by Tanis Hellliwell
To manifest our goals in the world, we move step by step from spiritual to physical realms, becoming more specific as we do so. In doing this you will experience both driving and restraining forces. You started this process by visualizing your soul’s dream and then made it more concrete by examining how the dream could be turned into goals. The next step after prioritizing your goals is to select one goal to analyze. Doing this increases your focus, which is necessary to manifest your dream in the physical world.
Choose a goal that is soul-oriented and, if possible, one that is linked to work. Make a list of what pushes you forward to obtain your goal, the driving forces, and what holds you back from getting it, the restraining forces. Driving forces might include emotional support from others, money, ambition, talent and experience. Examples of restraining forces might include fear, being too old or too young, and lack of time, money and necessary education.
Achieving your goals
The stronger the driving forces and the weaker the restraining forces, the better the chances of achieving your goals. If the driving and restraining forces are equal in strength, you might give yourself a lot of stress going nowhere. To increase the chances of reaching your goal, you need decrease your strongest restraining forces as well as increasing your driving forces.
Let’s say your soul dream includes both having your own “soulful” business and being a good parent. However, this is difficult to achieve because you are a single parent with young children. You have what speaker Alan Lakein called an overwhelming “A priority.” Lakein recommended that to achieve your goal, bite off small chunks and do them one or two at a time. For example, take steps to achieve your work goal by researching the business, working part-time in a similar kind of store to learn the trade, taking a small business management course, searching for business partners, writing up a business plan and speaking to your bank manager about your plan.
All of these things move you towards your goal. At some point, you will have taken many of the little bites and it will be time to take the leap, quit your job and open your own business. Because you are doing this gradually, you increase your chances of success without jeopardizing the security of your family.
A word of caution
A word of caution: if your restraining forces are greater than 70 percent, you might wish to postpone that particular goal and focus on another soul goal for the time being. It requires great effort to achieve your goal if you have only a few driving forces supporting it. Take on a long-term, A-priority goal only if you are serious about it. When we have unrealistic goals, we sabotage ourselves in life. Our soul can be happy doing any number of things. (Mine has been happy being a high school teacher, spiritual retreat leader, corporate consultant, guide to sacred sites and writer.) If you’re not prepared to work towards one of your goals because it’s too high a risk, or if you cannot reduce the restraining forces and increase the driving forces, find another soul goal to which you can commit.
I remember a situation that illustrates this point. I was teaching a career and life planning course one night a week. A woman named Leslie was one of the participants. Leslie was in her early fifties and had raised two families. She had a university degree and was charming, articulate and well groomed. For the first three weeks of the course, Leslie spoke passionately, and at length, of her life’s ambition to become a lawyer. However, when it came time to commit to action, she was unable to do so and missed the next two classes. Concerned about her, I was relieved when she reappeared the following week.
“How have you been?” I asked.
“I’ve been in mourning for what I will never be,” she replied. “I now realize that at my age I’m not prepared to give up everything I’ve achieved to go back to school to become a lawyer. I’ve been mourning the death of my dream, and I’m now here to discover a new dream.”
Celebrate your courage
What a woman! I celebrate her courage to let go of one dream and to find another. And she did. Everyone in the group commented on her poise, style and professional presentation. This was one of Leslie’s talents and, before long, she decided to teach others how to achieve “the professional look” and to develop self-esteem. She discovered a new career. We, like Leslie, must be ready to burst the balloons of our career illusions. As I’ve said before, soul work can be anything, but we must look at the reality and not the illusion of the work before we commit to it.