Written by: William Rees, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
For many of us, being burned-out and busy 24/7 is a badge of honor. For others, binge-watching and social-media scrolling has slithered its way into every waking moment of our days and sleep-starved nights.
We’re over-achievers at being ever-occupied, but how often are we inspired—or inspiring? We may always be up to something, but how often are we engaged in endeavors that make good use of our greatest gifts.
The oceans of hours we’ve all spent at home because of the pandemic might’ve almost convinced us otherwise, but time is still a non-renewable resource. As is our mental and emotional energy.
A core question that nearly all of my clients find themselves wrestling with when they enroll with Keylight Life + Wellbeing Coaching is:
“How do I better honor my time and energy instead of burning through those gifts blindly?”
The following exercise is a go-to tool I draw upon with nearly all my clients at some point. I first used it during a coaching session with a writer/performer looking to map a productive path to putting on his very own one-man-show, but this energizing exercise works with anyone, anytime. It utilizes the poetic power of visualization and assists you in setting down, in black and white, your own path to prioritizing a purposeful and energized new chapter.
Step 1: Picture Your Path
To start, I invite clients to close their eyes and imagine a glorious mountain trail, anywhere in the world, real or imagined. How does it look? Is it green and lush, or is it cool and snowy? Are there rivers and oceans to marvel at, or are there cliffs and cacti? Visualize your unique mountain trail and notice the feelings it evokes inside you. Write a few words about your mountain on your piece of paper.
Step 2: Recognize Life’s Limits
With your majestic mountain trail clarified in your mind, imagine you’ve been waiting for years to visit this perfect place. You’ve now pulled up at the gates of the National Park, season pass in hand, and you stand before the large map displaying the You Are Here red X and the endless adventures that visitors can enjoy.
The thing is, it’s the end of the season and there’s not enough time in your visit to explore and enjoy every wonder that the park has to offer. (Uh oh…)
You only have enough time to trek up one trail during your visit before the park closes for the season. What must be on your unique trail to make your visit still truly valuable?
Step 3: Attach To The Real World
Now connect the mountain metaphor to your real life. Look at the three weeks in front of you and jot down three goals or experiences you’re excited to commit to, whether in your personal or professional endeavors. One person’s list might look something like this:
Complete the first draft of a business plan for a new side-hustle
Find 4 contacts in this new industry to arrange coffee with
Spend less time “mindlessly” watching YouTube
Imagine you’re down at the foot of the mountain trail, ready to begin a rigorous but rewarding journey. The map states that a third of the way up this trail is a spectacular Scenic Overlook.
Which of your three commitments for the weeks ahead would be easiest to achieve? Assign that as your first “Scenic Overlook”. (The next easiest achievement will be your second Scenic Overlook, and the most challenging task will be your Mountain Peak.)
Step 4: Prep for Success
To begin your trek and achieve success in reaching your first goal/Scenic Overlook, answer these two questions:
1. What do I need to gather (inside me or around me) to successfully reach the Scenic Overlook?
Perhaps it’s having an important conversation with a co-worker, or a spouse. Perhaps it’s deleting Candy Crush off your phone. Perhaps it’s reframing your thoughts toward experimentation instead of perfection.
2. What do I need to leave behind so I won’t be weighed down as I head to the Scenic Overlook?
Perhaps it’s pessimistic or catastrophizing thought patterns. Perhaps it’s hours spent texting on the phone with your friends. Perhaps it’s stale memories of past failures.
As you coach yourself with the Scenic Overlook exercise, clearly identifying what to hold on to and what to let go of as you march towards success ensures that you will indeed achieve success. Now designate a specific deadline, within the three weeks ahead, you’re committing to achieving the first goal.
Step 5: Enjoy The View:
Now imagine you’ve made it to the first Scenic Overlook and the view is breathtaking. You’ve accomplished the first of your three goals! There’s a historic metal plaque attached to a boulder marking this glorious place and drawing your attention to the wonder of the world around you (and inside you).
1. When you arrive at the plaque, having accomplished your first goal, what do you want to be sure you step back and appreciate?
Maybe: The courage it took to try something new, or the realization that you can revive old dreams, or the fact that you’re connecting to people around you in a more authentic way.
2. When you arrive at the plaque, having accomplished your goal, what do you expect will be important for you to have learned from your trek?
Maybe: That drawing upon creativity helps manage your anxiety. Or that establishing new personal boundaries might be challenging but crucial. Or that good times aren’t just behind you, they’re ahead of you too
Life isn’t always easy, and change can be quite hard. Foundational in my work as a Certified + Accredited Coach is helping my clients articulate the value of their journeys and the learnings their unique journeys provide them. If we don’t align authentically with the rewards and earned wisdom connected to our goals, then our goals are nothing more than hollow time-fillers.
The Next Steps
Once you’ve answered the questions from Step 4 and 5 regarding your first Scenic Overlook, repeat Steps 4 and 5 for your second and third goals/Overlooks:
Again, identifying what you need (and no longer need) to keep you going uphill – What you will be able to appreciate about yourself further up the trail – And what might you learn about yourself as you head higher and higher up your mountain.
Keylight clients love how this exercise cements a clear, cinematic picture in their mind’s eye that keeps them fully activated and inspired, not only when things are rolling right along but when the going gets tough as well.
Three weeks later, upon completion of their time-boxed commitments, clients can’t wait to chart new mountain-top treks to further honor their time and energy as they strive toward ever greater successes and growth.
Wanting to chart your own path to meaningful living, but not ready to go it alone?
Keylight quickly unlocks happier and healthier lives for clients around the world. Reach out and we’ll illuminate your brilliant new future together.
William Rees, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
William Rees is a leading Career and Wellbeing Coach and the founder of Keylight, the top-tier coaching practice renowned for empowering individuals and duos to cast their endeavors in a vibrant and visionary light. Drawing upon his two decades as an award-winning filmmaker, Rees instills a cinematic sense of adventure and wonder into the personal and professional pursuits of his diverse roster of clients. Honoring the idea that The Greatest Art Form is Life Itself, Keylight’s poetic and powerful approach to self-development quickly unlocks clarity and creativity for uniquely inspired living.