Unseen Help

there is unseen help. When your goal is detailed and clear, the help stays on task with maximum efficiency.

I love the idea that there is unseen help available when you set out to accomplish a difficult goal. However, there are things you must do, or you may never see EVIDENCE of that help.

I know you’ve probably heard this before, but one of those things is writing your goal down.

I thought I already understood this. In fact, I had been teaching seminars on that very concept for a decade. But then I learned a very expensive lesson.

In one sense, I had become lazy. But really, I was just fatigued. I had stopped relying on unseen help to bridge the gap between what I could do, and what needed to be done. I had been running faster than I had strength. And I had neglected one very important step.

So even if you think you know what I’m going to say, I hope you’ll let me save you from making the same mistake.

It was years ago when we created an online training program, which was supposed to be released quite some time before it actually did.

The reason for the delay taught me a powerful lesson in goal achievement.

After I had created the curriculum and loaded the content, my husband (who, in his previous life worked in the IT department for Universal Studios) headed up the site structure and development.

Many times, during the first six months of the project, the developers asked me how certain pieces should be handled. Not only did I answer with vague generalities; but (to everyone’s dismay), I also quite often changed my mind.

Even worse, sometimes my answer was, “Oh, whatever you think is best.”

Well, months later – having also spent tens of thousands of dollars more than planned – we looked back on the project, and ultimately realized that it still wasn’t ready to release, because basically, our developers were running after a moving target.

That we put a date to the goal was irrelevant, because the target had not been clearly identified.

During those months after the target date, the site was intricately developed; but every time we thought it was nearly done, we’d discover that it wasn’t quite right and needed to be reworked.

My problem was that I didn’t know well enough – right from the beginning – what I wanted.  I didn’t know how the finished project SHOULD be.

All I had was a general idea; and I just took it for granted that the developers would figure it all out for me. After all, they’re the experts, right?

(I guess I assumed they could see my vision, without my describing it in detail.)

Ultimately, after going in circles too many times, the developers finally INSISTED that we give them a fully-developed ‘spec’.

A ‘spec’ is a document that specifies in absolute detail, every single aspect of what the site needs to be able to do, and precisely how it’s supposed to look and behave under every possible user action.

It’s the blueprint for the website.

Frankly, after already spending more than a year creating the curriculum, I was frustrated that I’d have to also help create a ‘spec’.

I wanted to say, “I already did MY part; can’t you all just figure it out?”

But with only vague directions, and different ideas floating around between the developers, problems kept cropping up.

Beta testers lost data, new registrants found themselves trapped in frustrating loops; and worst of all, we ultimately realized that the whole system had been built in the wrong environment, causing problems that weren’t going to go away unless we started all over.

Here’s the point of my confession.  I’ve been teaching people for years the importance of putting goals in writing, with detail.

And to be honest, I’ve successfully achieved many of my goals without going through the trouble.  It’s tedious work to put it in writing, and I don’t enjoy taking the time.  But this experience taught me how much more quickly, and smoothly (and less expensively) goals can be achieved if you DO take the time to create a ‘spec’.

I learned that yes, goals can be achieved if you just muscle it through, one way or another; but you’ll be more efficient, and your “developers” will be better utilized if you don’t leave so many variables up to chance.

So, what about you and your goals?

  • Are you vague, or are you perfectly clear about what you’re pursuing right now?
  • Do you change your mind often?
  • Do you sit back undecided and say, “Oh, whatever is best“?

The truth is, what’s best is that you choose.  Excellence doesn’t happen TO YOU.  You’ve got to step forward and initiate the change for which you keep wishing.

Life provides hardships and challenges so that you’ll wake up and start doing the uncomfortable things that help you become your best self.  That’s why the hardships are a gift.  The painful site delays and setbacks became a gift, to teach us this important lesson.

So, if you care about the outcome of your goal, and if you care about how quickly and inexpensively it is realized, then take responsibility for your life and write a ‘spec’.  Write your goals in detail, in present-tense, as though you were describing exactly how the finished project (your life) will look when it’s done.

Imagine that you really do have an unseen ‘developer’ somewhere, busily working for you, orchestrating the right people and opportunities for every one of your objectives.

But every time you change your mind, your assistant must drop everything and start all over.  If you’re unclear, then even if you don’t change your mind, it’s almost guaranteed that what shows up will be different than what you really meant.

