It is only been six months into 2021, and I think we can all agree, even just six months in, “what a year it has been!”
From pandemic to puttering in pyjamas while, day after day, working from home. From closures, and stay at home orders, to Zoom meetings and mask regulations. From vaccines to virtual everything! The pandemic of 2020 (which has lingered into now) was devastating for some, and bad for all.
Human beings the world over have spent a year and a half longing to “get back” to the lives they once lived. But backward is never the right direction to move in life. Some parts of our old lives are well worth recovering and rediscovering, but others should be replaced and re–invented.
So let me during this blog, not spend time reviewing what has been, or even yearning for what was, but rather challenging a little (or as I say to my clients – a gentle nudge) to simply “lean in to what can be.” To paraphrase Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup fame) when life does not go well “there’s a four letter word you must use……..next!”
So what’s next? Well that is up to you. Sure the timing of vaccine rollouts, opening procedures and even statutory regulations is going to influence and impact a lot, but what is next for you? Let me say that I think, given my 24 years’ experience in coaching, mentoring and counselling, that I think it comes down to Two (I bet you thought I was going to say 3), no, only Two Pivotal Choices.
1. Backwards or Forwards
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.“ (Aristotle)
With the right habits, anyone can dramatically increase results in almost any field of endeavour. If I choose the habit of no snacks after supper, and healthier choice of meals, and a hefty walk every day, I am destined to lose some weight. But the habit can either be focussed on forward movement or a backward trajectory.
Maybe we wish things were ‘normal again’, that is a judgement based on backward viewing. I might choose the habits mentioned above to lose weight, but the question is, do I tell myself I want the weight I had “before”, or do I have an objective that is better based on the reality of what is now, and what I want moving forward?
I have always loved the quote: “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” (Jim Rohn) Where are your Habits taking you? Are you into backward glances (just want it the way it once was) or are you forward looking (seeking a new horizon for what can be in the new reality given the ever renewing person you are today).
Ask yourself – are you doing what you are doing today, different then before? Are to tackling what you are tackling today with the goal of just “getting back to where you were?” or are “going to where you would like to be?” They are very different goals, very different landing spots, and very different habits.
2. Achievable or Alignment
When my nephew was 7 years of age he was tackling the task of tying his shoes. He practiced, and practiced and practiced. He had (and even has today) great habits. One day, after an absence of a bit over a month from interaction with him, I asked him how tying his shoe was going. He gave me a frustrated annoyed look, like only a 7 year old can, and said “I know how to do that, now I am learning to ride a bike.” He had mastered one, and now had moved on to another.
Brendon Burchard says, “what’s achievable is not always what’s important.” Often we set a goal because we know we can. What I admired about my nephew then (and now) is that he is constantly in a “what’s next” mode (I’d like to think he gets that from his uncle). When I asked him about his shoe tying abilities, he didn’t pause and show off that he could, he instead, stated the reality that this was done, and now a new horizon was ahead. He had aligned himself with a new objective, a new talent, a new set of habits and principles that were going to get him toward where he wanted to be, even if he didn’t know fully where that was. To be in alignment does not mean that we fully know what is ahead, we just know what the motion is that will get us there. It’s a constant self-improvement, expansion of tools and enhancement of abilities that align, or set us up, for the success and opportunities going forward.
The six month mark of 2021, gives us an opportunity to set the achievable, or to sail with what is in alignment. We can just accept what can be returned to, or we can take the time to look at the next challenge and align ourselves with that reality.
Yes we want things to open up, firm up and steady up, those are achievable, so let’s do them out of habit like a 7 year old would a shoe needing to be tied. Let’s align ourselves with embarking toward what is ahead… with a new goal, new threshold, (new bike), new world that you want to conquer, explore (ride) and make your own? Not just where we have been (we have proved that is achievable), but a new reality which we can make alignable to who we want to become.
One of the reasons I formed Phoenix Life Coaching Canada was to help clients get “unstuck so they can lead lives they have never imagined.” This is possible by surrendering what is “back there”, which often gets us stuck, and accepting a Model of Thought committed not to the circumstances but the results, and developing a series of practices rooted in leaning in one direction – forward - and with one objective - #tomakeitso.
To be honest, I am very excited for the next six months. Not just because I can go back to patio dining, in store shopping, walking without a mask, watching a movie in a theatre, and maybe even being in a boardroom with others. That is all achievable. I am energized about the next six months because of what is forward and what I am aligning myself to - make it so!
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