202 – July 21
“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”—Charles F. Kettering
What had happened to me, as I made a ninety-degree-angle turn from actress to bookkeeper, was a result of what seminar leader Roger Lane called “The Processional Effect.” As you pursue a goal, you accumulate knowledge and develop skills and abilities. Some of these are related to the goal you have chosen, but many are not. All of these new insights and abilities percolate inside you until, one day, you see another goal; something you couldn’t have seen from the place you started when you picked the original goal. From this new vantage point, another goal becomes clear. Now that you see the new goal, it looks shinier and brighter than the original goal. And you change goals.
To diagram this, you can picture yourself at Point A, looking at your goal, which is at Point B. As you take steps towards Point B, you eventually arrive at Point X, a fork in the road. In one direction, you can still see Point B. But down the other fork, you now see a possible new goal, Point C.
Point A————————Point X——————————Point B
You cannot see Point C from Point A. You have to get to the fork in the road at Point X in order to see Point C. And after Point C, there’s Point D, and Points E, F, G, H, I, J, etc. You have to be on the road towards something—anything—in order to see the next goal. Other goals will show up—you don’t have to know what they are when you start out. Just get started.
There’s no college course in how to create a Financial Stress Reduction® Workshop. I couldn’t make this my goal as a child. I had other goals, and the pursuit of them led me to this one. From actress to bookkeeper to business owner to workshop leader to speaker and now to writer, each goal led me to new opportunities for growth, experience, entertainment, fulfillment.
And each step along the way was necessary. I couldn’t see the goal of being a business owner when I was an actress—I could only see it when I was a bookkeeper. I couldn’t see being a public speaker when I was a bookkeeper—it only became visible when I started teaching workshops. What you learn achieving each goal gives you the knowledge and skill to create another.
Set a goal—any goal. It will lead you where you need to go.
“I am open to receive prosperity, joy, and love from all directions!”
When people ask me how to determine the “right” goal for themselves, not sure which choice before them is best, I just say, “Your best guess for today will do.”
Goals aren’t about achievement of a dream. It looks like they are at first, but that’s an illusion. The joy of the achievement lasts about a minute and a half. The movie star that wins the Academy Award for Best Actor hugs the Oscar, giddily thanking everyone they ever met in their whole life, and parties all night in celebration.
Then they go home, go to sleep, and the next morning what is it they want? Another acting job. They just want to continue their work, their art, their craft. It’s the daily doingness – the process of inventing and pursuing their goal – that creates joy in their life. The acknowledgment and applause is wonderful but it is a by-product, not the thing itself. The thing itself is the work – the daily exploration of human behavior, mood, friendships, enmities, glories and disasters. It’s the process that matters in the end. That is what is experienced daily, that is what creates a happy person – not the single moment high point of reaching the end goal.
The painter doesn’t paint one picture, call it perfection, and sit and look at it for 60 years. Every day they paint, their glory is to paint, their desire is to paint, it is their life to paint. That they offer this to the world for understanding and communication, is the purpose of their lives and it is ongoing, continuing, unbroken, endless. There is no goal where you stop becoming.
The importance of every goal is that it is a path leading you through this existence in a particular direction. You choose the initial direction, but life will take over and lead you on through byways and highways you can’t determine from your beginning. Years later you will look back and, with a sense of child’s wonder, will exclaim, “Ah, so that’s what I was doing there – that’s the lesson I was learning.” Your job is to pick a path and begin, but it doesn’t matter what you choose – life knows what you need and will guide you there.
When I rejected acting because it wasn’t nourishing my soul any longer, I took the bookkeeping job, became the owner of the bookkeeping service, then started teaching Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops and wrote books, I was just “following my bliss” as Joseph Campbell said, taking each next step as it appeared because it seemed logical, felt good, and made me happy in pursuit of the goals I dreamed of.
Now so many years later I can look back and see what was the underlying theme – that what most empowered me and made me happy was working with a small creative team to invent a common good that empowered everyone. The thing I enjoyed most about acting was rehearsal. It was the process of creating that was enjoyable – after the show was set and we just did endless repetitions of it, I was bored. The bookeeping job was with a small dynamic company filled with creative, happy, intelligent people that was growing – another small creative team with a goal to help our clients and ourselves to prosper and grow. My bookkeeping service was the same. Then when I started teaching workshops, I immediately rejected the Tony-Robbins-motivational-big-room-seminar-48-employee model and decided that small, interactive master-mind groups of 8-12 people was the way to go.
I was around 63 when I figured this out. So don’t worry if your life doesn’t seem to make sense or your choices are erratic and your goals changeable. You are being led by Life to your highest good and greatest bliss. What feels good to you today? What feels empowering and creative and exciting?
Those are the signposts Life is giving you. Go do that.