WHY ARE YOU HES­I­TAT­ING?

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS -

Pan­cho Mehro­tra

It is dif­fi­cult to con­front the truth, which of­ten is that per­haps you could have acted but chose not to.

AL­THOUGH WE CAN SPEND MONTHS or more re­search­ing our hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, most of us con­sider plan­ning our goals with dis­taste – let alone tak­ing time to break them down into tasks we need to do on a daily ba­sis. Pan­cho Mehro­tra looks at why this is, and what we can do about it.

Re­mem­ber your last va­ca­tion? How long did you take to de­cide where you were go­ing and plan what you would do there?

Plan­ning a va­ca­tion is, for many, much eas­ier than plan­ning their goals. Why? Apart from be­ing some­thing peo­ple look for­ward to, it is easy to de­cide on a des­ti­na­tion and then it be­comes eas­ier to plan the steps. Of­ten the hard­est part is agree­ing on the des­ti­na­tion! Once con­firmed, the other el­e­ments, like the du­ra­tion and bud­get, come to­gether quickly.

Plan­ning our hol­i­days also sat­is­fies our need for im­me­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion; we can soon see the re­sult of the goal, of the ef­fort we put in to make it hap­pen.

Now think about the dif­fer­ence when de­cid­ing on the goals around your life, busi­ness and re­la­tion­ships. For many, once they be­gin to think about these ar­eas, a level of anx­i­ety be­gins to creep in.

WHY DO WE RE­SIST?

Peo­ple want to avoid plan­ning for the fu­ture for a myr­iad of rea­sons. One of them is that they might be dis­ap­pointed in where they are and what they have achieved so far. For many, this close ex­am­i­na­tion of their life is far too bru­tal.

To find our­selves lack­ing will chal­lenge our self-con­cept. This is un­savoury to us; we will all do vir­tu­ally any­thing to pro­tect our own views of our­selves or our per­sonas. These views are in fact closely re­lated to our own be­liefs. Let’s face it, who likes their be­liefs chal­lenged? No one!

Why? Be­cause this would be a di­rect at­tack on our past judg­ment and the de­ci­sions we have made, and no one likes to be proved wrong.

The act of go­ing af­ter your goal is a lot about self-im­age. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, peo­ple who are con­fi­dent in their abil­i­ties and have a strong be­lief in them­selves will set out their goals and then me­thod­i­cally go about seek­ing them.

The other side to this is some­one who is not so con­fi­dent of achiev­ing what they want; they will avoid the en­tire chap­ter of plan­ning and set­ting their goals. They will then be able to seek safety in blam­ing other peo­ple or cir­cum­stances for not achiev­ing what they imag­ine they set out to do. The fright­en­ing as­pect of this is it is re­ally dif­fi­cult to con­front the truth, which of­ten

Fac­ing the facts shows ev­i­dence of your progress in life, which you might not be happy to face. It is bet­ter to have re­grets about things you have done or at­tempted than not to have done them at all.

is that per­haps you could have taken ac­tion, but chose not to.

If you think you fall in the sec­ond cat­e­gory, the first thing is to recog­nise that aware­ness and think­ing are the ar­eas that need to be ad­dressed. Pay at­ten­tion to your thoughts, such as, ‘I am too old to change’, or ‘I never had the op­por­tu­nity to…’. These be­come your be­liefs. Re­mem­ber, be­liefs are com­pletely in­ter­nal and linked closely to self-im­age.

We are in­stinc­tively wired for fight or flight when faced with a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. When­ever we need to take stock of our lives, the flight in­stinct kicks in au­to­mat­i­cally. Fac­ing the facts shows the ev­i­dence of your progress in life, which you might not be en­tirely happy to face; thus the flight in­stinct im­me­di­ately wants to block that ac­tiv­ity. In­stead, it is much eas­ier to blame other fac­tors for your lack of progress or avoid deal­ing with this sit­u­a­tion. It be­comes eas­ier to make ex­cuses and cre­ate valid rea­sons for your lack of progress.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

Go­ing back to plan­ning a hol­i­day, what makes it easy to plan? It is easy be­cause we feel we are in con­trol of vir­tu­ally all the steps and we know what we are go­ing to get as a re­sult of our ac­tions.

Here is the key point: we al­ready know what we will get as a re­sult of tak­ing ac­tion. In our minds it is a known out­come, not a vari­able. We think we know the end re­sult. We think when we plan a hol­i­day we will have a good time. The fact is, you don’t know be­fore you are on your hol­i­day if it will be a great hol­i­day or not. You be­lieve it will be, so you make an ef­fort to make hap­pen, so it does.

