3 magic words

If any of you are like me -- and I have a feeling there are a few of you -- after reading the title of this post, you're likely scanning the text to discover as quickly as possible the three magic words of which I write. Well, this post doesn't work that way because the three magic words are unique to each person; no generic magic words to be found.

That's right. There's three for me, and there's three for you ... and you ... and you.

Let me explain: Many of you will remember my recent lament about not having epiphanies upon reading articles in MORE and O magazines. Though I've yet to have an epiphany, I did recently read a life-improving article in O, written by Martha Beck, O's goal-achieving guru in residence. The article, loosely translated, describes a new method for achieving one's goals. And since reading it, I've been a little less consumed with epiphanies and more focused on reaching my goals ... with the help of three magic words.

In the article (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Goal-Setting-Strategies-from-Life-Coach-Martha-Beck), Beck tells the reader to imagine she's achieved an ultimate goal, to actually visualize what achievement of that goal looks like. The ultimate goal for me, the one I visualized in detail, was making my living off my words, through published books and my blog.

Yay for visualization. But that's not the end of the exercise.

Beck says to then think of three adjectives for how you would feel upon reaching such a goal, three words describing your psychological takeaway upon such an achievement. Beck's rationale being, basically, that it's often not the actual achievement we desperately seek, but the feelings and emotional payoff that would accompany the achievement.

In terms of achieving my writing goal, the three adjectives I came up with were creative, empowered and financially secure.

But wait -- that's still not the end of the exercise.

Beck continues by saying that instead of focusing so hard on that specific goal, you should focus on using those three magic words you came up with. She encourages you to engage in actions or tasks that would lead you to feel one or more of those words, even if the tasks aren't directly related to that original goal. Because, again, it's not the goal that soothes the soul, Beck says, it's the feelings we imagine resulting from that goal that we desire. The goals may still be achieved but they're no longer, in and of themselves, the end-all, be-all.

Believe it or not, I think Beck's right. Since doing the exercise, I've focused on tasks and activities that make me feel creative, things that make me feel empowered, things that contribute to being financially secure. Most of the tasks relate to only one of the adjectives at a time, and many of the activities have nothing to do with becoming a well-paid writer. Yet I feel more content about my career goals, my career path.

Because of my improved attitude about my career goals since this little exercise, I thought I'd apply it to another goal/dream of mine to see if it does the same -- the dream of having all my family living nearby ... my children and my grandchildren, all within easy visiting distance.

So I visualized the scenario, the goal, in detail, and I came up with three adjectives related to achieving it. Hence, going forward I will pursue activities that elicit feelings associated with my three new magic words: nurturing, intimate, memorable.

I've just set about putting my new magic words into action, so I'm not sure where they will take me. But I'm crossing my fingers that the three adjectives related to my family goal are as magically effective as those regarding my career goal have been. Even just a smidgen of the magic will be much appreciated if it can ease by the slightest bit the burden of having chunks of my heart living 815 miles away.

It's worth a shot, I believe. I'll share the good news of its effectiveness with you once I see that the magic's in motion.

Abracadabra, here goes!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Today's question:

Following Martha Beck's exercise, what is one of your three magic words?