If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Take You There!
There is a passage from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll which cleverly illustrates why it’s important to know where you are headed in life:
“Cheshire Puss, she began, rather timidly, as she did not know at all whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. Come, it’s pleased so far, thought Alice, and she went on. Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to said the cat.
I don’t much care where, said Alice.
Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the cat.
… So long as I get somewhere, Alice added as an explanation.
Oh, your sure to do that, said the cat, if you only walk long enough”
How many people do you know who just seem to be wandering aimlessly through their lives, without any apparent sense of direction? Another way of phrasing the quote would be to say, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
To put this into Life Coaching parlance, every goal should have a Well Formed Outcome.
So what then, is a Well Formed Outcome? Quite simply, it means being very clear….. crystal clear, on the outcome you want from a particular goal. Notice that we use the word “outcome” rather than “objective” for the goal. This is because outcomes consider the consequences of achieving the goal, rather than just the goal itself. For instance, let’s imagine someone sets themselves a goal to get promoted in their career – that is, the objective of the goal is promotion. So they work very hard, put in lots of hours and take on lots of extra work that no-one else wants to do, and after 2 long hard years they achieve their objective and are rewarded with promotion. Unfortunately though, their marriage is at breakdown point and their kids hardly know them, because they have not been around for the last 2 years!
In considering promotion as an outcome, you would think about the conditions of achieving it – for example, “Is it worth the cost to my relationships?”, or “What else might suffer if I really go for this?”
Another feature of a Well Formed Outcome is that it is stated in the positive. Let me just ask you not to think of a pink elephant…. What did you think of? This is because the way the subconscious mind works is that it can’t represent negatives without first turning them into positives. So saying, for example, “I must stop smoking” focuses the mind on exactly the thing you want to stop. By saying “I am a non-smoker“, you are giving your subconscious an alternative self image to focus on, and one which is aligned to the outcome you want to produce.
Remember, don’t say what you don’t want, say what you do!