Have you noticed the number of books out there that deal with manifesting and achieving goals? I’ve read more than my share and I’ve gotten something of value from each one. I enjoy those from the early 20th century for their apparent simplicity but also their antiquated language which harks back to earlier and theoretically simpler times. But where they?
Those familiar with late 19th and early 20th century history know a number of wars, a global pandemic, and other conflicts made those years a time of transition that was anything but smooth.
Conversations with my grandparents were enlightening.
They did not sugar coat things even as they put their experiences through the filters of hindsight.
Some books have been updated to reflect a modern era whereas others are out and out new – written from the perspective of someone who has overcome adversity and struggle using techniques common across majority of books on the subject.
i.e. writing goals, visualizing goals as already achieved.
Though I’ve gained tremendous value and made progress from utilizing techniques shared in the various books, I’ve come to see where I’ve done myself an injustice.
It has to do with one of my favorite themes.
Perspective is Everything
It was this morning as I was going through my closet that I came to see what an injustice I’d done to myself by not understanding that though someone may have been through a similar challenge and may have words of advice and wisdom to offer – they didn’t go through my challenge.
They weren’t playing the same hand I was. Their cards were different.
What came from this brief introspection is a tidbit I haven’t seen in books; one I will share.
It’s a big piece of the puzzle.
How did I get to this insight?
The Tale of Two Memories
I thought briefly of the long multi-year journey of my struggle to build a wardrobe I felt reflected who I was after leaving Corporate.
I struggled to find the Goldilocks balance of career casual.
My efforts usually ended up revealing what didn’t work though they were not for naught.
I eventually got myself here where I’m comfortable with what I have; about as Goldilocks as it gets when it comes to that balance.
One of the better exercises I did – years ago – was have people I trusted [to be honest], who understood the career transition I was going through, give their opinion on various pieces in my closet. I listened to comments like “Too formal, wrong color, makes you look like an old lady.”
Usually their expressions told the tale before anything came out of their mouths.
At the end of the exercise I had a rather large pile including accessories to donate but what remained felt too patchwork. It was a defining moment on the path to attaining my career goals.
Having the right self-image meant I wouldn’t feel like an imposter in my new career.
The other example – one that may be read by the individual – is meant to illustrate.
Not criticize the individual who was being sincere in their efforts to help me.
I love having house plants in my environment.
In spite of their resiliency it’s been more of a challenge than I’ve liked with challenges tied to various locations I’ve lived.
A lot of the places lacked adequate sun and were too arid because of a need to run heat.
House plants , including those marked as low-light plants generally need more sun and moisture – though not more watering – than is conveyed.
At one point we were living in an area that from outside appearances implied it would be easy to grow plants. And yet I was facing one of my bigger challenges.
Damn if my plants kept dying!
We had plenty of sun – but not too much – and water didn’t seem to be a problem.
Frustrated I consulted a friend who is pretty savvy growing plants in challenging environments. Unfortunately, all that came from those conversations was my feeling worse.
I think that came from the fact I was picking up the vibe of “You have to be doing something wrong since the environment is ideal.”
Unfortunately, I gave a lot of power to this individual because they had overcome environmental challenges.
Challenges I decided were more significant than the ones I was facing since I didn’t have snow and there was more sun.
What I didn’t consider was that though the individual may have had significant environmental challenges, they weren’t my environmental challenges. Worse, the lack of certain extremes – low light and snow/freezing temps – obscured the impact of the environmental challenges I was facing.
To start with, these plants were on an outdoor patio and though they were shielded from direct wind, they were not shielded from the constant buffeting our location was subject to.
The air was more arid than I realized.
Like a desert in terms of lacking moisture.
We were not far from the Pacific Ocean. It honestly didn’t occur to me the salt in the air would take a toll on my plants.
I didn’t consider this until a friend living on a sailing yacht told me she can’t keep plants alive because the salt air finishes them off.
For years I felt frustrated because though I’d tried to explain my environmental challenges, my friend didn’t come across as appreciating them.
I felt I was on the receiving end of “You think you have problems…they aren’t nearly what I have to face so you must be doing something wrong.”
This was on me.
I truly appreciate my friend’s efforts and all these years later they are still helping because they made me realize I was taking on energy that wasn’t helpful. One might suggest it was just one of those lost in translation moments.
What I learned from these examples is that a very important step when working to manifest goals is to offload anything that isn’t part of that goal achieved.
Physically and psychologically.
To the best of your ability, it’s important to remove what might be blocking the path.
What isn’t representative of the end result – achieved.
This is an adjunct to focusing on the outcome.
Which is only part of the equation.
Letting go of that which isn’t part of that outcome is crucial.
It can be an arduous process.
It can be traumatic and disruptive.
Techniques to deal with the twists and turns in the path are important and this is where authors sharing their experiences can really help.
As this is meant to do.
Note: Some of the best indoor plant advice I’ve come across has come from bloggers living in the UK.