Category Archives: Vision

In need of some new motivation?

Goals are highly motivational the first few days or weeks after they’re written. Then come the “lag times” – when we’d rather do just about anything than what the goals require of us daily or weekly, to see the goals achieved. Here are some good ways to find some new motivation.

1. Review how far you’ve come since you laid out the goal. Looking forward at a goal can be daunting – but observing the climb you’ve got behind you will often encourage you to stay the course!

2. Re-write your goal in new terms and read it aloud several times a day. If the goal doesn’t excite you, recast it in terms that do. Then remind yourself of it verbally again and again; let it become part of your thinking.

3. Revisit your vision statement. The goal might be for something 6 months away, but keep asking yourself, “What will life look like 5, 10, or 20 years from now if I keep to this course and keep improving it?” My immediate goal might be lowering my blood pressure through working out 6 days a week; my vision might be running a “senior’s marathon” when I’m 75!

4. Recruit 2 friends or colleagues to provide you with weekly check-ups. Find people who are also pursuing some goal – you need challengers and encouragers!

5. Record you progress on a graph or chart and post it where your family or co-workers can see it. A public record on the refrigerator or bulletin board or blog might be just the thing to kick your motivation into high gear again.

And, if you need help, not just with vision and goals, but with the elements which will get you moving toward them (support, encouragement and motivation) call me!

I’d love to help.

Who in Your Life…?

Who do you have in your life who does the following?

  •  They listen to you well. They hear what others don’t, hear what even you likely haven’t put together. They listen to what your heart and gut are saying.
  •  They identify — verbally and often — your skills, gifts, passions, values, interests and desires. And when they do, they help you grasp how you’re put together.
  •  They believe in you. Not like your 7th grade English teacher who took everyone aside and said “you have great potential!” This is the man or woman who discerns your unique design. They assist you with seeing your purpose,  related to your unique design and life experiences…therefore equipping you to know where you will make your greatest impact.
  •  Finally, they aren’t content to let you just know these things. The press you — not just to do your best, but to be your best.

Who is there who fills that role in your life?

Those practices paint a picture of the privileged role that we as coaches get to fill every day — and also helps you understand why we’re so passionate about doing it well!

Leverage Your Discontent

Thomas Edison said, “Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” When I consider change (almost any change) the risks associated or the pain (i.e. discipline, work) required by that change can keep me firmly fixed in place. Two views can give me the motivation to “move out”:

One view is the vision of your preferred future. When I paint a clear, vivid, compelling picture of what life will be like (a deepening relationship, growing sales, financial freedom, increasing health) I suddenly have a powerful tool which gets me moving and keeps me motivated.The second view is what Edison described. It is the real and honest view that comes when I evaluate my present state. It is coming to terms with where today’s path will get me if I continue on it! It likely will feature descriptions of my future which – when I see them on paper – will repeatedly get me “unstuck” and move me into a growth mode.
If you want help to think about where you really want to go, click or call! I love helping clients redesign their futures.

Whatever you decide

Ralph Waldo Emerson described what happens when we decide on a course of action or goal.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

You’ve likely experienced the “fruit” of critics in your life. From family members at an early age to co-workers and “friends” later in life, we often have a ready supply of those who tell us how unlikely it is that our goal or plan will come to fruition. Summoning courage at those junctures means putting ourselves “out there” and it means operating without the encouragement of people who ought to believe in us.

What an appropriate time that is to:

  • Get with someone who’s been there, who’s been experienced a similar journey. Examples might be a business owner who’s taken signficant risk or one who’s worked through huge financial hurdles. A key individual might provide the need of the moment: mentor, counsel, encouragement, prayer or challenge. Be ready for the response that’s right!
  • Write out a clear and compelling vision. Answer for yourself the “why am I doing this?” question. Spend time yourself in meditation and prayer. Ascertain that you’re not doing the wrong thing your critics asserted.
  • Keep the vision connected to reality. Great visions rarely come together in the time and manner we’d prefer. Put realistic and measureable goals together, get them into your plan and work your plan.
  • Get some coaching. Coaches specialize in listening and we believe in our clients. I believe what God has put into people — by way of vision, purpose and passions — is what needs to “come out”. In nearly every session, I hear a clients discuss things they are hestitant to share even with spouses, best friends or co-workers.



My Final Weight Loss (part 2)

As I said in the first post, I was motivated; my “light bulb was on”.

But then what? How could I (and how can you) keep motivation going in a tough area like weight loss? Four fundamentals began working for me. The first one today.

Think through, and write down, a mix of goals (short-, mid-, long-range) alongside your long term vision.

