I recently watched a series about Bill Gates and it ends with a quote from his mother that says, “Ultimately, it’s not what you get or even what you give. It’s what you become”
I think we’ve all thought at one point or another about what or who we want to become. When we were young it was things like a cowboy or an actress. Things we had seen on TV or read in books that seemed glamorous or mysterious, cool or fun. The “why” driving these desires is usually rather superficial. As we get older our values and fears about life begin to change. Now for some, that alters the course they originally had in mind and their future self begins to change from a cowboy to an accountant, from an actress to a mother. For some people, the course of their life and their experience only strengthens their resolve to pursue their original dream but the one thing that is constantly evolving is the “why”. I will talk a little more about the “why” in a little bit.
Now the problem is, most people never become who they set out imagining themselves to be. How does this happen and how can we prevent ourselves from falling into the same trap? I recently read a book by Dr Mark Postles, a Chiropractor and coach from Australia, called ‘The In8 Model’. In his book, Dr Postles talks about a framework to becoming the person you set out to become and I’m going to try to distil some of the gold in his book in an attempt to give us a basic overview. The short of it is, to determine four crucial factors “why”, “what”, “how” and “what next”. Answering these four questions, in the order, they’ve been presented and taking appropriate action based on the answers is the only sure way to achieve success with any level of consistency. It’s a process that continues forwards in a spiral of perpetual growth and love or rolls backwards through a spiral of decay and fear.
Step 1: The ‘Why’
This drives our focus. It determines the passion we put into our endeavours and ultimately plays a major role in determining the likelihood of success in reaching our end goal. It’s the first step on the path towards what we become. It’s something that needs to be revisited throughout the process. Think of it as the rudder determining the direction you’re headed. It can be written down, it may be something you hold internally and very often it’s something we fail to even recognize but we all have it. A clear why is crucial to determining who you want to become.
Step 2: The ‘What’
This step involves sitting back and drawing from past experience to critically analyze how you’re going to get where you’re going. In the ship of life, this is the map. We plot out what steps we need to take to get where we want to go. It may involve coming up with a list of opportunities or potential obstacles. It may be a mind map or a flow chart of step by step instructions. We all have a ‘why’, whether we are aware of it or not but most of us fall short at step 2. We fail to plan and so, plan to fail. Or perhaps we have been so hurt or scarred by past experience that we have no trouble coming up with an endless list of obstacles but are blind to the opportunities and so we never even take the next step falling back into a cycle of anxiety and regret (decay).
Step 3: The ‘How’
In the ship of life, this is the helm. The practical, well planned, steps we take toward our desired destination. It involves putting the plan into motion using past experience. For some, it starts off small and as I mentioned before, some of us have no problem jumping headfirst from step 1 to step 3 and this becomes a problem when challenges arise and we have no plan to overcome them or map to chart our course. We become lost, causing failure early on and setting that backward spiral of guilt and anxiety into motion, which makes it harder for us to take action next time, rather than moving on toward the next step of the process of spiralling up in growth and love.
Step 4: ‘What Next’
We as human beings are designed to never be satisfied for any prolonged period. It’s part of our innate programming to expand and grow. Once we accomplish one thing, it’s never long before we start looking ahead to the future and even bigger goals. On our ship, this would be the telescope. It involves looking towards what lies ahead from our new vantage point and inevitably spirals back to our ‘why’. For some of us, this is very easy and we naturally explore and push boundaries and maybe even become labelled as hyperactive or are diagnosed with ADHD but some of the most influential people of our time function this way. The difference is that they also managed to see the importance of the first 3 steps or had people around them who helped to channel that pioneering spirit into useful avenues. It’s been said that some of the most horrific things imaginable have been done with the best intentions. Who am I to say that if you don’t follow this step-by-step approach that your ship will never reach its desired destination, even the worst pirates get lucky sometimes. In this article, I’ve outlined a useful framework for increasing the odds of hitting your mark and hitting it consistently. I hope it helps you become the person you set out to be.