As 2015 kicks off, most people feel the urge to make plans for the future. Some make resolutions, others set goals, while others sit paralyzed with inaction. As a business development consultant, I often hear clients express the stress and anxiety they feel due to uncertainty and lack of clarity: “the fog”. It’s the moment we speak a goal out loud that a sense of fear and doubt rush in along with that dreaded question, “how”? I cannot imagine the countless dreams that have faded due to that one word question. How?
Many of you have probably heard of the long-distance swimmer, Florence Chadwick. In 1952, Florence set out to swim the English Channel from the Catalina Island to the California coast. That particular day the fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats around her. After 15 hours of swimming she quit, just one-mile from her goal. She is later quoted saying, “I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it.”
It doesn’t take much time around me to know I am a HUGE proponent of setting goals. I believe in the power of written goals so strongly I developed an entire retreat designed specifically as a place for creative businesswomen to come, gain clarity, DREAM BIGGER dreams, and set actionable goals for the upcoming year - BLUEPRINT RETREAT! In order to accomplish a goal, we first need to identify the goal, and secondly we have to stay focused on the goal. It is when we lose sight of the goal that the distance seems unachievable. In the case of Florence Chadwick, it is not the challenge of the swim that caused her to fail, it was the fog which caused her lose sight of her goal.
Most of us wish for a fogless journey. Hower, the reality is that maintaining sight of the ultimate goal doesn’t mean there won’t be unclear spots along the way. It doesn’t even mean the majority of the journey will be without fog. We have to learn to EMBRACE the fog. All we really need to know is our very next step. What can we do today to move closer to our ultimate goal? Learning to break goals down into bite-size, actionable tasks makes them manageable and achievable.
Over Thanksgiving I was spending time at my Grandmother’s house. She had just returned from an unexpected visit to the hospital; a place she has visited frequently this year while battling heart issues. As we talked about her journey with her health this year she said, “You know, I think God only allows us to see small pieces of our lives at a time because if we could see everything that we would go through in our lifetime we would feel it was impossible to overcome.” Hmm.. Isn’t this so true?
When the good and the bad come in small pieces we are forced to take it one thing at a time. In some ways the fog is protecting us. Just like so many of you I wishfully long to know the outcomes and to see the entire path. As we sit down to dream up goals for next year, let’s choose to identify the ultimate goal and then focus on the bite-size pieces; embracing the fog as it forces us to focus only on our next step. One day we will look back and realize we have achieved the impossible, one step at a time!
Keep dreaming big dreams,
Images by Shanna Skidmore