TrajectoryMar 02, 2023
One of the biggest traps I see my clients getting caught in when setting big goals or creating a big change in their lives is overfocusing on their current circumstances. It leads to a tunnel-vision that cripples them with frustration and discouragement. The cure for this? Focusing on your trajectory. When we focus on our current reality, not on our trajectory, we are forgetting that we all have an origin story and it’s really more about where we are headed than where we are.
What we often don’t see is the harm that comes with focusing on a pinpoint time in the life of a goal. When we focus on that split second, if it’s not a good one, it leads us to sit and wallow, just further delaying our arrival time to our goal.
One of my clients just started a new business and he hit the legal red tape hard, an obstacle, of course creating frustration, but he was letting himself sit in that frustration for far too long— getting bound by layers and layers of red tape and telling himself things like:
- Maybe this is a sign that I should give up on this idea.
- This is not how it’s supposed to go
- Doubting whether his idea was ever a good one
He in essence was growing his self-doubt because he was looking at this moment of time when he had a pile of legal red tape tangled at his feet like that was it, the story ends with him stuck in this pile, his idea shrouded in layers of insurmountable red tape.
When I asked him to start taking stock of his trajectory on a daily basis that’s when a shift happened. The first shift was bad- a huge bundle of anxiety because he started focusing on the future; and of course, whenever we overfocus on the future we create anxiety. But I reminded him your trajectory is not your future, it is a predictor of your future based on your current actions. So he started to focus on the current, but through the lens of actions that he was taking on a daily basis and the trajectory that creates.
So when he is sitting with a pile of legal red tape, bounding his feet:
Sometimes his trajectory looks great:
He is calling mentors and friends for advice
He is seeking counsel
He is looking for loopholes
All things that will lead to him eventually being freed for them red tape or pivoting his business so it’s not entangled in this way.
Sometimes the trajectory looks bad:
Ruminating over whether this was a good idea in the first place.
Hating the state he chose to incorporate in
All actions or rather inactions that leave the red tape at his feet, tying him to his current circumstance.
With any goal, whether it’s growing a business, scaling your investment portfolio, or gaining control of your health and fitness, when we take data from a split second of time in those processes and forget about our trajectory, we are in essence driving cross country from Maine to San Diego and deciding that we are going to evaluate the whole trip from a gas station in Oklahoma. We make it about that single second in a long journey, forgetting to focus on where we are headed and instead getting overly focused on this one moment of time which is unpleasant.
So I challenge you to look at your present through the lens of your trajectory:
- What actions are you taking daily?
- Where will those actions lead you?
- Do your actions serve your values?
When you set a goal don’t just look at that split data point, it takes time to gather data, but ask yourself if I keep driving in this direction, taking this action, will I end up in San Diego? Don’t focus on that dingy rest stop along the way, you won’t be there forever, unless you choose to sit there and not make a move.
Keep setting big goals and keep taking action everyday towards achieving them, you will fall, hit roadblocks and obstacles, and all you have to do is get back up and keep walking.
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