“One cannot be content to creep, when one feels the impulse to SOAR.” – Helen Keller
I love the water, especially lakes. A few months ago I was enjoying some time at the lake. While relaxing on the water, I started watching the birds as they were flying. They would fly between trees, stopping for brief moments to rest until they soared away against the brilliance of the blue sky.
As they began to soar, their wings flapped rapidly. They were working hard. Yet, when they reached greater heights, their flight seemed effortless. They were gliding.
They reached their soar spot.
Soaring flight is smooth and gentle and without fast fluctuations or sharp dives. Soaring birds seldom have to flap their wings because they take advantage of what nature has to offer. It’s called updrafts, or rising air, and the rising air elevates a bird from one updraft to another until they soar smoothly.
That’s what we should do. Humans also have a soar spot.
When we are in a dip in life, we need to take advantage of our own personal updrafts rather than doing battle against the wind. Struggles should not be the norm but rather an instant that we take to reflect upon and revise our path so that we can reach new heights – that place where we can soar to success more easily.
Your career and life will be a less bumpy ride when you, too, reach your S.O.A.R spot.
SOAR spots are reached by:
- S – Surveying Your Path
- O – Overcoming Obstacles
- A – Attaining Focused Discipline
- R – Reflecting, Resting, Reassessing, and Rising Again
S – Survey Your Path to Find the Way Forward
The first step in planning a journey is to know where you want to go. Pretty simplistic, right? But you’d be surprised how many people are eager to set off on a journey before they have a good idea of where they want to end up.
The best place to start is to get in survey mode.
Imagine that you are sitting high above everything and looking down from above. Survey your life and career with a bird’s eye view.
Look around. Do a 360. Study it. Examine your life, your work, your relationships, and your physical surroundings. Do you see the path that you have journeyed and do you see the path that lies before you?
What does it look like?
- What have you seen along the way?
- Where were the key learning points that you encountered?
- Can you clearly see the path in front of you and where you are walking?
- Where are your greatest opportunities ahead?
- What challenges did you face or overcome? What challenges do you face as you move forward?
- What threats do you see lurking down on the path?
- Where could you have made a better decision? How can you learn from that?
- What should you avoid? What can be improved?
- What gives you meaning in your life and career? What has given you meaning before?
This panoramic survey will show you where you had success. It will also show you where you faltered and where you could have used some help. If you keep looking, you will see what obstacles will clutter the path before you.
O – Overcome Obstacles
So you see your path and you see where you are trying to go. The next step is to identify what might stand in your way and what might give you a little trouble as you move forward on your life and career journey.
Any obstacle you see is only temporary. It’s only there long enough until you find your way around it. Sometimes you don’t even have to go around, you can bust right through.
You can’t do that, though, until you find the root cause of the obstacle. Find out what anchors that obstacle so you can break the chains that bind.
Identifying the obstacle is always the first step. Once you see the cause, you can devise a plan to overcome it. You may need to change directions or just create something brand new.
A – Accomplish the Focused Discipline Needed
If you are going to break through obstacles, you’ll need to be disciplined. You’ll need to be determined. Focused discipline is an essential key success factor in helping you reach your S.O.A.R. spot. It’s coupled with the motivation you’ll need to energize your behavior to perform and to succeed. Motivation is why we do something. It’s what pushes us into that first step of action.
Motivation and discipline go hand and hand and together they create achievements and won’t let you be derailed along the way. Accomplishments require persistence and endurance. You have to break through any obstacle and keep on going in spite of difficulties.
R – Rest, Reflect, Reassess, and Rise Again
You’ve made it. You’re soaring.
This is, however, not the end journey. You can’t stay at that height for long periods of time. You have to come down to rest and reflect. The goal while in your S.O.A.R. spot is to maintain that panoramic view and understand that there will always be obstacles along the way in every journey.
The difference is that if you understand where you want to go and how to break through the obstacles, you’ll be able to take advantage of life’s updrafts that will keep you soaring.
The above is an excerpt from an upcoming book, Reaching Your S.O.A.R Spot, to be published later in 2015.