A Coaching Power Tool Created by Juliette Posner
(Transformation & Business Coach, UNITED STATES)
Life is not only merriment. It is desire and determination. Kahlil Gibran
What allows certain people to succeed?
There are countless stories of people who have succeeded against all odds. Where others in similar circumstances failed, these amazing individuals have achieved great things. Among these stories have been survivors of great atrocities, entrepreneurs, inventors, leaders, and truly just about everyone else in between. What is the major driver that differentiates these people from their group? Is there a special gene? Did they receive a unique gift during their development? While books and theses have been written exploring the question, the descriptive factor for all of these people is: determination. But, what exactly is it?
What is determination?
The dictionary defines determination as firmness of purpose; resoluteness. One might also include willpower, fortitude, drive, and grit. Yet, for all of the words – it is often a recognizable and sought after trait as those in the know realize it yields massive dividends in life. When an individual is determined, s/he has a goal in mind and strives to attain that goal despite anything that may come along to jeopardize it. Similar to a mountain lion tracking its prey for miles, a determined individual will stalk success similarly.
Why does indecision impact otherwise determined individuals?
Many people believe they are fully committed to their goals, but are stymied along the way by a variety of factors. Yet, when one is truly determined s/he will step over and push through hurdles that come between her/him and the goal, knowing that achievement will happen. Others get waylaid and need to reexamine each hurdle because they are not completely sure whether the path is the right one nor if the goal is truly worth achieving. Many times even a small bout of indecision becomes snowballs into an inability to move forward – and ultimate stagnation.
How is indecision revealed?
- The first step each individual must take is choosing to be honest with him/herself. Without truth, the facts that are put forth will not accurately represent the state of affairs.
- Next, the individual can write out (or speak) about the steps that s/he has taken in pursuit of the goal. What he or she considered and decided, and how s/he felt about each.
- Lastly, s/he will need to look through the items that have been shared. Have there been moments of hesitation? Did these moments lead to feeling unsure? If yes, what does s/he believe this reveals?
Sonia’s Story à Transforming indecision to determination
When Sonia finished university, she moved from California to New York. And, she found a job at in a large company, got married then divorced. Year after year, she became more set in her ways. Work kept her relatively busy, but bored. She missed her family and was lonely, but somehow did not know how to get herself out of the rut of life. Vacations were a respite from life, but before she knew it – she had celebrated her 22nd year at the company.
Then, one day – she was laid off from work. At first, it seemed impossible. Sonia had worked long hours and thought management liked her. As she went home that night and for the next few weeks, she tried to figure out what to do to pay her bills and contend with work after 22 years at one company. She decided to fly back to California to visit some family and try to get her bearings.
That trip reconnected Sonia with the family and friends who were overjoyed to have her back in their lives for a few weeks. They asked her to reconsider her life in New York and move back full time. This time, Sonia didn’t hesitate. She packed her belongings, sold her apartment, and moved back to California. It didn’t take long to reconnect with a boyfriend from high school, and they married the following year.
Coaches can help individuals realize how indecision may be affecting their goals from being achieved. It can be accomplished in a variety of way including via: activities, review of choices, or goal atonement. Let’s use a few new examples:
- Anika was frustrated. She could not figure out why she had not been promoted at work. Despite her meeting all of her objectives, she felt conflicted. On the one hand, she felt like she needed to grow in her company, but on the other – she wanted to become an entrepreneur. When she first told her coach that she did not know why her management had not moved her to the next level, she seemed perplexed. Her coach then asked Anika if she would be happy if the promotion was received. The revelation was no because she was not sure if she wanted the promotion. Upon further discussion, new goals were created so that Anika could work towards what she realized she truly wanted.
- Emilia had been plodding along for ten years trying to get her university degree. Eventually, a friend suggested she speak with a coach. Emilia agreed feeling like an external party might help provide insight. The coach asked Emilia what she was studying and what she believed would happen when she graduated. The answers revealed that Emilia was nervous that when the degree was over she would not know what to do with her time. She and the coach worked together to map out new goals to give Emilia a new sense of purpose and stated timelines for completion. These goals provided a reassurance allowed Emilia to complete her degree.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. Calvin Coolidge
By looking at our choices, we can unearth the ways in which we pull ourselves away from our goals. If we are truthful, we can begin the process of transforming from being indecisive to determined.
Questions to consider:
- If you did not achieve this goal, how would you feel?
- What are the opportunity costs? (i.e., What is the next best thing you are giving up?)
- How many times have you rethought the goal?
- Are there other examples from your past of feeling indecisive? How did you address your indecision then? Did any of these examples yield success?