“Moon, I see it!” PART I

When my daughter was very little, she took great pleasure in looking for the moon at night and then pointing it out to us.  While driving home late one evening, she spotted her giant glowing friend hanging high above in the darkness among the twinkling stars.  “Moon, I see it!” she exclaimed.

“Moon, I see it!”  A statement born of fascination, wonder, and delight.  It was so cute and memorable that it’s become a family quote for us.  Now, each time I see the moon, that little voice floats sweetly and clearly through my mind and I find myself reflecting on that night; that moment in time all those years ago.  I often reflect on something else about the moon, as well.  The vast distance that exists between the Earth and the moon, and how mankind was able to cross that distance.

In my last blog I began a discussion about getting from HERE to THERE and the definition of change in the eyes of 421 (“self-driven, purposeful, positive, and sustained”).  In that blog I also promised we would begin to discuss how to get from HERE to THERE.  So, off we go…

“To the moon, Alice!”

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Take a good look at the picture above.  Feel the emptiness of space between here and the moon; stark, cold, and daunting.

The space between.

The stuff that’s between here and there, now and then, the Earth and Moon, birth and death.

As we go through life, we are going through the space between our birth and our inevitable demise.  Much of the time, we don’t notice the space between because we go with the flow of life (we let it happen to us) and things become routine; invisible.  It’s only when we start to do things with the intent and purpose of change (swimming against the current) that we begin to feel the challenges that that seemingly empty space really presents to us.  It’s one thing to see the moon; a completely different proposition to get there.

I recently conducted an informal survey with family, friends, and colleagues in which I asked them several questions about their own change efforts; how they’ve tried to move through the space between.  The first question was, “How do you, personally, go about making a change or achieving a goal in your life?”  The responses varied in description but the following general themes appeared:

  1. Set a clear, vivid goal and commit to it

  2. Make a plan with specific actions and milestones

  3. Get motivated

  4. Work the plan

My next question to them was, “How’d that work for you?”  The responses back ranged from an indifferent, “Meh” to an exasperated “OMG! It was an epic fail!” to a curt but sympathy-demanding, “Shut up, Chad.”

But how could that be?  The steps they talked about seemed well thought out and reasonable.  In fact, if you search online, you’ll see very similar protocols for making changes and achieving goals all over the internet. 

So, then I asked people why they think they failed.  Many blamed it on a lack of motivation, willpower, or time. Others blamed it on a dislike or boredom with the effort (work) that was required.  Others didn’t see progress fast enough and simply gave up.

But certainly there are sure-fire tips, tricks, and hacks to deal with those, too.  Right?  Google anything about achieving your goals and there are oodles of articles, blogs, books, and gurus that pop up to show you exactly how to boost your willpower, find more time, sweat less, and enjoy the pain.  Success is certainly yours!

So, why were people still failing? What’s missing? 

Here’s what’s missing:  They weren’t ready to undertake the effort in the first place. 

“Huh?”

Yup. While people really wanted their goal, had a plan, and the initial motivation, they hadn’t done the upfront work to prepare themselves fully for the journey through the process.  They hadn’t developed the critical skills, knowledge, or mindset they needed to successfully navigate the process they were about to undertake.  Simply put, they failed because they weren’t truly ready.

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“People fail because they aren’t truly ready for the effort.”

In Part II of this blog, I’ll share with you in greater detail what I’ve learned about why people really fail.  If you’re honest with yourself about your own struggles to change something in your life, at least one of the reasons I describe will resonate with you. 

In the meantime, I have a little homework for you.  It won’t take long - less than 30 seconds. For the sake of forward progress in our discussion we’re going to assume that the goals we are talking about are actually achievable, even if extremely difficult.  There are, however, such things as impossible goals. “No there aren’t,” I hear you dear and undying optimists say, “Anything’s possible!”  Okay, then I ask you to set the goal for yourself to jump, completely unaided, from where you are right now to the moon.  I’ll give you until the next blog to make it happen…Good Luck!

KEY LEARNING:  We fail at achievable goals because, at some fundamental level, we simply aren’t ready to undertake the effort.

Until next time, be good for yourself and do good for others!

Chad

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Chad EmersonComment