“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”

Denis Waitley

A few years ago I was driving through the state of Nebraska.  It was night.  I had directions, but it was before there was GPS. I was about 2 hours into a 3 hour journey.   I’m from the Northwest and one of the things I really like are the mountains.   Not only are they beautiful, they also help orient you when you lose your way.  When I’m driving and not sure if I’m headed in the right direction i just find the mountains and I can figure out what I need to do.

Nebraska is flat and there are no real landmarks to help you.  2 hours into the trip I panicked.  Out of nowhere I had this thought, “I might be headed in the wrong direction”.  My 3 hour trip may have become a 5 hour trip.  I was speaking in the morning and I really wanted a good night sleep.  I wasn’t sure I was going to get that.

Fortunately, about 15 minutes later there was a highway sign with the city I was headed to and how many miles to get there.  I was big time relieved.  As soon as I saw that sign my panic was replaced by peace and confidence.This is what happens in coaching.

I have seen this happen over and over in coaching as well.  People that are panicked about where they are, once they get clarity on where they want to go they’re able to relax and find a little hope.

In coaching, (leadership, executive, life, etc.) the coach “honors the client as the expert in his or her life and work. The coach believes every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to: Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve, encourage client self-discovery, elicit client-generated solutions and strategies, hold the client responsible and accountable” (ICF definition of coaching).

In others words, the coach’s role is to help the client self-discover:

  1. Where they are
  2. Where they want to go
  3. How they will get there

What I’ve found over the years; #1 and #2 are much easier than #3. When you start talking about “how” you’re going to get there is when things get a little tougher.  As you begin to break it down you realize you’re going to have to change some things, make some sacrifices, and leave the known for the unknown. As much as you know this will get you there, there can be some second guessing along the way.

Two things to keep in focus:

Where you’re going: Stay focused on where you’re going and not on the disappointments along the way.  Sure, there are things to learn from, but they can become distractions if you focus on them too much.  Staying  focused on where you’re going, your goals, your hopes and dreams gives you the hope, motivation and strength you’ll need when the chips are down and discouragement is knocking at your door. You have to be crystal clear on “where” you’re going.  Remember, what you focus on expands.

What you’re gaining: Think about this for a minute, what are you gaining as you achieve your goals?  From tired to more energy. From stressed to relaxed. From frustrated to encouraged. From obligated to choice. From trapped to free. From hopeless to hopeful. You’re going to sacrifice a few things and make some changes to go from one to the other and It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.  Stay focused on what you’re gaining along the way.

Do you need to make some changes?   Let me ask a few questions:

  1. Where are you?
  1. Where do you want to go and why do you want to go there?
  1. How will you do it? What will you need to do to get there?

Here’s to a winning in work AND life!

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