feel like i'm waiting to be alive. for me, life has felt the best when i've found some type of balance between the two.

Lisa said...

with so much information out there on success and goal setting, I can see how you can have conflict. I just stumbled across a website by Jack Canfield that offers you the opportunity to ask him your questions about success. I think this would be a good one to point out to him. He's very well read and could have a simple explanation. Give it a try.

Melba said...

I Just Love these posts!

Very interesting.

I think I like to make goals for things that are more cleaning the basement or writing more letters
but for big dreamy stuff Like I want to be a prolific artist (a phrase I got from Leah) I think it is best to embrace what comes into my life because the universe has a wonderful plan for me.

It is such a thrill to witness your journey!


krista said...

Thomas is my man on this one. For sure.

Sabine said...

I've been giving this some thought, too, as I've been reading The Success Principles. For me, having goals is extremely important for day-to-day happiness, because it just feels good to have a sense of daily purpose. Just as important, though, is the process of checking in with yourself on a regular basis to make sure that your goals are what you still want. As life unfolds, priorities can change and new opportunities reveal themselves. The problem occurs when your goals don't change or shift to accommodate those changes.

For me, then, it's a matter of having goals, but not keeping a death-grip on them; rather, allowing myself the possibility that--as Canfield says--something even better could come along.

Jamie, I love your blog!