How to immediately reduce the pressure around your big Dreams & Goals.
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie
Have you ever achieved a goal and not even realised, because you’ve by-passed it in pursuit of the next one?
Have you ever not even admitted what you goals or big dreams are out of fear of it never happening, and how embarrassing and horrible it would be to fail?
Do you tell yourself a story that often sounds like, “I don’t even know what I want?”
For all of my life up until I started travelling, and especially while competing in Karate tournaments all over the world, I was a huge goal-setter. I set huge goals. Unrealistic Goals. Goals that were both scary and exciting. And I was really good at making them happen, too.
I’d write them down every day, read them every night, visualise, and train my tush off for hours and hours every day - putting myself at every opportunity in front of the best mentors I could find to push me beyond my limits, so my competition would feel irrelevant.
For 15 years I was undefeated in my World Title event. But towards the end of my martial arts career, I started to burn out. In fact, in the summer of 2008, I fell ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and was unable to compete for another 4 years. I spent almost 3 years completely flat out in bed.
How did I go from training 5 hours a day, straight, to barely being able to get to the bathroom due to debilitating fatigue?
I was missing something very important, and overlooked in almost every client I see today.
My training, diet, my goal-oriented mindset, and even the condition of my body were in a peak, sustainable condition. I, nor did anyone else close to me, have any idea what was about to hit me. But I was missing something incredibly important which made my training feel empty - and hence - I was running on empty.
The missing key was something I see in many performers, athletes, and high achievers in general. And, it’s the key to sustainability, fulfilment and success in anything you choose to do - no matter how big or scary your goals and dreams are.
It’s not a tool. It’s not a skill. It’s not a book. It’s not a particular strand of DNA. It’s much, much simpler - and you can do it from anywhere.
But first, it’s important for you to have some context as to why even the highest of achievers can slip into this trap.
Thresholds: Why we feel Pressure, and Tension Around our Goals.
First of all, I want to clear up a common myth here. Feeling tension and pressure around your goals is not a problem. Any high performer will tell you these two feelings (also described as nervousness, a healthy level of anxiety, butterflies…) are commonplace before any big competition or performance, and if they were absent, it would be less than usual (although not impossible). See Fierce Salon
Notice the keyword: Healthy. You see, we have thresholds for everything. How much money we are comfortable making, How much happiness we believe is tolerable for us, and how much pressure can handle before we start to under-perform.
Everyone has their own individual thermostat for pressure, and high-performers generally have a higher threshold for being able to tolerate this pressure without forfeiting technique or performance. This is a learned skill. In this sense then, the pressure and Tension are only a negative experience if they are beyond your desirable peak threshold, and therefore hindering you from achieving your desired performance levels.
Always Striving, Never Arriving.
Humans are meaning making creatures. We experience our lives through emotion, and it’s this which drives us to set goals in the first place. Every Goal you have ever set is driven by a subconscious, desired feeling.
When you come to recognise and shift your attention to the desired feeling underneath what you want to achieve, something incredible happens. Your awareness moves from the outcome, to your internal state.
A feeling is something you can create right in this very moment. Therefore, whatever desired feeling is underneath what you’re striving for, is accessible to you right here, right now. The missing piece for many high performers is their failure to see this - and instead, placing too much attention on the attainment of goals and not allowing themselves to feel who they want to feel along the ride.
Skipping this genius nugget will sap you dry. Literally.
The Power of the Present.
Contrary to popular belief, being mindful - completely in the here and now is the secret to making life happen the way you want it to.
From the present moment, we can accept what is, and, we can make smart decisions about which specific actions are actually going to take us where we want to go. From this space, you can also recognise your ability to access the feelings driving your goals, and hence create a euphoric sense of having “arrived” at every step along the journey.
Think Like A Winner. Be a Winner.
I love to describe things in two ways here, because I know you like to keep your feet on the ground while you think big, So I’m going to give you the logical and the metaphysical version of my explanation for exactly why this works. Brace yourself.
The Law of Attraction refers to “manifestation” as making something true by raising your energetic vibration to match that which you wish to accomplish. In other words, taking on a state of being through your thoughts, your words your emotions, your decisions and your actions which align with those same thoughts, words, emotions decisions and actions as someone who already has what you want.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
NLP describes the same phenomenon from a logical perspective. We all have a certain amount of bandwidth of information we can take in at any moment - and the millions of bits of information available to us in any moment are filtered down into a few chunks of information, determined by our own set of beliefs, emotions, language, and other internal filters which become our fraction of experience, or, our reality.
If we want to change our experience, we must change our beliefs. Change your thoughts, change you life.
In other words, whatever feeling is driving the goal not only can be accessed in this moment, but must be - in order for the journey to be sustainable and enjoyable.
Your Only Job from Here on In
So perhaps while you’re setting your yearly, monthly, weekly or daily goals this week, you can ask yourself a couple of questions:
How’s it going to make me feel when I have this?
How can I create more of that feeling now?
For example, if I were to take a time machine back to when I was a young karate monster, and ask myself what feelings were driving my goal of winning yet another world title, I’d have said something like “Powerful, Life-affirming, and (unfortunately) like I can finally rest”.
Are you catching my drift here?
How I could have done those things in the moment, can be a variety of creative solutions. I could have modelled a Tony Robbins “power move”. I could have dressed in a way that made me feel like I was killing it at life. Perhaps taken up a yoga practise that strengthened my core. Learned how to program myself with life-affirming positive talk, read positive books on living with purpose, and finally, rallied myself to rest when I needed it each day, each moment - instead of once every 2 years on holiday after a tournament.
I promise you, making your daily choices based on internal desired states of being and feelings will trip any outcome you can ever achieve, and make the journey towards anything you want for yourself fun and life-affirming. And who knows, maybe your “goals” will turn out better than ever - because you will be feeling it.
Now, over to you.
Let me know what you think. Leave me a comment telling me one goal you have for yourself - big or small - to floss your teeth each day, or to tun a marathon or save thousands of lives - and then tell me how you’re going to feel, and how you can create more of that feeling right this very moment.
I can’t wait to read your comments.
Love, Hayley xo
P.S - If you want to get clearer on what you want, ask yourself how you want to feel and get clear on that.
P.P.S - If you want some insanely useful help with making some big things happen from here on in, Come and see what The Fierce Salon is all about