It is in­ter­est­ing how be­liefs im­pact all our de­ci­sions. Our be­liefs have a very pow­er­ful con­trol over our feel­ings, be­cause they also in­flu­ence our ac­tions – which ul­ti­mately make us feel suc­cess­ful or un­suc­cess­ful, in con­trol or out of con­trol.

The fu­ture fright­ens many peo­ple when it comes to their goals, be­cause they don’t know what will hap­pen. Any marker or in­di­ca­tion of time is an un­wel­come re­minder that your life is pass­ing you by. You pre­fer to keep life vague, a stream of events and mem­o­ries without any struc­tured progress to­wards your goals.

Now, let us ap­ply the same be­lief to goals that we do for hol­i­days. We take the fear­ful view out of the equa­tion. We be­lieve that we

will achieve the goal we have set our sights on. Im­me­di­ately, we see go­ing af­ter goals in a dif­fer­ent light. We are ea­ger to plan and ex­e­cute this plan to get to our des­ti­na­tion.

HOW DO WE START?

The first thing to do be­fore mak­ing a change is to re­alise what you are think­ing. Write down ev­ery­thing you want to hap­pen or want to avoid. Some­times be­com­ing aware of what we don’t want is a lot eas­ier to work out than what we do want.

Take re­spon­si­bil­ity for, and con­trol of, your life. Stop blam­ing out­side in­flu­ences such as the econ­omy, your par­ents, your boss, your ed­u­ca­tion, school teach­ers or the lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties in your life. This is a time to face the mu­sic and face facts. You prob­a­bly have a vague idea of what you wanted: now is the time to ex­am­ine those goals.

When you take re­spon­si­bil­ity for your cir­cum­stances, you take con­trol of your life – which is the point where you take ac­tion. See re­spon­si­bil­ity as a re­ward; to quote Bil­lie Jean King, “Pres­sure is a priv­i­lege”.

Ac­cept un­cer­tainty brought about by change and give up the need to know what is go­ing to hap­pen as a re­sult of tak­ing ac­tion. Fo­cus on the process rather than only the end re­sult.

A sim­ple fact is that to make progress in our goals and ca­reers there needs to be change. An­other fact is that change means stress, get­ting out of your com­fort zone, which means more pain. This is the stage where you need to be aware and ac­cept that the past gave you com­fort while chang­ing the fu­ture will come with a de­gree of dis­com­fort.

An im­por­tant step in mov­ing to­wards your goals is to for­give peo­ple who you feel ei­ther hin­dered you or did not give you the help or guid­ance you needed. This step helps you to take back con­trol of your emo­tions. Without for­give­ness it be­comes very dif­fi­cult to move on in your life, es­pe­cially to­wards goals.

TAKE A RISK

Start by tak­ing a risk. Start plan­ning! What are you go­ing to do this year, this month, this week, this day?

Suc­cess­ful plan­ning is done on sev­eral lev­els, macro and mi­cro. Plan­ning daily ac­tions is just as im­por­tant as having a glow­ing plan of the fi­nal out­come. Plan­ning daily ac­tions cre­ates mo­men­tum and this is where the ini­tial fo­cus should be. Plan­ning needs con­scious think­ing, not ha­bit­ual think­ing.

Take time to plan and write your ac­tiv­i­ties for the month, week, ev­ery day. You will no­tice an im­mense emo­tional ben­e­fit; the lack of stress, not to men­tion in­creased mo­ti­va­tion to achieve what you set out to do.

It’s never too late to plan your life. Put pen to pa­per and plan your busi­ness goals, per­sonal goals, fi­nan­cial goals and/or health goals.

The best time to start is now, to move to­wards your fu­ture as­pi­ra­tions. Be thank­ful for your cur­rent ex­pe­ri­ences. See­ing the pos­i­tives out of these ex­pe­ri­ences is im­por­tant.

To help you get started, an­swer the fol­low­ing ques­tions to en­gage in sel­f­re­flec­tion:

1. Find out ex­actly what the goal is you don’t want to com­mit to. Write it down.

2. Think about why you are not com­mit­ting. Write it down.

3. Plan con­struc­tive ac­tion. Write the ac­tions down in de­tail, lim­ited to five key ac­tions. 4. Pick a start date. 5. Go!

It is bet­ter to have re­grets about things you have done or at­tempted than not to have done them at all. Pan­cho Mehro­tra is the CEO of Fron­tier Per­for­mance and a recog­nised lead­ing ex­pert in the area of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in­flu­ence and the psy­chol­ogy of sell­ing. He has worked with top per­form­ers in a num­ber of in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing real es­tate, au­to­mo­tion, fi­nance, law and academia. For more in­for­ma­tion visit fron­tierp.com.au.

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