As I was driving to work recently, I saw a young cardinal hopping along the grass on the side of the road as I stopped at a stoplight. The image that comes to mind when you hear the word cardinal is probably of a tall majestic beautiful red crested bird with a black mask around its strong triangular beak designed for cracking seeds, but this is not what I saw. This cardinal was caught in a phase just after the fuzzy cute baby bird stage but before the poor creature developed its beautiful red flight feathers. It wasn’t chubby and cute anymore but it wasn’t the sleek flying creature it was meant to be one day either. Many things in our life go through stages that aren’t so pretty.
Barbara Sher, a world renowned career coach and best-selling author, says that ideas start out like babies animals. Human beings give birth to ideas and at first, we love them. We imagine how they will turn out with incredible pride and romantic optimism. When it comes to working out the logistics, budgeting time or money or both, for this new vision, the wonderful idea can molt away some of its attractive newness. As this idea develops you may find a need to further plan, to polish, to gather support of others and overcome obstacles. At some point it may be hard to share this vulnerable, not quite developed idea, at this ugly stage. However, this is a time that not only the idea needs support, but also the person who gave birth to the idea may need support. I encouraged a group of friends recently to set a goal, and some of these friends might be at an ugly stage of reaching this goal, just as you may also.
Some common goals are related to health, like starting a new exercise program; others wanted to reconnect to art they had put aside years ago. I had set a goal to complete two art works this month, and really had some great ideas that I wanted to bring to fruition. One of the ideas was a collage on canvas in tribute to Frida Kahlo, a well known Mexican artist. However, this idea did not come together on the canvas the way I had wished. So, I could stop, give up on this project at this ugly stage, but instead I have decided to work at it some more, ask for support and ideas. I may change my tactics, redo some of the piece, allow myself to struggle with the details, step back and look at the big picture. I am hoping that in sharing this photo of my work at this ugly stage that it might encourage anyone who reads my blog to do the same with their life, their ideas, and their relationships. So, here it is, and here are some of the steps that I am willing to do to make it a better piece of art. I am leaving some of the steps blank you, as you will notice, for you to fill in because I know that there is no way that I could have all the answers. No one really does. How are goals going for you?
1. Make a goal.
2. Plan some small steps.
3. Take action.
4. Assess the progress, from the detailed perspective and the big picture view.
5. Adjust as needed.
6. Share your goal.
7. Ask for help, or support.
8. Be willing to make changes, or redo’s.