It was April 2000, and I was on the stage teaching 150 people how to use my new success system. I took a deep breath and shared one of my most intimate 3 year goals. Although I was almost 50 years old, I revealed that one of my deepest desires was to be a father.
At the time, the goal seemed achievable within the three years I was allowing. I was about to get married and we both wanted children. How hard could it be?
The challenges and setbacks came one after the other. First we experienced fertility issues and spent considerable time attempting to resolve them, first naturally and then medically. When that was unsuccessful we spent 18 months wading through the bureaucracy of the international adoption process. In April, at the last round of ProCoach Quarterly Seminars, I confidently told our members I would be a father by June. Not so. Instead, we encountered still more complications and delays.
After all that, our day has finally arrived. Marianna and I will leave for Shanghai on July 23rd to unite with our adorable one year-old daughter. My 3-year goal took five long years of planning, hoping and constant effort to come to fruition.
There is a major lesson in here for all of us who are committed to achieving our goals. My desire to have a child came from my heart, but the three year timeframe I set was totally arbitrary. I made it up in my head. It seemed reasonable at the time, but in hindsight I realize I had no idea of the journey the universe had in store for me.
We are taught that it is crucial to set a deadline on our goals. And establishing a target date does help because it creates a sense of urgency and produces a tension that keeps us moving forward. But we must not make the mistake of becoming attached to our timeframe. After coaching thousands of people, I can tell you that it takes longer than expected to achieve most major goals. Often considerably longer. If you are attached to your target completion date you may get discouraged, lose your focus and possibly even give up when you encounter the inevitable delays.
The real key to success is taking the consistent day-to-day actions that move you forward towards your goals. It is fine to be impatient, but ultimately you must be flexible with your target dates. You can't force things to happen to suit your schedule.
So hold onto your vision and keep working at it. If you never give up, you will eventually achieve your goals even if it takes longer than expected. I have stayed steadfastly committed to the three year goal I set more than five years ago. As a result, my lifelong dream to become a father will soon become a reality.
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach.
In This Issue
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How often do you find yourself saying or feeling "I should"? This is without question one of the most damaging phrases in the English language. Why? Here is the bottom line. People who feel genuinely successful have the following qualities: peace of mind, self-confidence, and self-worth. "Shoulding" on yourself destroys all three, effectively limiting your success.
The word "should" implies that there is an ideal - a standard which needs to be lived up to; a way that is right for you to be. This kind of thinking puts you into a no-win situation. If you do "the right thing", you have merely done your duty, what was expected; no pat on the back or celebration there! And, if you fail to do what you think you should do, you are guilty and deserve to be punished.
The worst part is that most of us set our standards so impossibly high we can never reach them. Then, when our realities fall short of our lofty ideals, we beat ourselves up with a long list of "should haves". Often our standards are vague, making it even harder for us to truly feel a sense of accomplishment. Let me give you an example. I have a sweet tooth and I love pies and pastry. I know that too much sugar is bad for me, and I "should" eat less of it. Since I have not identified a specified amount of sugar that I will allow myself to enjoy, any time I eat anything sweet I beat myself up.
And where do these standards that we are measuring ourselves by come from? Mostly from our societal conditioning, our parents, teachers, the media etc. In order to overcome these external pressures, we examine our conditioned ideals and make sure the goals and standards we are holding ourselves to resonate with who we are.
Eliminating your "shoulds" starts with self-awareness. Until you can catch yourself in the act of "shoulding" on yourself, you can't resolve the problem. Pay attention and you may discover your life is full of shoulds. (To get a sense of the role "shoulds" play in your life, take a moment to list them as they pertain to home and family.)
The way to reclaim your power is to transform your "shoulds" into choices. When your "shoulds" are pressuring you to do something - stop! Mentally step back and ask yourself, "Given my values and long term aspirations, what choice would serve me?" Let's go back to the sugar example. I might say to myself: "I see myself being healthy and energetic when I am older, but I am also committed to enjoying life. This dessert will not prevent me from reaching my long term goal, so I choose to treat myself." Now I can let go of my guilt and actually enjoy my indulgence. On the other hand, I may decide that eating the dessert is inconsistent with where I am going. In which case I can choose not to eat it and celebrate the step I have taken towards reaching my desired state. Either way, I win.
