“A definition is the enclosing a wilderness of idea within a wall of words”
-Samuel Butler

A man was searching for a piece of land where he could build a home for himself and his family. As he went through his journey, he came upon an open piece of land, a seemingly endless wilderness where no other houses existed. The man sat quietly for a while on rock and began to think. He noticed that the land had a river running through it, and saw lush plant life growing, while many different birds and animals thrived in the woodlands. He began to see potential in what had first had seemed like an impossibility and envisioned a small farm, surrounded by countryside. In order to change the wilderness into a suitable home, he understood that he needed first to build a strong foundation of planning to successfully bring his vision to fruition.

Each and everyone of us has dreams or ideas, which are an untapped source like the wilderness. Perhaps we even fear that vocalising or making plans to bring those ideas into being will stifle or obstruct our creative side. However, engaging the left side of our brains, the side involved in planning, starts to give ideas structure. We can use words to bring the wild, uncontrolled flow of creativity into our grasp and then use them to refine the ideas and make them into goals. Logical thinking may be something that you shy away from, believing that it will bring limits to your ideas, but actually taking a structured approach can take an idea from the wilderness and make it into something tangible.

Emily, a single woman in her 30s was struggling to make a living as a waitress. Day after day, she worked long shifts, for little thanks, although inside she knew that she was capable of more. Sometimes, after a hard day serving meals, she would put her feet up and dream a little – seeing images of herself standing opening the door of a restaurant with her name over the door. To achieve her goal, Emily needed to do more than just think about her goals – she needed to plan and set up structures to make them happen. To take her idea of being a business owner from the wilderness, she could build a wall of words to define what she aimed to achieve by making these changes and equally as important, plan how to get to that stage.

As a coach, you can help your client transform their life and work towards their goals by :

  • Encouraging them to put their ideas and goals into words
  • Demonstrating how words can be used to clarify purpose and actions required
  • Assist the client to use structure to plan specific steps towards a goal or outcome
  • Discuss how defining an idea can identify possible weak or areas
  • Show the client how structured thought actually complements creative thinking

 [Coaching Questions]

  • Can you describe your goals? What do they look like?
  • How can you take your ideas/goals from the wilderness of thought into real life?
  • What words can you use to give your ideas power?
  • In what ways can you use structure to strengthen creative thought?
  • How will the changes of planning for your goal affect you?
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