When we set end result goals and focus on them relentlessly it can feel a bit flat after achieving them. There are a couple of ways around this.
One is to set a further end result goal so that when you’ve reached the first goal and you’ve celebrated (very important!), you have something else to aim for. My end result goal might be to have a full diary of paying coaching clients. Once I have met that goal, I might decide to increase my prices and then my new end result goal is to have a full diary of clients paying the higher rate.
Process goals, however, are the key to a happy journey to the end result. My process goals for coaching (and therapy) are to practice empathy, genuineness and unconditional positive regard for every client. It gives me so much pleasure to be with them in this way. I try on what it’s like to be them and can offer my understanding from this way of being. It is just wonderful to be with people like this.
It’s the same in climbing: if I just focus on the end result of getting to the top, it’s not as fulfilling as, say, focusing on my technique whilst climbing. When I decide to pay attention to my footwork, placing each foot carefully, I arrive at the top without being attached to getting there. It’s so much more pleasurable.
Does this make sense? What’s your experience of process goals and end result goals?
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About 5 years ago, I began climbing. I loved it. I’d go to the local bouldering wall and get lost in the movements and challenges of working out the routes. However, I had a couple of falls where I twisted my ankle. When I returned to climbing I felt very afraid, even on ‘easy’ routes. I used my sage to work out what had happened during those falls. There is a guideline in climbing that you need to have 3 points of contact with the wall for balance. What I noticed was when I took my attention from my feet to my hands, the contact between my feet and the holds was loose. That was why I had slipped. I couldn’t feel my feet.
I wondered about not being able to feel my feet. When walking I often stumbled or stamped. It occurred to me that it was a trauma symptom and stemmed from not being in my body. I designed some experiments. The first was a walking activity. When walking I would focus on feeling my feet. It was hard at first because I was still stumbling and stamping. I felt embarrassed. But when my sage was ‘online’ I could just notice what it was like rather than judge it. I began to notice little sensations in my feet – how they felt inside my shoes and as my shoes made contact with the ground I didn’t need to stamp any more.
Another experiment was to climb the easiest routes available and pay attention to feeling sensations in my feet as I climbed up and down. I would do each route 4 times, just focusing on my feet. Gradually, I began to trust my feet to hold me, even when I was looking at my hands. I didn’t have to use so much energy to keep paying attention to my feet whilst looking elsewhere. I could pay attention to both my feet and my hands.
I began to experiment with other areas of my body. I wasn’t aware of my glutes at all. So I began paying attention to that part of me whilst walking and climbing, and even whilst rising from a chair. I felt such joy at feeling these sensations in my body. My body – I felt like I owned my body at long last! I resided in it, it was mine, and I loved it!
Embodiment is just one aspect of being in sage and I’m covering so much more in the upcoming 5 day free masterclass in The Art of Self-Compassion. Join us to expand your ease and flow and have better relationships with yourself and everyone else! Click here to register.