The answer to this question, is always the part that is the missing when I am working with people on what it is that they want to achieve in life or what they want to do next…
Sometimes next is not the answer, sometimes deepen the NOW is a better outcome!!
Anyways, when people do want to get into a conversation about what is in their future…
They have the end goal in mind, it’s usually a little vague here, but they do have a feeling for a rough outcome.
They can speak in generalisations and with a ‘maybe’… or an, ‘I was thinking’… sprinkled in their chat for some extra confusion, but that’s cool. Uncomfortably cool.
In my experience, people can be so far off track in what their plans were or are… racing out of further education or a previous job and off on a counter productive direction. The realisation of such is an awkward moment. I remember it well.
I guess that is the majority of us, myself included for many times in my life. It’s no biggie, but it is good to always check in with yourself or share with another to see where you are at.
With some questions, I can usually help the person narrow their thoughts down to something a little more tangible. When they do get that clarity, their body language changes, they become super engaged and they have an element of excitement and then… pop!!
Pop!! = I ask them, ‘So, do you have a plan?’
‘Not really, it’s… well, I was just thinking that maybe…’ this is the usual type of follow up response to the question.
Note; this is not everyone. Some people nail it right out of the blocks – they are clear on where they want to be, how they are getting there, what they are working on and they are very clear that it is not a straight-line outcome, they will hit setbacks. The outcome they want is an approximation and they will land as close to it as they can. Crystal clear!
They usually do. Smart and focused, clear… the conversation with this person is usually more around what could go wrong with their current plan, a more exploration from back from the future type of conversation.
‘So it is amazing that you have a plan…. but here is a great question to think about. A time-traveller from 2030 appears and tells you your plan failed. Which part of your current plan do you think is the the part that fails, what do you think he means, it fails?
With some approximation on clarity because you are working back from the future and the identification of a couple of flaws in the plan then it is another quick outcome question… ‘Ok, so how do you fix that part?’
Anyhow, we can get back to the people without the plan…
The coaching conversation here usually gets to a desired outcome, but the planning is a challenge and I often have to offer up a couple of generalised suggestions from me when the person hits that brick wall of doubt, lack of imagination and uncertainty.
Three suggestions from me:
- Get your money right so you can survive any transition period and feel safe. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and all that, a basic need.
- Educated yourself from now on. learn what you need to learn in order to be efficient in the industry field or for role that you want to be in .
- Make your plan of action a 24/7 focus by squeezing every minute out of your day, start early and use the time wisely as you skate to where the puck is going.
This gives some shape to the ongoing chatter and from here we can explore a more fruitful set of conversations.
Even when there is a whole lot of understanding of end result and the plan, the resulting question, the outcome will always be the same…
Now what is your next steps?
Fear steps in at this point, because this means commitment. This is where there is a shift from their life of ‘compliance’ to a life of ‘commitment’ and it is the most exciting thing to see as people experience this in so many different ways…
In the end. It’s a simple step forward that will make the difference. One foot in front of the other. The same way Hilary, and of the people who were with him at the time, climbed Everest… They took one step at a time.
Just make sure you take that step in the correct direction.