Happy first Sunday of 2013! Since we’re all likely still in goal/resolution mode, I want to share with you one of my favorite tactics for creating the results you want. Martha Beck shares this in Steering by Starlight, and calls it “Beginning at the End.” I’ve also heard it called “acting as if” whatever you are hoping to accomplish has already occurred. We’re at the beginning of a year right now, and so I’d like to invite you to take a moment to fast forward to the end of 2013 and tell me what your life is like in the following areas:
If I missed something important to you, by all means, please add it and envision what this area of your life will look like at the end of the year. Please share in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’re creating for yourself this year.
To show you what I mean by beginning at the end, I’m choosing Finances, because I think it’s something that many of us have fear around. Here’s what I would like to create for myself by the end of the year:
I’m comfortably supporting myself through income from my coaching practice, with enough cash on hand to begin paying off credit card debt while still being able to afford occasional luxuries and traveling once or twice a year.
It’s not winning the lottery, but it would make me fantastically happy. The next step for this process is figuring out why I want this and how I think it will make me feel. In this case, my “why” has several components – first, I want to be comfortably supporting myself and second, I love coaching and supporting myself through coaching alone would mean I’m doing a lot of it. Then, I’m identifying the feelings I expect to have from this scenario. If it were the end of the year and my financial dream was true, I would feel free, safe, capable, joyful and “like I was making a difference.” That last one is not quite a feeling, but it’s the best way I can think of to describe it.
Excellent! So I’ve found out what I really want – to feel free, safe, capable, joyful and like I was making a difference. Better yet, just by imagining myself in this scenario I described, I already feel all of those things. I’ve already gotten what I wanted! Here’s where things get all mystical and fun. First, I’m already giving myself the gift of those feelings by feeling them now instead of waiting until I have achieved some specific set of circumstances that I think will produce those feelings. Second, feeling that way now is far more likely to bring me to a place of achieving my dream.
As Martha – and others – say, “Circumstances don’t cause feelings. Feelings cause circumstances.” It’s hard to get my mind around this sometimes, and I’ve found that examples help a lot. I’m stealing one from Steering by Starlight, because it is the best I’ve heard yet. Say you are interviewing two people for a job. One has graspy, desperate, “please help me! I really need this job!” energy, likely from the belief that the job will produce feelings of safety, security, etc. The second is coming from the place of already landing the job, and asks questions, jokes with you, and asks how they can help. Who would you rather hire? In my dream finances example, am I more likely to attract clients and provide worthwhile service when I’m feeling joyful, free, capable, safe and like I’m making a difference, or when I’m feeling the lack of these things?
Once you know what feelings you want to have, and know that staying in those feelings is likely the most direct path to achieving your goals, the next question becomes – how can I stay in this feeling place? What actions can I take this week that move me towards those goals AND keep me in the same feeling space? I’d love to hear your ideas – please share them below!