By Chris Chittenden
“The first principle of success is desire -- knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seed."
… Robert Collier (1885 - 1950) US success author & mining engineer
One thing that is evident to those of us in the coaching profession is that everyone seems to know what they don’t want in life, but not so many know what they to actually want to create. The preference in this orientation shows up very clearly in the way that people talk about things. Those with a preferred orientation to avoiding what they don’t want in life will spend a lot of time referencing the past using negative language. For example, “I don’t want that to happen to me again!” Even though they are speaking to the future, they are very much speaking about the past. The opposite is valid for those with a focus on what they do want. For example, “I want to make this happen!” Each of these orientations creates a certain way of being that leads us to certain actions and not others. It also has a very big impact on when and how we direct our energy.
Every one of us has had experiences we did not like and if all we do is seek to avoid to those experiences in the future, we end up putting a lot of our energy into avoiding what we do not want. As a result, our motivation is heightened when we are close to things we want to move away from but lessens the further we get away from it.
On the other hand, if we have an orientation to move towards what we do want, our motivation and energy levels will tend to increase as we get closer to our goal. An orientation to move towards what we want to create also means that we are likely to better use our energy as we are doing it a more designed way.
Even though these two orientations will tend to emerge as a result of our experiences and way of being, we can actively work to create a “moving towards” and more purposeful orientation through awareness. The simple cue is that when we hear ourselves speaking about what we don’t want we can turn this into a creative question and ask ourselves what we do want. In doing so, you will find that the tone and focus of the conversation may well shift to a more constructive future-oriented mode.
© 2008 Chris Chittenden