Do you ever think about the downside of goal setting? I'm here to share a little secret with you that changed my life.
Back when I first started out as a coach on my own after leaving the corporate world ten years ago, I was maniacally driven towards success, on a mission to build my business.
I had very specific goals about how much money I wanted to make, how many clients I wanted to work with, and the products I wanted to create and share that would positively impact the world.
I became a problem solver, able to anticipate problems before they occurred. I was constantly thinking, breathing and dreaming about my work 24/7. I could feel my identity shift to be someone who was goal seeking, driven by lack and a discontent with my current circumstances.
Can you relate?
What I didn’t realize though, was that I was practicing a way of being where all I was focusing on was the idea that there was never enough, that I was lacking something.
In reality, I was finally meeting my goals — of how much money I wanted to make, the number of clients I wanted, and the types of products I was creating — and yet I wasn't able to see this success because I was so focused on the next thing to achieve.
In a way, this was more comfortable than slowing down and being present with myself. It was easier to just rush around and be that Type A guy who was always distracted with work than to sit with how I really felt.
I had disconnected from myself in the process because it was easier to just blindly push ahead.
I realized that who I had become in pursuit of these goals was someone who could not distinguish that I had actually arrived at the place I once wanted to be — I had succeeded!
I hadn’t taken the time to actually “stop and smell the roses”, to practice appreciation for the work I’d done and to be present. I had so much to be grateful for but just didn’t take the time to even see it.
So, how does this apply to relationships?
Well, it first starts with your relationship to yourself, where all things start.
When we are on a path of personal mastery and are ok being present and alone with ourselves, we set ourselves up to be able to master the art of relationship with another person.
All too often I see this with myself and others: it’s easy to fall out of rapport with being alone with yourself.
It’s easy to make yourself busy, to distract yourself from the current moment because what you’re feeling might not be comfortable.
How second nature is it to pick up your phone for the 300th time in one day, or to just zone out to television when you’re bored or have an unpleasant emotion come up? Or maybe you’re like me, where you distract yourself with work.
What happens when we do this, though, is that we become really good at practicing how to disconnect from ourselves because we don't like how we're feeling.
And then we get really good at disconnecting, and unfortunately, when we do find someone that we want to be with, all we’ve been practicing is disconnection, so that’s the skill we bring into relationship.
So, how about you? Are you running from yourself? Is there something that you're trying to avoid? Are you making it wrong and judging yourself?
Because if those are the skills that you're practicing— judging, running, hiding, disconnecting—you’re going to bring that into any relationship that you create. Not quite the skills you want to be adept at, right?
The invitation in all of this is that if you want to become adept at relating and relationships, you have to build the scaffolding and structure first, and that starts with how you relate to yourself.
Start to notice when you pick up your phone to distract yourself from a certain feeling. Notice what habits you have right now where you abandon yourself and lose presence; and rather than doing those, practice staying connected to yourself even if it's for just a short amount of time. Take a couple deep breaths and know whatever you’re feeling will pass. If you can, find some gratitude in the moment and breathe into that.
Trust that whatever uncomfortable experience that might come your way is merely an ingredient and another building block for you to continually create successful relationships outside of yourself because you're practicing the most important one: the one that you have with yourself.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and video, subscribe to my Youtube channel. I’ve also got a webinar coming up called 3 Keys to Attracting a High Quality Man and a guide on the 8 Secrets to Creating a Rock Solid Relationship. Check any of these out — I'm sure there's topics I've covered that might contain the answer you're looking for in your own relationship.