(By the way, I never physically met the developers we had hired; so in many ways, they were just like the ‘unseen help’ that comes to your aid when you set a goal.)

So, create that well-documented ‘spec’.  Or if you’re not a techie, maybe it’s easier to imagine that you have some kind of an angelic ‘foreman’ waiting for your blueprint.

Sure, you could probably still achieve almost any goal without a blueprint or a ‘spec’; but the time, energy, and money lost from meandering and course-correcting can set you back so far that you may run out of steam entirely before the dream is realized. 

That’s the risk you take when you do not put in writing the things you need and want with detail.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that God and the Universe will ‘figure it all out’ for you.  In that case, you may end up meandering and course-correcting a lot more than necessary. You’ve been given the free agency to select good causes in which you will be anxiously engaged.  Heavenly ‘help’ is available to you as soon as you’re ready to enlist it.  But it won’t impose upon you.

So decide what you want to accomplish, and then ask clearly – and in faith – for the assistance you need.

Don’t be paralyzed by indecision. Don’t wait to know exactly what your goals ‘should’ be.  If you think about what you want, and make a decision firmly and resolutely to go for it without hesitation, then if for some reason it’s wrong, you’ll find out soon enough, and have sufficient momentum to make the proper course correction in time.

To learn how, read The Jackrabbit Factor (free). If you already have, then it’s time for the next step. Let me help you activate that ‘unseen help’, so you can proceed with confidence that you’re not going it alone. Originally published August 19, 2011

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Releasing Bitterness

I received a letter that I don’t want to lose, and it has some valuable insights in it, so I’ll just post it here. My friend began her letter with a quote:

“It is my opinion that many really good teachers do not come from joyful households where all was easy. They come from a place of much pain and suffering, and they’ve worked through the layers to reach the place where they can now help others to become free. Most good teachers are continually working to release even more, to remove ever-deeper layers of limitation. This becomes a lifetime occupation.” Hay, Louise L. (2011-11-07). 21 Days to Master Affirmations (Kindle Locations 240-243). Hay House. Kindle Edition.

Leslie,

While I was reading this, I thought of you and all the times in the past year that you have mentioned in my hearing of your struggles to keep going despite the personal struggles you have had with the program and principles you teach.  Louise is the first “self-help” writer I ever read who actually HELPED me, when I read You Can Heal Your Life.  It was nearly twenty-five years ago, and I was becoming very ill.  I did not heal my body, but many things in my LIFE healed through what she taught me in that book.

I felt similar changes within myself when I began studying with you.  That is why I continued, why I pursued my Mentor Certification, why I continue to study, search, practice, and what Louise calls “release”, to move forward in my own life so I can learn enough to teach others with my own voice and not just parrot what I have learned.  Not that what I have learned is not good 🙂 you know that.  But you didn’t want “clones” to come out of your class, you wanted individual teachers who can help others.  Which is why I am still studying, expanding, searching.

I recently crossed paths with a young man in a parking lot.  We hit upon the topic of “bitterness” in our lives.  It made me realize that I still have a LOT of forgiving to do (my “hit list” of people I must forgive in order to free myself from the pain that holds me back in my own progression), and at age 60, now, I’d better get on with it! 🙂

Following the example of Goal Statements, I wrote it down.  I felt my pain pour out onto the page as I thanked God, in advance, for freeing me from the pain and bitterness of the memories I hold like a viper to my breast about these people.  It reminded me of the saying “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die.”

I know I’m not totally free, yet.  It’s a list of four people, and two of them are still involved in my life as they are closely related family members.  But it was a start, and it felt SO GOOD!

Thank you for teaching me a way to start this!  If you ever need encouragement to keep going, please, please, PLEASE keep teaching, Leslie.  Our world needs what you so very capably teach.  I can’t imagine us without you.  I can’t imagine me being able to teach without you.  I can’t imagine how I would ever have healed as much as I have in the past two years without you and all I have learned FROM YOU.

If ever I can guide one other person onto this path of healing and peace for themselves, I will feel as if I have done you justice.  I do my best to give a “Jackrabbit” lesson to everyone who gives me the opportunity to work it into the conversation.

My usual signature to people I care about is “Love and Hugs,” but I want you to know that with this letter, it is so much more than that.  I just don’t know how to say it.

Love and Hugs,
Jan 🙂

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