Many people approach weight loss with just one goal in mind. “To lose the weight.”  There’s another version that’s even less effective. It’s some version of “I want to lose 20 pounds before the wedding/reunion/vacation, etc.”  The first goal is too fuzzy; it just won’t take you very far toward a healthy weight. The second revolves around an event — an event which, as it fades in your rearview mirror, will likely take your goal with it! A key problem with the second kind of goal is, we’re just wanting to “look good” (for others, or for the pictures). Once that “limited vision” goal is achieved, the desire well may be to go celebrate!! In my case, celebrating would have meant plunging into the old food habits!

Habits aren’t sustained if clear vision and appropriate goals don’t support the habits!

My vision was that my wife and I attain the best state of health we could reach for the rest of our lives. A fundamental commitment we made to each other with regard to Weight Watchers was “we will not quit.” We agreed this time we’d stick, even after we had early good results (or even if we didn’t some weeks!) We were on this journey toward health for all of life. We wanted to feel better, sleep better,  move better and enjoy physical activities. So we studied and read about the benefits of appropriate weight and good food. We read about the liabilities of some of the things we’d been eating! Our vision became more and more compelling. We watched shows like “Biggest Loser” to stir motivation. Those activities buttressed the vision and kept us wanting it!

As the vision developed, I had appropriate goals. Weight Watchers encourages steady — not steep — weight loss. Most “diets” revolve around some version of deprivation. A couple of problems with deprivation: one is the rubber band effect. We “bounce back” toward consuming what we missed during the deprivation phase. And two, healthy habits are never developed. You can’t live “real life” with “real food” with that approach (more about that in the next post). What I experienced was not deprivation! I quickly discovered that whole foods not only tasted good, they satisfied much longer and did not leave me hungry like “diets” do.

My weight loss goal was a half pound to 2 pounds per week! The philosophy I heard was, “you put the weight on over many years. The body is unlikely to allow you to suddenly reverse those decades in a few weeks or even a few months.” Eating is a highly complex human behavior. So my goals were often simple short-term ones, like “the next 5 pounds in _____ weeks” or “20 down by the end of the year” and so on. It was slow but steady. Many weeks I made it; sometimes not. There were plateaus; but again, there was no magic date looming in the future. (Once, after a cruise and an “up” day at the scale, I reminded my wife, “That’s just a snap shot, not the whole movie!”)

And there were sweet mileposts all along the way. The pants I had to donate; going from XL shirts (or bigger) to L’s; a lady at church asking my wife, “Is Dean sick? He’s really losing weight!”

At one point I even had a goal for someone else (something we coaches don’t recommend!). Mine was, I wanted to hear my doctor say something good without me fishing for his comment. This was the physician who earlier prescribed for me a blood pressure med for my borderline hypertension. Then came the day when he took me off of the drug! And he said, “This is really good; it’s so rare for people your age ­­– with most, I’m adding drugs, and here I’m taking you off of your only one!”

So, your vision will move you and excite you about a long term objective. But you need to remind yourself of it often — I certainly did, in restaurants and at people’s homes  for lunches or dinners; when we traveled; when I was faced with a plate of cookies or brownies at a meeting. You simply have to have the vision in front of you often: so…picture yourself fit, trim, moving, exercising well, feeling great, fitting into new clothes…whatever it takes to keep you going. Think of the powerful health benefits you gain for yourself. Weight Watchers leaders often say, “nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.” I love that!

So, if you’re at the starting line, think long-term with a powerful vision, and rehearse it often to yourself.

Then, add short-, medium-, and long-range goals; as you reach them they will propel you forward!

The next installment: Use a program that supports real life


“…something else is more important.”

Ambrose Redmoon said it — “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important.”

Progress invariably demands some form of courage. It may not be courage as we’ve thought of it before, but consider how often we stop short of what we really want —

  • To start the business long envisioned
  • To step up in the relationship where there has been passivity
  • To get serious about God and spiritual life
  • To get off the couch and pursue a lifetime of health
  • To get freedom in finances 
  • To pursue leadership opportunities

We stop short because the “something else” of Redmoon’s statement is not in view. What I don’t envision clearly, I will not value greatly. 

The need, as January begins to wind down, is a “vision” inventory. It’s taking some time, perhaps on a weekend to begin to list, qualify and describe what’s of greatest importance, to rehearse for myself, why these people and values are important — then of course, to set out the courageous stands or acts or habits which now will begin to support those values. 

As coaches, we go through the same process ourselves, regularly! And we’d be honored to spend some time with you (at no cost) to ask some of the questions which will help you get to what’s of supreme importance to you, in this year and for the sake of planning. Call us jot us a note today.

Why Do I Wait?

