|Robert the Bruce - The Good King|
I am big on goal setting and I do feel the need to press ahead to the next target on my list. For me, goal setting is the path to achievement - if you don't know what you want, you will spend your life drifting from one calamity into another. That's not my way. I like to see my way ahead. I like to know what I'm meant to be doing. I like to plot and plan and organise my way to success. I hate feeling trapped, stuck and stagnant. I hate spontaneity - I think its flaky and not to be trusted. I like to push on, and when the need to surge forward takes me, I always think of Robert the Bruce, strategically burning castles during the Scottish Wars of Independence. I imagine the conversation went something like this;
"Welcome to my home Sire! Nice crown!"
"Thanks - I won it in a battle. Nice castle."
"Thank you. It has been in my family for generations."
"Aye, well - that's why I'm here. I'm sorry mate, but I'm going to have to burn it to the ground."
"It's all part of the war strategy. We can't hold Scotland unless I hold the crown; and I can't hold the crown unless the English and any enemies I have among the Scots, are diminished. To do that, I have to know that these strongholds can never be held and used against me. That's why I'm burning them. Yours is next on my list."
"But, but...my son! What will he inherit?"
"All will be rebuilt when the war is won, never fear. Those who stand with me will be richly rewarded for their loyalty. Those who don't, will fall alongside the English. I plan to build a better Scotland than we had before, once I've won the war."
"But Sire, what if you lose?"
"I never lose."
"Er, Sire...there was that time when you were ambushed..."
"Oh aye, that. Well let's just say that was all part of the plan...you have to give your enemies the illusion of a wee victory every now and then. It softens 'em up, makes 'em complacent - and then you strike!"
"Mmmm...but still, this is my home..."
"We'll find you a new home - more cosy-like, fewer drafts. When the war's over, they'll call me The Good King - and you'll be known as one of the nobles who stood beside me, through thick and thin,"
The Bruce turned to his brother Nigel and whispered "Burn it, Nigel, while he's still numb from the shock. Make sure everyone is out and at a safe distance. Settle the family as comfortably as possible in the village; give them coin to tide them over. Dismiss the servants back to their families, but tell them - any man who wants to join my army and fight for his country is welcome. There's nothing here for them now anyway. Stir them up Nigel, rouse the rebel heart! Muster as many as you can and bring them to the meeting point three days from now. I'll see you later." The two brothers shook hands and the Good King mounted up and rode away, the red and gold of the Royal Standard flying out behind him...
By Marie Bruce
Sometimes you have to do things you really don't want to do in order to achieve your goals. You have to go out of your way, stop being lazy, stop making excuses and get on with it. Sometimes you have to break things apart in order to rebuild something new - toxic friendships, bad relationships, a job that makes you miserable...get rid of them! Clear the decks for possibility; wipe the slate clean for a new dream to take shape; drop the kids at the grandparents and just do it, whatever it might be for you, just do it.
Experience is the key to confidence. Once you have achieved one goal, you will be more confident in achieving the next. Identify your target by defining what you want, what you are aiming for. Then break it down into a series of smaller, more manageable steps.
Take one step at a time. Build your overall confidence in your ability by achieving one small step towards your goal every single day. It might be as simple as a phone call or email; updating your CV; writing affirmations down on index cards and reading them every night before you go to sleep. It might be signing up for a new class to retrain and change careers, or doing a business studies course prior to setting up shop online. The point is, you will never know what your next move should be unless you start looking into it now - and by now, I mean today.
I find goal-setting and achieving is something that makes me happy. It lifts my spirits and keeps me moving forward. I tend to stick to just three big goals at a time. Each one of these I break down into smaller steps, so that I am not overwhelmed by them. I love that feeling of having knocked down a target and moving swiftly onto the next - this is what I mean when I talk about having the need to press ahead. The thrill of knocking down a target is so great that it spurs me on to go for the next one on my list. In this way, I feel like I can pretty much achieve anything I set my mind to.
As an example, one of my big goals in recent years has been to retrain as a counsellor in order to expand my writing work with publishers. The training is broken down into levels anyway, but I also saw each assignment as another step forward too - whenever I passed an essay first time I felt that sense of pride and achievement, and it kept me going through the darker days when I felt like I wanted to quit. Because feeling like you want to give up is all part of the process of achievement - it is what separates the will-be's from the wannabes. The wannabes drop out, give up, quit; the will-be's press ahead, push on, keep going not matter what. Now that I have completed my four-year Diploma I am pressing forward with new goals, looking for ways to weave these future goals into my life-path, identifying what I have to do to achieve them, because for me, the achievement never stops. It's what drives me and makes me happy and content with my life.
You have to press ahead in your own life. No-one else is going to do it for you! Apathy is the enemy. Apathy is when you just can't be bothered with your own life. Living in a state of apathy is like being a member of the walking dead - a zombie who can only moan about how awful their existence is. Apathy kills you slowly - it's weapons are depression, addiction, debt, complacency, motherhood - before you know where you are you've woken up dead and you did nothing with your life! Kick apathy's butt with some serious goal-setting - and then simply press ahead. Because if The Good King could burn down his own beautiful castles, secure in the vision that he could rebuild and make his Kingdom great again - you can apply for a new job, move house, say yes to a date or whatever it is you dream of doing. May fortune go with you.