It is crucial to examine your standards and ensure they are both realistic and measurable. If you are like most people, they are they are anything but! Limiting my sugar intake is realistic, but avoiding sugar completely is not. Setting a measurable target allows me to track my results objectively. By allowing myself a quota of two sugary snacks or desserts per week, I can feel good about my continued progress towards my fitness/health goal.
Here's another scenario. Perhaps you feel you should work overtime to finish a project, but you would rather not. Stop, consider the big picture, and then make a choice. Either decide to stay late without resentment, or make a specific commitment around what you will do and let go of the guilt and obligation.
Take a good look at the list of standards you impose on yourself in both your personal and professional life. Modify them to make them realistic and measurable. Now you can make clear choices. Can you feel the freedom?
Member Success Stories
Spotlight on Gord Wusyk of Edmonton, Alberta
Gord Wusyk is one of Western Canada's leading experts in succession planning for family-owned businesses. He is the founder of Wusyk Financial Group, a financial planning firm, and Predictable Futures: The Family Business Centre, a company which provides consulting services to ensure the successful transitioning of family business ownership from one generation to the next. Both of his businesses were well established when he joined ProCoach.
ProCoach: With thirty years in business on your own and two well-established and successful businesses, what motivated you to join ProCoach?
GW: There is so much to do in my businesses that I wanted to find a system that would keep me on track. I was looking for a time management system, as well as a personal coaching system, to help me focus and become more effective.
ProCoach: Can you pinpoint how the ProCoach System has helped you and your business become more successful?
GW: Yes, I can describe it in two words: focus and discipline. The system helps me focus and get things done. Furthermore, I am getting the "right things" done. The system helps me prioritize, then take those priorities and follow them through to completion. It also challenges me to be accountable for all the tasks I have set down as important in achieving my goals.
ProCoach: What specific results can you attribute to using the ProCoach system?
GW: I am moving forward faster because I am using my time far more effectively. This has directly affected our revenues and business growth. Our hourly/daily revenues have increased - people are paying us more for our services. And, we have seen an increase in new clients. We have better tools to develop the action plans that create results for our clients.
ProCoach: Can you quantify or describe your success rate?
GW: Well, the first quarter of this year was our best in thirty years. And in the second quarter, we learned some crucial lessons that will likely quadruple business in the future.
ProCoach: What kinds of challenges were holding you back?
GW: Prioritizing effectively was an issue; now we prioritize with intention. I know exactly what my key weekly priorities are, as well as my quarterly priorities. That makes a huge difference. I have a check list indicating what I have completed and what I am putting off. The system keeps me on task, moving forward and getting things done.
ProCoach: Has ProCoach been a useful tool for other people in your company?
GW: I have all of my staff members using the time management system, which assists in allocating days to work on specific tasks. It's an excellent system. Recently I have been paying more attention to Freedom Days. I find if I take the full 24 hours away from work as the system recommends, there's a kind of recharging that takes place, and I accomplish more on my Production Days.
ProCoach: What do you like about the ProCoach System itself?
GW: Its simplicity. The system is clear, concise and useable. And, getting started doesn't require a major learning curve.
ProCoach: What do you like about dealing with ProCoach?
GW: The Laser Coaching sessions with you are excellent. Your questions often generate useful and progressive answers that can be applied immediately. I never miss the live Quarterly Seminars. They are both motivating and encouraging. You create an atmosphere where people can support and learn from one another.
ProCoach: What advice do you have for ProCoach members wanting to increase their results?
GW: I would say don't be discouraged if the system is not giving you magical results overnight. At times you will be pumped and motivated, at other times you may find yourself discouraged. The important thing is to stick with the system and over time it will do what it promises to do. Also, as you continue to use the system, it actually increases your ability to answer important questions that you may not have been able to answer when you started out. Your goals and aspirations may change, and that's okay.
ProCoach: What would you say to a person who is considering joining ProCoach?
GW: I would say ProCoach is an excellent system for anyone who is self-employed or someone who wants to start a business. I have also recommended ProCoach to my staff, and numerous clients, many of whom run successful, established businesses.
ProCoach: How has the ProCoach system affected your quality of life?
GW: Fitness is very important to me; increasing my organizational skills has helped me to keep fitness a top priority. Also, my "attitude of gratitude" has improved. Every week the Weekly Planner asks me to list the things I am thankful for. Instead of focusing on my areas of discouragement, I am focusing on my blessings which I find to be uplifting and inspiring.
ProCoach: Thank you, Gord. And congratulations on the success you are achieving!
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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