Posted by Jacinta Hin on March 19, 2009

“Goals are boring”, I thought while in the middle of a proprioceptive writing exercise. “What then, should I work with instead?”I asked. “How about themes?” came the response.

That got my attention.

Goals work well for many people, but they just do not excite me.

I enjoy being on the road towards the peak, but the peak itself, the realized goal, feels like an end-station. Once there, the journey’s over and nothing seems to extend beyond it.

But it’s out on the road itself, with all of the attendant mystery, surprises and unexpected encounters that I am excited to be learning, shifting and growing.

Somehow I feel that when setting themes, I’m packing mentally nourishing supplies for the life journey ahead.

These help fuel the mind and point to what you will be doing, rather than to where you are going. They also help shape both attitude and approach while en-route.

A theme can be a single keyword, an elaborate metaphor, or even a particular discipline. As long as it feels true or exciting and hints to the how of things, most anything will do.

Over the years I’ve bought many books and attended various training courses to improve my coaching skills, but yet I use just a fraction of it all. I’ve come to realize that I’ve been piling up one piece of knowledge on top of the other, and am more of an information collector than a user. “Revisit the pieces” feels the perfect theme to help me get more from my existing learning resources. Next time, I’ll delay hitting the Amazon one-click-order button and make a beeline for the wisdom already stacked on my bookshelves.

In this way themes work like values. If you let them guide your actions and decisions, you will automatically flow in the right direction, towards your goals, towards where you want to be.


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  1. Angela July 23, 2009 3:42 am

    isn’t it wonderful how we can all teach one another, if we are willing to listen, acknowledge and accept such crossover messages. In this case I smiled to read that you extended what you had ‘heard’ in that PW WRITE into this piece; it really works well.
    I was especially struck by the idea of revisiting, especially since I recently pushed the SEND button to Amazon for $300 worth of new titles.
    Now there’s a thought.

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