Hold onto your hats, because I am going totally off-book today.
Stop setting goals!
What kind of coaching is that?! We all know that the greatest tool a coach – life, sport, business, and the rest – is goal setting. Right? Just hit the Google and you will find goal setting strategies, tools, rules, hacks, and scientific guides. Hell, Tony Robbins himself will tell you that, “GOAL SETTING IS THE SECRET TO A COMPELLING FUTURE!!!” (Why does the man have to scream everything?) Who am I to argue with the guru? Yet here I am doing exactly that. And in a well-moderated tone at that.
Let’s take a look at how typical goal setting plays out. We’ll play it S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based.
Sounds positively horrible, doesn’t it? There’s a cyclical nature to goal setting that, well, keeps coming back on itself. Tautological, sure, but the point is, you never escape. The happiness that comes from reaching a goal is short-lived, and the emotional toll taken by not achieving it is devastating.
I propose that we stop setting goals and start setting intentions and then live as though we already exist within them. Every decision that we make after that point is with our future self in mind. "What would a healthy me eat?" or "What would the world's most effective legacy coach do?" The key is to decide who your future self is and then commit yourself to him or her. Beyond that, for me, I am a person who honours her commitments. Combine those with my values to serve love and lean into fear, and I will always be moving in the right direction.
That's key, though, isn't it? It's about moving in the right direction, toward that vision you have of yourself. If it's all about the journey, then you will be more flexible when you hit a stumbling block. Whereas the failing to achieve a goal can stop you in your tracks and stymie you into inaction, a roadblock is seen as a detour, a challenge to figure out the way forward. You may find that your truth, your direction, isn't as set in stone as you once thought when you were goal setting.
As recently as this time last year I believed that I was going to work directly with the dying and their families. Blown by the winds - as we dragonflies are wont to do - I arrived at a new place. I came to realise that my strengths lay in helping people heal their relationships. From that perch it was easy to see that the ramifications of healing relationships earlier in a person's life than at their deathbeds were far-reaching; end-of-life is simply the last best time to do it, while there's still time to pluck their wounded inner children off of the family tree.
I'm reminded of the story of the old carpenter, a homebuilder. He went to his employer and announced that he was ready to retire. The boss asked him for one thing, to build one last house before he called it quits. The carpenter agreed but didn't put his heart into the build. He didn't choose the materials he used as fastidiously as usual. He put the house up as quickly as he could, and his workmanship suffered for it. He shrugged and decided it was good enough. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.
When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, "This is your house... my gift to you."
The carpenter was shocked!
What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.
So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently.
But, you can't go back. You are the carpenter and every day you hammer a nail, place a board or erect a wall. Someone once said, “Life is a do-it-yourself project."
Your attitude and the choices you make today helps build the house you will live in tomorrow, and it is your children's house of the future. Build wisely.
What do you want your legacy to be?
This is the part where I usually just post an aside, another something that struck me this week. This is kinda that, just a very quick one. Mostly, I want to thank the City of Calgary for this weekend's Doors Open YYC. While the weather was abominable - pun intended - we managed to take advantage of it. It really was a weekend of outside the box.
Did you know that we have a Buddhist monastery in Calgary? Did you even notice as it grew from one to four storeys? It's called Avatamsaka and it's on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Tenth Street, just south of the Tenth Street (Louise?) Bridge. It is incredible! Its fourth floor houses ten thousand hand-crafted Buddha statues of various sizes, each with a sutra sealed within. I can't imagine the patience it must've taken the volunteers to finish them. The monastery is gorgeous, and peaceful, and open for meditation every Wednesday to people of all faiths from 7-9p. Amitabha.
My second event wasn't exactly city-sanctioned; it was a birthday party for the one year-old son of my hypnotherapy instructor. My initial reaction was that this wasn't necessarily the optimal venue for me, a middle-aged childless woman, but I chose to go and was rewarded for it. After an awkward few minutes (of being one of the only adults dressed up as a pirate), I leaned into my fear and began chatting with a woman who was with Children's Cottage Society, a local not-for-profit group dedicated to addressing the needs of families through five main programs: Crisis Nursery, Healthy Families, Brenda’s House, Housing, and Community Respite. (In lieu of gifts, my instructor asked that donations be made to this worthy cause.)
After a while conversation began to develop with other people standing around the kitchen island. Like we do. There were adults of all ages - new parents, me and my new best friend Amanda, and grandparents alike. The topic turned to public speaking somehow, which was very much in keeping with the week I had had. Wednesday I went to a Women's Talk on Wednesday. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's similar to a Ted Talk, only begun here in town by Brigitte Lessard-Deyell and, uh, estrogen-driven. It was my first, and I have since bought a membership and begun writing my own Talk. Thursday I went out again(!), this time to a Fabulous@50 event, a talk by Karen McGregor all about speaking on stage. What was interesting was the acknowledgement that public speaking is scarier to most people than death. I guess it makes sense from an anthropological standpoint; back in our tribal days, if you didn't fit in, you would be cast out, forced to fend for yourself. It's amazing how our brains haven't evolved beyond those thoughts.
Next stop post party was somewhere called Taiko Canteen. I don't know if it was part of DOYYC, but it was a blast. We played a silly nine holes of mini golf - what they called Lucky Putt, and laughed our way around the "course." It was in what is now being referred to as Calgary's Barley Belt, which I didn't realise until I saw the banner. I had heard about a barbecue place down there which, I was assured, was the best in town. Paddy's. We arrived early, about 5:15, and the place was packed, always a good sign. We were shown to a table and went up to the bar to grab a flight for me ($8) and a four-ounce draught for Shel ($2). We were seated at a communal table and were joined by a nice family, mom, dad and their two teenage sons, one of whom could drink, so I'll assume 18. It was Dad's birthday. It was their first time there as well, so we foundered together.
It was great fun.
Today - Sunday - we went to check out the new(ish) Central Library. We booked the early tour, 11a before the doors had even opened. It is a gorgeous spot and so multi-purpose. I know I will be taking advantage of its AV studio when it comes time to create my own videos. It's a great spot not only for research material and fiction, but also to learn about Calgary's history and for meeting rooms. (I feel like I'm selling these places, but I'm not; I'm just sold on 'em.) The tour ended around 11:45, but we stayed until 1:00. I cannot wait to bring my mother-in-law there in a couple of weeks!
Last stop on this Play Tourist Weekend was Red's in Ramsay. Sorry, Red's, but I was always told, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Well, the service was good...
Isn't it fun to explore where you live? I have been very fortunate to've been able to travel over the years. I am grateful for the experience. It will allow me to, well, you know...
Leave the world better.
Christie Morden is Calgary's premier emotional legacy coach. Her unique and revolutionary Quicknotherapy, a blend of hypnotherapy and coaching techniques, helps her clients achieve results fast and get the healing that they and their families need to break the cycle of generational emotional trauma.
Mental Health Coach