Sitting across from my coach, he asked me a very simple question.
“What would make this an extraordinary year for you, Jen?”
I rattled off the kinds of things that first come to mind. I’d like to make even more money in my business. I’d like to make even better memories with my family. I’d like to make a bigger impact in my coaching. Maybe this year I will (finally, for the love of all that is good in the world) write a book.
Every answer I gave, my coach countered with “What else?”
Eventually I got a little exasperated.
“Look,” I told him, “2016 was pretty much the best, most magical year of my life. I felt like I’d stumbled through the door to Narnia. If you really want to help me do something extraordinary, show me how to find the door to Narnia more regularly.”
And then, without realizing why, I added, “And become queen.”
He looked at me for a long moment, then informed me, “Jen, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that for you. You see, you’re already the Queen of Narnia. My job is to help you see that.”
I know it sounds stupid, but I started to cry.
The magic and splendor I had been searching for all my life was right in front of me all along.
And for years I’d missed it.
Do You Need Better Goals or Better Vision?
For most people, the start of the year is all about wiping the slate clean and setting new intentions. Good stuff.
But how are you going to turn those intentions into reality? What, exactly, has been holding you back up until now?
I’m not talking about creating a plan, although that’s not a bad idea. I’m talking about finding the right opportunities, the open doors to where you want to go. Because if you can do that, transformation becomes easy.
You see, once I acknowledged that I was already the queen of my own Narnia, I started to see the world very differently. Everywhere I went, every interaction I had, had an element of magic to it. And never was that more obvious than the bitterly cold day I trudged a little over a mile to the gym.
We’ve had an especially cold winter here in Seattle, and yet I noticed at least a dozen different kinds of flowers blooming. In the middle of winter. What the heck?
But this was only surprising because I’d never noticed them before. I had to wonder: what else had I been missing?
It turns out quite a lot.
When I toyed with the idea of starting a novel coaching program for CEOs and executive directors … I happened to find myself at Thanksgiving dinner seated across the table from a former CEO interested in the same thing. We’re now talking about partnering on the venture.
When I wanted to become more intentional in my charitable endeavors … a book on the topic showed up in my mailbox, apparently from a publicist hoping I would review it.
When I wanted to create a special holiday for my family … my neighbor happened to mention that the local gingerbread house exhibit had a Harry Potter theme (my Hogwarts-obsessed daughter was thrilled).
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t believe I manifested these opportunities any more than I manifested flowers in winter.
In science, this is what’s known as selective attention, illustrated by the famous Invisible Gorilla experiment. Essentially, we all have a kind of filter that predisposes us to see some things while ignoring others. We evolved that way so our brains wouldn’t get overloaded with inputs.
What does this all mean?
Most of the time, you don’t have to massively remake your life to get what you want. You just need a new way of looking at the world.
What I’m suggesting here is chewing gum simple:
You Find What You Look For
You want to find the perfect job, where you have the autonomy to create brilliant, world-changing products?
Start looking for it.
You want to start a side business that allows you pay off your credit card debt?
Start looking for problems you can solve for people.
You want to go on a safari in South Africa?
Start looking for a way to get there.
I’m not suggesting that anything you want will magically turn up the moment you look for it (although sometimes it nicely works out that way). More often what you find is a trail of breadcrumbs, each taking you one step closer.
At times, the pace will be frustratingly slow.
But finding something has to be an active process.
Too many people are waiting for their dreams to happen rather than taking responsibility for creating them. I love it when opportunities drop in my lap, too. But if that’s your only source of magic in life, the haphazardness can make you feel a little helpless.
In the end, what makes you a king or queen is not castles or the crown on your head.
It’s being willing to own the power you already have—and not be afraid to use it.