Afraid of goals

Written on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 5:51 pm by Christiane

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford (American Industrialist,, 1863-1947)

I love this quote because for me it’s a perfect spot on description of Life coaching: Helping people to realize that they are stuck because they took their eyes of the goal and then got lost. The next step in life coaching then is to assist with getting unstuck by reconnecting with life goals.

Some people find it easy to always stay focused on their goals. These are the lucky few. Most people get sidetracked at some point in their lives, others take it day by day without having a bigger goal and a third group doesn’t know, what and where to start because the only things, they see, are obstacles.


Unfortunately, my youngest son belongs to the latter group. Whenever he has to tackle a new project, he starts by telling us why he can’t do it. He lists all the hindrances, difficulties and obstacles he can think of and he can be very convincing that the particular project, whatever it is, is impossible to realize.

Behind all that is fear. He feels overwhelmed because the task at hand seems to be complex, unclear, uncontrollable and unmanageable. Some psychologists believe that a pessimistic approach to the world may be part of the inborn temperament. Regardless of the cause, we have learned that there is a way to work with him.

We must break up any complex task in sub goals and provide a specific time frame for each sub goal. As long as he stays focused on each step (and forgets the big goal) he can move onward.

But don’t say to him “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” (Chinese proverb). As soon as he remembers that each successfully mastered step is just that, a step toward the big goal, he feels overwhelmed again. To him, his successes suddenly seem to be so small.

I hope that by growing up he will learn to understand what Henry Ford meant when he said:
“Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”


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