On Monday, February 7 Categories:

My working life has taken quite a number of twists and turns over the years. I started out as an accountant and rose to become a senior manager for an international practice working in the UK and then West Africa, where clients included Shell and Guinness. But I have spent the last 10 years as a professional coach (part guide, part mentor, part counsellor); a long way from where I started.

I turned to coaching after going on a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) course to boost my own communication and training skills. This blew my mind about what was possible and what people could achieve if they really put their minds to it. I felt that working one-to-one was the way forward: being able to ask questions that you simply can't in a group setting; for example: "So what's stopping you?"

But I've always had doubts. The books I read said: "Start with the end in mind. Set yourself goals. Have a plan." Yet I never had specific goals: I didn't have a clear plan.

I've been driven by genuine curiosity, with no set goal or destination in mind. I've simply enjoyed the journey and reacted to events as they happened.

But is this OK? Is it enough? Should I make up a goal just so I've got one? Somehow it didn't seem right if I didn't really believe in it.

One constant throughout my life has been travel. It is something that I have loved and got a great deal out of. I completed the conventional backpacker routes around Thailand, visited China just after the Tiananmen Square protests and worked in French-speaking West Africa.

Another constant has been an avid interest in other people's stories - reading about the likes of Lance Armstrong, Joe Simpson, Jane Tomlinson, Alison Hargreaves and many more. Their tales usually reveal amazing feats of survival and success against the odds in the face of great hardship or misfortune. I've found these stories hugely inspiring and sources of great inspiration.

Then two things happened earlier this year that led to a kind of epiphany:

I read Kevin Carroll's book, "What's Your Red Rubber Ball?!". Kevin encourages you to tell your own story of the things you love doing and the things that inspire you.

Around the same time, I attended a workshop run by Bernadette Doyle. I was considering asking Bernadette to become a mentor and was asked to do something I had done on countless occasions: talk to a group of people. But I was shaking. You could hear it in my voice and see it in my features.

I couldn't explain it... but then I realised I had been asked to talk about myself and how I felt. Having to explain how I felt took me right out of my comfort zone. I simply spoke about how much I was shaking. I couldn't explain it, but just experienced it and tried to explain how I was feeling. This experience made me realise that it's ok to feel scared or uncertain - in fact, I needed to feel scared. The lesson for me was to pay closer attention to my feelings and not simply what was in my head.

When I did this, I immediately felt clear-headed, determined and active. I was still shaking, still scared, but ready to embrace the challenges that I faced. I was energised.

I realised that I do what I do because it gives me the life I want. Time with my family. To take part in adventures. To make a real difference to people's lives. And to hang out with really cool people!

And when I said this and wrote it down, it felt right. It's not a clearly-defined goal - yet it's all I need to provide direction, a way of making decisions and deciding priorities.

And I laughed. Because the stories I'd read all involved journeys of hardship, endurance, adversity - climbing mountains, overcoming illness, dealing with trauma.

Yet for me the longest journey had been to get out of my head and pay attention to what I was feeling inside. It had taken me 48 years to navigate those 18 inches from my head to my heart!

If you have goals, then great. Understand what you need to do next and do it. Then the next. And the next. One step at a time.

And make sure you can feel it. When you think about your goal, what do you feel?

Change needs to be physical, not just something you think. We often know what we should do, we understand and can articulate it intellectually, but we just don't take the steps. We sometimes ignore the physical feeling: the fear and anxiety. We make ourselves busy and pretend that everything is ok, but this is often just a smokescreen or a distraction.

The energy that you'll need if you're to take action towards those goals comes from the feeling you have. So it needs to be strong.

So pay attention to what you're feeling and then do something about it; "feel the fear then do it anyway", if you like. Trust your instincts - even if you can't always explain them.

Goals need passion.

And if there is no goal? Well, just pay attention to the feelings: what excites you, when are you at your happiest, what gives you a buzz, what do you love doing? When you think of these things, how do you feel?

Effortlessly program your mind for success! Click Here Now to find out more.

Neil Kirby is a Professional Coach and Director of The Red Rubber Ball Company http://www.redrubberball.co.uk

After reading "What's Your Red Rubber Ball?!", Neil and Steve Williams followed their instincts, took action and contacted Kevin Carroll. Their meeting became the inspiration for their business and from where they took their name.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.