Samuel Johnson said, “He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything.”
What’s going on behind my hesitation, what fuels my unwillingness to pull the trigger on what appears to be the best course of action to achieve a goal? I’d suggest the following, all of which I’ve experienced:

1. Fear — fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of leaving my warm blanket — the blanket of what I know and am comfortable with — right now. The problem with warm blankets? Security is mostly a myth. And — what I fear often precisely describes the area in which I need to grow! But fears are real and must be addressed, one by one. Write them down. Talk them through with a friend, mentor or coach. Pray about them! Then — lay them to rest! You’ll find that most fears begin to lose their grip in the light of truth, analysis and conversation.

2. Adding something else to a jammed schedule. The task ahead might be massive. Very likely, if it’s a good goal, it will be large! And my calendar is packed. I like the feel of a few holes in the schedule which “I can call my own.” The issue here is one of value. I’m comparing the value of wanting “my time” or “maintaining current commitments” to something less real. To determine value, I need to ask, “what’s the preferred future (the vision, the goal) worth?”

Every decision I will make involves a trade-off! It’s the principle of “always doing what I always did…” and expecting more/better/different. A trade-off requires that I must give up in order to move out. I must “lighten the load” (time/commitments/activities, all of which might be very enjoyable) in order to pursue the best. With what might be large goals, have someone help you think through appropriate bite-sized pieces you can add to a schedule while you begin removing items of less value.

3. I don’t see the road clearly ahead. I don’t have a plan. I don’t know about you, but hesitation is often, there’s no clear way to go, so I stop right where I am. And wait for…well, just wait! The need, of course is a plan. But plans rarely fall from the heavens; good plans develop out of process, they accompany movement, they are the product of an engaged heart and mind! So engage! Read. Listen. Think, pray — and get with people who are growing! Your coach can help you step by step with plan development, as you move in the direction in which you want to move.

Your coach will also remind you regularly that what you really want won’t arrive if you wait where you are.


Do You Need Encouragement?

May 24, 1965.

A 13 and 1/2 foot boat slipped out of the marina at Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Destination: England! If it made it, it would be the smallest boat to ever cross the Atlantic.  Its name was Tinkerbelle.  The pilot was Robert Manry.  He’d been a copy editor for 10 years and he was bored; he took a leave of absence to fulfill a secret dream.

He was afraid — but not of the ocean.  His fear was all the people who’d try to talk him out of the trip.  So he didn’t tell many, just a few relatives and his wife, Virginia, his greatest supporter and encourager.

The trip was anything but pleasant.  He spent sleepless nights trying to cross the shipping lanes without getting run over by large ships.  Weeks at sea made his food tasteless.  Loneliness gave him hallucinations.  His rudder broke three times.  Storms swept him overboard; if he hadn’t had a rope tied around his waist, he never would have made it back aboard.  After 78 days alone at sea, he sailed into Falmouth, England.

During the long trip, he thought about what he’d do when he arrived.  He figured he’d check into a hotel, eat dinner alone; then the next morning see if the Associated Press might be interested in his story.  But word of his trip spread.  To his amazement, three hundred boats, horns blaring, escorted the Tinkerbelle into port.  And 40,000 people stood on the docks screaming and cheering him to shore.

Robert Manry was a hero.  His story went around the world.  But he knew, he couldn’t have done it alone! Standing on the dock was his hero, his wife Virginia.  She refused to be critical and negative about her husband’s trip.  She gave him constant encouragement which gave him to courage to pursue and complete his dream.

Coaches are encouragment specialists. We believe in people because we recognize that they are the experts in their own lives. God made them unique and our greatest task is helping them discover their unique purpose and passion.

8 Questions That Challenge Me

Some questions that challenge me in the direction of growth…

1. What sources of input (entertainment, books, music, websites) get the bulk of my attention, thereby molding my thinking, attitude and behavior?

2. Who are my closest associates and friends and how does their influence shape me?

3. Who regularly challenges my thinking and assumptions — who asks me the hard questions?

4. Am I lying to myself about the realities of success, significance and integrity?

5. Is there appropriate focus and balance between the dimensions of my life? (work, relational, physical, spiritual, emotional)

6. Am I growing in the real people skills: vulnerability, commitment, loyalty, honesty, truth, authenticity, love?

7. What impact and influence flows from my relationships and involvement with people and organizations?

8. Who and what am I becoming?

Remember What You Want

Discipline, said David Campbell, is remembering what you want.

Most of us don’t relish the necessary actions or new habits that flow out of disciplined and planned new courses of behavior. But, almost everyone values the fruit of that discipline.

The need is to hold up in front of yourself that fruit — and the promise of more!

See, it’s the substance of good vision — a vision which helps you to keep at the acts of discipline when the motivation that started you on the new course is at times absent!

At Catalyst we coach our clients to help them keep doing what they committed to themselves to do, even when the motivation that fueled the commitment is diminished. Another value of having a coach in your corner.