Testing your goals – how committed are you?
You have plans for 2008, important goals you want achieved. Yet have you given any thought to how much of your success will depend on what you believe? And the strengths of those beliefs?
More important than the level of your skills
What you believe about your ability to go out and make those goals happen will impact your results. What you sort of believe doesnt count! Maybe doesn’t count! Only firm beliefs will give you the determination and conviction to keep going when you hit resistance. Or obstacles. Any goal worth achieving will have a few obstacles.
What self talk reveals …
Listen to the questions you ask yourself. The questions that dominate your self-talk shape your future. Are your questions loaded with why? Why did this happen, why didn’t that happen?
Questions like …
- Why didn’t I get that opportunity when I worked so hard for it?
- Why did that person fail to recognize the value I offer?
- Why do I always seem to lose my focus just when things are going well?
- Why do I find (fill in the blank) so intimidating?
- Why did I make such a (fill in the blank) decision?
Why questions focus on the past – the one thing you can’t change! Better to focus on now and the future you want using what and how questions.
Questions like …
- What do I want to create?
- How am I going to do it?
- What do I already have going for me that I can build on?
- What is the best next step? And how can I accomplish that?
- What positive outcome could that person be trying to achieve by doing that behaviour? And how can I help them to be more effective?
Driving with one foot on the brake
Finally, if you’re feeling a little stuck when logically, rationally, you have everything you need to get going? Perhaps it’s time to consider a coach. There are comfortable, quick and effective ways to get you moving when you’re ready.
Just a suggestion
A coach trained in neuro-linguistics can help you turn weak beliefs and wishes into conviction, share a nifty technique for handling competing priorities, and align the values driving your goals for maximum motivation. However you do it, here’s a wish that you get your 2008 off on a running start and have a terrific year!
A new year, a fresh start …
And I’ve decided I’ll be a more consistent blogger. Perhaps not better. Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.
Have you decided where you’re headed this year?
So, do you have plans? Important goals for 2008? And are they really big enough? Because if you shoot for the stars and fall a little short, at least you’ll land on the moon.
Can you get there from here?
Will what you’re doing now move you forward fast enough and in the right direction? If not, what are you planning to do differently? I have a friend who is fond of telling his team “If things don’t change around here, we’re going to end up where we’re headed!” And he could be right. So be sure that where you’re headed is where you really want to go!
Do you really believe you can do it?
Believing you have the ability to make it happen is essential. Do you think you should be able to achieve your objective because others have done it, but you’re not absolutely sure? Then it’s a probably more like a wish than a belief.
Beliefs – a call to action
If it’s just a wish masquerading as a belief you’re unlikely to make the consistent effort needed to achieve your goals. Action level is the true measure of the strength of your beliefs. Do you act as if they are true?
Test yourself – belief or wish?
Ask yourself, if you truly believed your plans were going to come to fruition, what would you be doing right now? What one idea can you begin to put into action now, that gets you started?
What your self talk can reveal about beliefs. Or is it only a wish? Coming soon (see opening paragraph.)
A couple of days ago I stumbled on some research about the use of questions. It seems 40% of all the questions people ask are really statements, and another 40% are actually judgments disguised as questions. (1)
I had to stop and think about that. On reflection, it makes sense, yet seeing the percentages in black and white was a little shocking.
Those ‘don’t you think …’ questions
If 80% of our questions are just a way of stating the obvious or sliding in our own opinion, that means only 20% focus on hearing what the other person has to say! If you’d like to do a little research of your own, catch some of the interviews on cable news programs. Or listen to ….
Questions expose our intentions
They instantly give away whether we are in listening or telling mode. Stop for a minute and think of a conversation you had recently. One that left you feeling the other person was holding back. Is it possible your questions discouraged their input? Accidentally implied you were not really ready to listen? Hum. Possible isn’t it?
Listening requires content
Once you ask good questions you can begin really listening. Because good questions can uncover information people haven’t yet discover for themselves, they’ll need time to go inside and figure it out. Time to pull up thoughts, feelings and perhaps even fears, about what really matters. So after you ask, pause. Be willing to wait. It shows your intention is to listen.
And speaking of good questions …
We weren’t, but it’s probably a good idea anyway. As a general rule of thumb, good questions are how and what questions. Here are a few of my favorites.
- What’s important to you about …. ? Fill in the subject you’re discussing. And then when they’ve finished telling you, asking with a meaningful look …‘if there were one thing more?’
- You must have a good reason for saying that … do you mind if I ask what it is? Great for handling judgments and blanket objections.
- How is that working for you? Works well for those ‘we already have that covered’ occassions. Asking how sends people inside to evaluate.
Let me know how these work for you, and if you have a sticky situation that needs a question, let me know that too. Next, more ways to listen …
(1) William Isaacs of MIT, in Dialogue And The Art Of Thinking Together, 1999.