A Goal Is a Dream With a Deadline

 Merging the Dreamer and the Driven

When I found the title of my blog post on Cava.com I initially rolled my eyes at yet another fluffy slogan designed to motivate us into doing more more more. Then I paused to think that these words do have meaning, especially today. Like many others, I am celebrating in one big sigh of relief with President Biden being inaugurated. Today truly marked a deadline of a goal that Trump did not succeed in entirely, although a lot of damage was done in the process. Here’s to many goals needing to be achieved in the next 4 years. This is the time where the dreaming and driven parts of ourselves need to unite in order to create the world that we want.

I am reminded that although we may not all be political leaders, we all have different parts of ourselves that must come into alignment in order to get anything done in our day, month and year.  We have a variety of factors that can help us or make it more challenging to achieve those goals- everything spanning from mental/physical health issues to financial resources and having support networks available to us.

In 2016 I knew a new career change was coming my way in addition to my new life in Canada with my husband. I just didn’t know what that exactly was. Then after the first week of acupuncture school I knew I wanted to quit. I had my mind set that whatever ‘this’ was, wasn’t going to work. But I still held on, with a  lot of encouragement.  I had an idea of what it was going to be and it didn’t fit my expectations. At the same time I knew deep within this was my next best step and this license would serve a significant and legitimate purpose to tying all of my healing skills together. Acupuncture school was no joke. The dreamer within me and the driven part of me were in conflict.

Some people get frazzled when they hear the word “goal”. We are living in a white patriarchal driven society where constant goal setting and competing to be the best is not only the norm but is also expected. Who wouldn’t get triggered by the word these days? However, what if there was a new relationship we could have with goals? Instead of seeing it as something we HAVE to do, maybe we can tap into the dreamer part of ourselves and see it as something we WANT to do…even when we don’t necessarily want to do it? The dreamer is expansive and sees all possibilities. The driven part of us is focused and consolidates every action for the purpose of a mission. The tricky part is finding a way to merge these parts of ourselves.

When we find a way to merge the dreamer with the driven parts of ourselves we can get what we want out of life. How? Small purposeful actions with a deadline help us to keep up when we don’t want to (which will happen). The dreamer helps us to live the dream while fully being in the present process. Because my anxiety and depression got amplified under stress, I was forced to embrace this method of small, purposeful action.  I kept up with a daily meditation/yoga routine but decreased it from 2-3 hours a day to 30min-1hr. Instead of studying for hours at a time I forced myself to work in 25min blocks. My support network helped me put systems in place like this that helped me take a gigantic goal and break it up into small steps.

Support Networks Keep Our Goals Sustainable

To make our goal be more than just an unending pep talk, we need a support network to help us stay accountable. Although my husband was my primary and fabulous cheerleader in my daily struggles, I also needed a team. This is where a coach, mentor, healthcare team, small group of trusted friends come into play. I talked to dear friends in Portland frequently, talked to my doctor about receiving more mental health support, received healing modalities monthly when I could, reduced my school load and spent more time for self care. In the end, I achieved my goal of finishing school and passing my board exams during a pandemic. It wasn’t easy. The people that helped me the most asked questions instead of telling me what to do. This forced me to take ownership of my goals. Sometimes I needed a nudge from my support network in figuring out what those steps were, but ultimately I made the decision to embrace them and keep going forward. It’s not always easy.

Another person who helped me was my yoga therapy teacher, Guru Dharam Singh. He introduced me to a way of getting clear on my goals and expectations by writing out my thought process divided into 4 parts: What Could Be, What Should Be, What Is, What Will Be. Dividing my thoughts into these four quadrants helped not only clear the confusion and frustration of my process but also the differences between my expectations, what was actually happening while allowing my expanded self to create my best future self. One of the tools I give as a Holistic Health Coach is a ‘Life Script’ which implements these steps of clarity and the small steps that are discussed during our first introduction coaching call.

Opportunity Is NOT Always Equal

Then there’s the white elephant in the room (pun intended). As a white person I understand I have been given more career and education opportunities than others. I grew up in a white middle class family with 2 parents like every other dysfunctional ‘normal’ family. Although I have debt I was also given a lot of financial opportunity throughout my life to achieve not just one, but 3 higher education degrees. I am aware that much of this opportunity wasn’t just because I worked hard to achieve my goals, but also because I was already in a system that naturally supported  white people to succeed more than BIPOC people. There are many told and untold stories of this systemic malfunction of our society. One of the first times I became aware of it, but still didn’t quite process it until years later, was when I watched the movie, “Pursuit of Happiness”.

