Seeking progress

Recognise “the Gap” between the actual and the ideal as a mental construct. Understand the nature and purposes of the ideal. You shouldn’t feel failure or frustration at not being able to reach it any more than you do at not being able to reach the horizon. It’s just the way things work. The hardest part about shifting to living in The Positive Zone is remembering about ‘the Gap’ when it most matters — that is, when you are being hardest on yourself or others. Old habits are hard to change. Seek progress, not perfection.

Set ideals that are much bigger than you and strive to increase your commitment to them. This helps to distinguish your ideals from your goals. Also, living in The Positive Zone with big ideals gives you room to set big goals and helps to generate the positive energy to attract the resources and creativity necessary to achieve them. Remember that people want to be led by individuals with big ideals.

Set aside a regular time for yourself — maybe at the start of each week — to write down and reflect on your 10 biggest accomplishments for the past week and what makes them significant. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve done. Then think about what you need to do next to continue on this positive path and write down specific action steps.

And don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way. Take time to enjoy your

accomplishments. You’ll soon realise that this kind of regular, habitual Positive Focus gives you renewed confidence and energy to tackle new challenges.

Sometimes it’s easier to see when someone else is living in The Negative Zone. You may also realise that you’ve been imposing your own ideals on others and punishing them because they fail to measure up. The more you explain this distinction to others, the clearer it will become to you and the more likely it will be that you can access the knowledge when you really need to. It’s also a powerful relationship building and fixing tool, which can add very significant value in both personal and professional situations.

Since introducing this concept at The Strategic Coach, we have seen clients use their recognition of “the Gap” to feel better about their progress within businesses, giving them new peace of mind and energy to tackle opportunities with renewed enthusiasm. We have also seen it help put parents and their teenage children back on speaking terms and give cancer patients new courage and determination to face difficult courses of therapy. — Agencies