I have an active imagination. When left on its own – my brain is a whirl of activity. It is one of my greatest assets and biggest challenges. I don’t see things from one side only. Instead my mind has a facility for floating around each individual idea and considering the possibilities from all sides. It’s a very busy place in there – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Nonetheless it poses specific challenges.
When I write one of these blogs for instance, I have to work very hard to contain all the possible tangents that tempt me at every turn. I prefer to write in a “stream of consciousness” fashion, and am often surprised myself at the final results of my meanderings. There has been more than one occasion when I sit down at my laptop – thinking I am going to write about “x” only to find that I have just completed a blog about “y”. For the most part it works for me. I have grown to be flexible and open-minded with the process, thankfully, for if I was not it would surely be a very frustrating experience.
Now this technique probably wouldn’t work for me in all settings, but in this genre it doesn’t seem particularly problematic. Which leads me to the notion of flexibility and forgiveness, is it better to adjust and bend or to stay firmly on a single track? One could say that in order to meet your objectives you need to define a specific path and stay on it in order to reach your goals. Or you could take the stance that the journey itself is a goal worth exploring, it may take you longer to get there but you will learn more on the way. In coaching, one of the primary activities is helping folks to define their goals and to take the necessary steps to achieving them, but it is imperative that you work with what is best for the individual rather than adhering to one particular technique.
Because really – the two approaches are not mutually exclusive anyway. I do believe in setting goals and in defining specific and attainable steps to get you where you want to go. However, sometimes it is necessary to be flexible in your approach – life is not always linear – and giving yourself a hard time about getting your goals completed can be more counterproductive than helpful. As long as you keep the end goal in mind and your efforts continue to pull you in that direction – exactly how you get there is less important. Some people work well with structure and clear and concise limits but allowing yourself the autonomy to create a path that works for you seems like the most useful approach to reaching your goals.