Go With Your GUT in 2014

Goals, schmoals!

That word, G.O.A.L. can be a cringe-causing, four-letter word for many people this time of year.  There’s always so many talks and articles about new years resolutions and goal-setting around the first of January.  BUT make note that this post WILL NOT BE ONE OF THEM!

As a business coach, I know that goals are important to set as a way to benchmark progress.  I also know that for some individuals, the very act of setting goals can be paralyzing.

 As a child, I lived in an abusive, mismanaged home, and therefore, I had only one goal – to survive.  My daily life was not about “being _____when I grew up”.  It was not about “making my dreams come true”.  When your present is cloudy, it’s difficult to visualize a future with sun.

If you’re one of those people who hates the word, G.O.A.L.; or if you can’t see the value in goal-setting; or if your environment is just too cloudy to be able to see clearly enough to take a step, then I have a message for you:

Not being able to set goals is no excuse to not take action.  Standing still is worse than going in the wrong direction!  Any movement is better than no movement.

As a teenager, I learned to drive with a standard-shift Toyota pick-up truck.  I know some people dread stick-shift cars, and living in Western Washington now, where hills are everywhere, I can understand why.  But I was pretty good at using a clutch and driving during the early years of my instruction on the flat terrain of the Arizona desert. 

Sometime in the early years of my marriage, we owned a Ford Aerostar minivan, (with automatic transmission) which I drove most of the time.  My husband had a Ford Bronco II, and it was a standard transmission.  We lived in a house on top of a hill, and our driveway was fairly steep. 

One day, the Bronco was parked on the steep driveway, just outside of the garage.  A man in a delivery truck pulled up behind the Bronco, but needed the Bronco moved to create more space to unload his delivery.  Even though it was my husband’s primary vehicle, and even though he was home at the time, I offered to be the one to go move the Bronco up into the garage from the steep driveway.

I started the Bronco, put it into gear, and released the clutch as I pushed on the accelerator.  But the Bronco drifted back instead of forward.  I braked, and tried again to release the clutch and step on the accelerator.  The result was the same. 

On my third attempt to move the car forward, the Bronco drifted back far enough that it hit the delivery truck.  The Bronco sustained a nice dent.  UGH!  I learned that I had not put the Bronco in gear, but had instead left it in neutral.  My bad.

Have YOU ever thought you were in gear, but found that you were actually in neutral?  Trying to move forward in this state is impossible if you’re trying to go up hill.  And if you’re not careful, you can actually sustain some damage.  I hope my parable of the Bronco has taught you that.

The first step in going with your GUT, is to get in gear.  Then, use the talents, knowledge and skills that you have to do something.  ANYTHING.  Just make a move.  Start with what you know, and make forward progress.

Once you’ve acknowledged what you know, and what you can do, then do something a little risky.  Try something you haven’t tried before.  Overcome a fear, or do something selfless for someone else.  Just plant a new idea, nurture it, and let it grow!

If you don’t like to set goals, then I encourage you to just…..

Happy New Year!  And happy forward movement in 2014!