Because of the way our society has systematically been set up to support white people more than  BIPOC communities, there is undoubtedly inequality. Here is one article just about the inequality of education. I am a huge supporter of continuing to learn to reach goals whether that be in an institution or self study.

We can help each other achieve our goals without stepping into a ‘white saviorism’ role but rather learn how to EMPOWER people to take ownership of achieving their goals with consistent effort while maintaining compassion in the process.

Take the Next Best Step

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Again, get a coach/mentor.

When I moved to Canada and realized my hard earned experience and education as a physiotherapist assistant wasn’t going to transfer to Canada the way I expected (in terms of pay and autonomy) I knew I needed a change of plans. I also had no idea where to start but I knew I needed to have a vision, my ‘why’. The ‘how’ wasn’t as important. Perhaps the best advice I got was from my dear friend, Gurucharan Singh, in Portland who worked as a social worker for many years. He told me to choose what feels the best. I made a list of things I like to do. It was a long list all the way from the mundane to my wildest dreams. Then I made a decision to narrow it down based on what felt like the next best step. It wasn’t perfect at all but it was a start. Sometimes we just need to start and let the rest work itself out. As a holistic health/life coach I keep this in mind while adding a more formal approach to helping people find their next best steps.

Success Requires Time, Failure and having an Infinite mindset

If there was one thing I could tell my younger self 10, 15 years ago including my younger just self last week, I would say, “be patient, it’s ok to not be perfect.” I was a child that was subconsciously and consciously to be conditioned to see failure as weakness and laziness. What about you? Instead of seeing failure as a necessity for success, it simply wasn’t tolerated. I see that mindset slowly changing in our culture today as us elder millennials know that pushing someone to success with fear based methods doesn’t work. Also, giving up too early isn’t a great choice either because you know mom and dad’s finished basement is always available.  There needs to be a balance, which sometimes includes living with mom/dad at a certain point, but it isn’t the excuse to check out on your dreams and settle for less.

Mastery and success takes time. In the same breath I would tell my younger self to celebrate more of the near wins. Despite being in the top percentage of my high school class and a fairly good student while attaining my two other diplomas, acupuncture school was a different animal. I had to learn, as an acupuncturist, people wouldn’t be concerned if I could pass a test but rather if I could help their depression, insomnia or hip pain. More importantly, they would want to know if I could meet them on a level of human to human and help them in a authentic way. Just passing was good enough because it meant the learning didn’t stop after I graduated. I knew that my goal of completing acupuncture school and passing my board exams was a goal with a deadline. As a spiritual warrior, if I was really going to walk my talk, I needed to keep my word.

I also had to tone down the self judgement and be compassionate with myself. My brain and body in my late 30s worked entirely different than it did when I was in my early 20s. This didn’t include all the life experiences and subconscious beliefs I picked up along the way that needed to be processed and cleared out of my subconscious mind.

Reaching your Deadline…. or Not?

After writing the majority of this post I came across the latest episode of Brene Brown’s ‘Dare to Lead’ podcast. She interviewed Simon Sinek, who talks about how successful people have an infinite mindset. They look to the bigger picture of what could be and see challenges as something exciting instead of shrinking into finite, limited ‘goal’ tasks that are based on productivity equating self worth. I highly suggest listening to this podcast and/or getting Sinek’s book, “The Infinite Game”.  According to Sinek, if someone has a vision than goals aren’t finite. Sure, the small tasks needed to reach the vision require deadlines but if someone has true vision, then it is unending. True vision is ever expanding and transforming to something greater than just one person. It reminded me of when Harinam Singh, a Sikh elder in Mexico, said to me a long time ago that being liberated (ie: infinite) is falling in mid-air with complete Trust not knowing where you are going to land but still being ok with it. Why? Because there is a vision.

Where to Go From Here

My job is to help you empower yourself to reach your goals while providing healing along the way to  integrate and align those emotional and physical parts of you that may not be fully on board yet. I don’t have all the answers for you, but I am positive that you have all the answers for yourself. They are just hidden, waiting to be found in their own time and with some help.  As a healthcare professional with almost 20 years of experience, I know that the people who get the most out of their sessions embrace the suggestions I give so they can have improved holistic health. My clients and I work as a team for resourceful opportunities to make that happen. This includes not charging an arm and leg for my services and not turning anyone away who need help who are in financial hardship.

Whether it’s creating an exercise/meditation routine, decreasing pain, getting healthier or working to remove a condition…Let’s re-imagine it together. It’s the small goals that lead to big success and big change.