OK, dear readers, we’re into June and you know what that means. We’re almost at the halfway point of the year and it’s time to check in on goals set at the beginning of 2010.
How’s it going? What have you been doing this year? Have you deviated from your desired path? Have you even gotten near your desired path?
Let’s review a bit. You’ve either made some progress, in which case this could serve as further impetus, or you’ve remained stagnant, in which case this could serve as a swift kick in the butt.
As we brought in this year, I wrote a Game Plan column called Looking for Your Life in 2010 and, among other things, challenged you to this exercise: Try taking three quotes you find inspiring and use them to learn more about yourself. Why do they engage you? Can they provide some direction in looking for your life?
These days, with so many of us on Twitter and Facebook, we see quotes almost ad nauseum, yet there are those days when one hits just right and we find it so illuminating. Why? What’s it to you? Spend some time in stillness and explore this. One light bulb moment that helps you drill down on what makes you tick could change your life.
Another of my favorite tools to set forth a vision and creatively tap into ideas that are looking for a place to emerge is a vision board. I attended a gathering of friends early in the year and we had a great time assembling our boards. In the June 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, life coach Martha Beck provides some terrific insight on the finer points of this.
“Many people hear the basic instructions … and create virtually identical collages: a wad of cash, a handsome husband, a gorgeous body, a luxury car, a tropical beach,” Beck writes. “Snore … This has no juice at all.”
What she has so wisely observed over the years – both in her own vision boards and those of clients – is that by paying attention to our deeper selves rather than focus on those material wants, we will “unleash one of the most powerful forces on our planet: human imagination.”
That means, as author Julia Cameron advocates in her collage exercise in The Artist’s Way, thinking shouldn’t be front and center. The imagination is often subtle, indirect, far from concrete, a whole rainbow instead of black and white. When collecting images or phrases for a vision board, don’t question why something appeals to you; rip it out and see what emerges in tandem with other things you find.
Beck explains that the reason so many anecdotes about vision board success include forgetting all about what you put on there is because the exercise is supposed to focus your attention just briefly. Then you must go out and live your life, letting your actions run parallel to what you’ve expressed but in an organic way.
I recently revamped my vision board and marveled when I saw these words – “Taos, life at a higher level.” When I cut that out of a magazine in January, I knew I’d be heading to New Mexico for a coaching conference in May. I completely forgot that I had put those words on my board, though. But now, just weeks after returning from that trip, I had to laugh. When I was leaving my hotel to take the two-plus hours drive to Taos, I asked the concierge for any recommendations. She suggested I take the “high road” – which I’d never heard of. Its winding path through hills under a beautiful blue sky proved to be an aesthetic and spiritual highlight of the trip. Boy, did I experience life at a higher level.
My updated board, thanks to Beck’s apt reminders, contains more about the messages I want to convey in my life through writing, coaching and social interaction. It’s not about manifesting a Tiffany necklace. Still, as I stated in a January Game Plan column called Time to Go Bold, the theme of the board is to remind me to run my decisions through a “bold” meter.
Of course, more conventionally, you can pull out your goals or resolutions and evaluate your progress. Have you done something each week to bring you closer to this one? Have you checked a few off the list? In that case, it might be time to create new ones. Remember that in most cases goals should be inspiring to you, time-bound and measurable. Look at them once each week and create actions around them. The baby steps will turn into enormous strides.
While we’re checking in, I can’t forget to request that you take a peek at what author Kathy LeMay calls your Generosity Plan. Do you structure your giving? Might you want to consider that, regardless of how much you have allotted for it?
Some thoughts from an earlier Game Plan on Crafting Your Generosity Plan: “The idea is to get confident in your plan and execute it with goodwill and grace. Whether it’s buying Girl Scout cookies, reading to the elderly or embarking on a mission in Africa, do it because it speaks to your heart and sense of spirit.”
Go on. Get to it. You’ve got an awful lot of time to make 2010 a meaningful and purposeful year.
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