A Three-Part Journey of Positive Change: Explore, Focus, Go!: Part 2: FocusJun 30, 2011 02:36PM ● By Kathy Kane
Are you enjoying your journey of positive change? Have you been asking yourself small questions, paying attention to synchronicities? In exploration mode, you kept your mind open and your antennae up. In this next phase, focus, you will start to narrow and sharpen that focus. My hope is that those small questions have led to more questions. Remember to keep asking the questions and relax as you wait for answers. You’ve probably experienced how the answers arrive as you pay attention.
You’ve exposed yourself to new ideas and tried to keep out of your rut. If you’ve been journaling, you’ve been recording your thoughts and dreams and starting to recognize patterns.
Here are tips and ideas for the focus leg of the journey.
• As your interests start to become more defined, you will want to narrow your exposure. Is the journey career related, or do you wish to learn a new skill, such as a new language, pottery, or herb gardening? Look around for people who are doing what interests you. Ask them about their experiences and find out how they got started. Is there any training involved? Explore websites that cater to your interests and try social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn to network with people of similar interests.
• Keep those antennae up! Dial up the awareness. You are still exploring although your territory has become a little smaller. Be alert to the charge—or lack—of energy you feel in your body as you explore these areas. Doing a “gut test” is always a good way to see if you’re moving in the right direction.
• If you’ve been journaling, continue. If you haven’t, try it. It doesn’t have to mean long writing sessions—just jotting down thoughts, questions, or feelings is a very powerful exercise, helping you to clarify and internalize new ways of thinking. Another exercise involves writing about your journey “as if” it’s already happened. Add details of how you would like to see all the pieces come together. As the dog in the book Racing in the Rain said, “Where the eye goes, the car goes.”
• Remember that this process does not have to be perfect. You are moving into the unknown. There are many possibilities and choices, and they can produce some anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed. Be aware of these and the sensations they stir up in the body. When you recognize this happening, try to shift your thinking with an affirmation or by reframing your self-talk. If you feel anxious that you’re too old to try something new, try turning that around to “My life experience will make this journey more meaningful.” If you’re concerned that you will not be perfect at this new dream, try an affirmation such as “I will continue moving forward, allowing myself to be blissfully imperfect.” Play with statements that work for you and develop the habit of using them when you feel a negative moment coming on.
Continue to ask small questions. Continue to be on the lookout for synchronicity and opportunity. Continue to be ruthless in staying out of your rut. As things become more clear, start asking yourself, “What small thing can I do today to move me toward my goal?”
Next month we’ll discuss the Go phase. With small steps, we’ll be on the path to gradual, lasting, positive change. Stay with it!
Kathy Kane is a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach® and an Amherst Writers and Artists affiliate. Connect with her at [email protected]