Business psychology services

Business psychology services

What’s the difference between a pipe dream and an achievable aspiration? In the second part of my focus on coaching articles, we’ll explore how to start working towards your goal. Yes, it’s all about taking action.

What’s a Pipe Dream?

A pipe dream is a fantasy, something you imagine that is unlikely to become reality. To give an example, most people have considered what they would do if they won the lottery, even if they’ve never bought a ticket. Now, that’s a pipe dream. The reason is that the goal of winning the lottery is an outcome that you can’t control and the odds are slim.

When we pin all of our hopes on a pipe dream, we can get stuck. That’s because we think that the only way that things will get better is if our dream comes true. As such, we don’t feel empowered.

However, I’d like you to think about what would be on your list if you did win the lottery. What opportunities would you prioritise if you won? Maybe you would pay off the mortgage, retire early or book a holiday of a lifetime? Now, these could remain pipe dreams or they could become achievable aspirations. It all depends on if you are committed to taking action.

How Coaching Helps You Take Action

Sometimes it is difficult to see how you can move towards your goal. You simply don’t know where to start or what you are capable of. You see barriers blocking the way to what you want to achieve. And, that is where coaching to get unstuck makes all the difference.

As a professional business psychologist, I offer coaching to help you realise your goals. So, my role is to build awareness of what you want and guide you as you explore the SMART actions to achieve it. As such, I’ll listen, question and hold you accountable. All this is to ensure that you find your direction, stay focused and are empowered to take action. In essence, I’m a supportive sounding board to help you implement changes.

At this point, I want to say that achieving your goals is not easy. If it was, we’d all be living very fulfilled lives. Going for your goal will require focus, stepping outside your comfort zone and making sacrifices. However, even the smallest steps in the right direction moves you forward. I am inspired by a Japanese term, Kaisen, which means ‘to change for the better through continuous improvement’.  

There may be times when you get demotivated, distracted or exhausted. What’s more, you may hit points of indecision or lack of support from others. Equally, some things may be out of your control, so you need to refocus on the things you can change. On these occasions, it is valuable to have someone who has got your back. As a coach, I’ll employ tailored strategies to you keep on track.

When is The Perfect Time to Action Your Goals?

I often find people are waiting for the right time to act. So, I hear statements along the lines of, ‘I’ll enrol when the children start school’ or ‘I’ll apply for a promotion in the New Year’. Therefore, I’d like to make it clear that there is no perfect time to take action. If you have an aspiration, now is as good a time as ever to get started.

You might not be able to do it all now. However, you can begin taking actions that help to set the scene. Remember, that every step in the right direction will help you get unstuck.

Coaching can help you understand why this goal is important to you and, therefore, consider other ways to meet that need along the way. Additionally, it can help you identify thoughts or behaviours that are holding you back. Sometimes, it is beneficial to practice new habits to alter your mindset so that you can see that the dream can become reality.

What Will You Do Today?

If you have an aspiration, I’d like to challenge you. So, grab a pen and paper and write ‘I will…’

  1. First, add an action that will you do today to make the first step towards it. That might include bringing a refillable coffee mug to work so you can start saving the money spent in the local cafe. It could be going on a brisk walk in your lunch hour or drinking a glass of water with your lunch. What is an achievable and positive step?
  2. Secondly, write down what you will do this week to build on that. For example, is it time to update your CV, turn off your laptop an hour earlier or sign up for a webinar of interest?
  3. Thirdly, note down something that you will do by the end of the month. You might delegate or outsource a weekly task to free up time. Maybe it would be helpful to enrol on an online course to build skills or plan a day trip to somewhere new.

Start Taking SMART Actions

The actions might only take a few minutes to complete, yet they are small steps in the right direction. Remember to focus on SMART actions – ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. They help you to move towards your goal and you can tick them off at the end of the day, week or month.

Now, add these actions to your calendar so they have a dedicated timeslot. If it helps, set a notification alert to remind you. Remember that this is important to you, so this is a commitment that can’t be moved. Other plans and demands on your time will have to work around it.

At the end of the month, you can review how you got on and consider how it made you feel. Does this fire up your motivation to take the next steps?

If so, I’d be happy to discuss how coaching could support you in achieving your goals, please get in touch.


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