March Madness - Zooming Out

Find out who you are and do it on purpose. 
— Dolly Parton

Last week, you filled out this sentence:


"I am passionate about ……… It is of the utmost importance to me in my life because…………I will live a fulfilled life authentic to who I am when …………."


Or, maybe this sentence resonated more with you:


"I want to focus on ……. It is of the utmost importance to me at this point in my life because ……….When I incorporate this in my life I will be able to……….."


You are pumped that you have finally zeroed in on that one thing you are passionate about. Now what? 

Illuminate the path with the light of your thought.
— Supriya Gurjar Troup

 Now comes a two-part process of first "zooming out" - exploring what behaviors we may have that can help us (or hurt us) in realizing our passion (or ultimate goal for March, from last week's blog); and second, "zooming in" - narrowing down our behaviors to just one or two that are best suited to help us. For some of us, this will be a straightforward process - we may have a good grasp already of how we've been behaving, and what behaviors we need to adopt (or change) going forward. If so, great!   But for most of us, this will require a lot of time and effort and self-analysis. That's why we are going to divide the work into two parts.  So, here is our goal for this week.


Our Goal this week To explore behaviors/habits/skills that will help you to make your ultimate goal a reality - and also, to identify behaviors/habits/skills that may be preventing you from reaching this ultimate goal


Let's get started!

It’s life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Idiot
By Fyodor Dostoevsky

 Part I: Zoom Out - Exploring Our Behaviors, Habits, and Skills


How beautifully symbolic that I am writing this looking at the vast Pacific Ocean. The waves are crashing and the blue-gray spreads to the horizon as the water and the sky become one. The Sun hasn't risen yet. There's anticipation, there's hope, there's excitement in Nature - you can almost hear it in the energy. The ocean means a lot of things to me - it's where I feel at home, it calms me, it's vastness puts everything in perspective for me - I am a small speck in a large universe and my worries and concerns are proportionately small. The limitlessness of it makes me think of possibilities, and literally broadens my horizon.


 So now, if you find that perspective helpful, use it to help you step back and take a broad view.  Ask yourself, "In order for me to make progress toward reaching my goal:"

  • What behaviors do I need?

  • What habits do I need to create/change?

  • What skills do I need to build or hone?

 You might find it helpful to make 3 columns on a piece of paper, and list behaviors in the first column, habits in the second, and skills in the third. Or if you think you have a lot to write down, you may want to note these on separate pages. Just like the brainstorming step in our previous blog post, go crazy! Don't limit yourself at this stage. 


At this point, I'd like to throw out a general warning.  NOT that any of you would do this!   But... please remember when listing your skills and behaviors that it's important to be honest.  You know yourself best, and you know whether the behaviors, habits, and skills you've listed are true and accurate.  If you aren't honest during this step of the process, it will be difficult to achieve your goals in the end.


After you have a good solid list, try to think of which behaviors, habits, or even skills you may have that might be preventing you from making progress toward your ultimate goal for this month.  You might ask, "How can a skill be keeping me from making progress?"  Let's say your job requires you to think on your feet, and over time you've developed the ability to adapt quickly to any situation.  This skill, while valuable on the job, might make it difficult for you to keep to a schedule, or even to create a schedule in the first place.  If you find you need a strict schedule to realize your ultimate goal, the "adaptability" skill may be getting in the way.  You would then want to create behaviors or habits at home that will help you keep to a schedule, leaving you free to continue to use the skill in the workplace.  To help identify possible areas for change, you can ask yourself:

  • What are some things that might be preventing me from taking action and making progress?

  • What am I tolerating?

  • What am I afraid of?

  • What am I not letting go of?


You can write your answers to these questions on a new page.  Being able to identify things that have prevented you from realizing your dreams is an important first step in overcoming them and allowing you to reach your ultimate goal.  But this kind of analysis can be difficult.  It can be easy to blame yourself for "letting things get in the way" and not already being where you want to be.  If you're feeling like this, it's important to remember to look at the big picture.  When viewing the situation in that perspective, an isolated view can be misleading. For example, if you are a single mother trying to raise children, putting food on the table, giving your children the  best education you can, your dreams may have taken a back seat during more stressful times. Berating yourself for that would not be a fair and just act. On the flip side, you might not look in depth at the problem and might miss important insights into how you work, behave, what makes you tick, what pushes your buttons, and many such details. Striking a balance when analyzing your own situation is both a practice and an art. The more you do it, the better you will get at it.


Need some inspiration?  It may be that some research will prove useful here.

  • Talk to people you know and trust who may have undertaken tasks similar to yours. What skills did they add? What behaviors did they change?

  • Read up on people you admire. Who are your role models? What do you admire the most about them? What was their situation? What did they do about it? How did they overcome challenges?

  • No role models? No problem. Search the web. There is a lot of information at our fingertips. Look up, read, but don't get lost in the web and end up reading about, say, 100 varieties of apples. Keep your exploration focused. While being in this mode of curiosity, it's easy to get lost and end up with not much in the way of useful information for the topic at hand.


Success Check: You now have a comprehensive list of all the behaviors/habits/skills that will take you closer on your path towards your ultimate goal. You should have discovered a lot about yourself in the process. You should also have a list of things that may have come in the way of your goals in the past, such as fears, things you've held onto, or situations you may have tolerated. Great job!

Share in comments below: What was easy about this exercise? What was really difficult? What stood out as some behaviors/habits/skills that you’d need to achieve your ultimate goal?


 Sneak Peek: I have hinted above but next week, we are going to zoom in and focus on ONE of these behavior/habit/skill that will make the most impact for you. We will put an action plan together so you can apply all that you are learning and acquiring here in your real world. See you next week!

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
— Bertrand Russell