The 'what next' syndrome

About 2 months back I gave a talk at the Gwangju International Centre, after which we (a group of friends) had dinner at a local restaurant. After I’d grilled them on what they got out of my session, a friend turned to me and said, ‘So what kind of goals does a Life Coach set?’. This hit me. Hard. I mean I’m a goal-setter at heart, but his question still caught me off guard.
So here’s my personal account of a goal-reached & my own little ‘aha-moment’ after having reached it!
This past weekend I ran my first full marathon, and I finished it just ahead of the time I was going for. This, training for a marathon, has been my number one priority for the past 3 months. Like other goals, it requires determination, vision and of course grueling hours of hard work.
I LOVE setting goals and I LOVE working towards them, and this obviously motivates me in wanting to help others to do the same. But one thing I’ve always struggled with, and for some reason it really hit home this week, is the ‘what next’ feeling. The feeling that creeps in hours or days after achieving a goal. The assumption that ‘that’ was not enough.
I woke up this morning (3 days after my big event), still feeling tenderness in my legs..and guess what thought popped into my head. Yip that’s it – ‘So whats next??’ And along with this thought came a feeling of dissatisfaction. Now this really got me thinking. I’ve worked so hard for this goal and yet I’ve hardly had time to revel in the success of it, before I’m on to the next thing.
So I put myself in the ‘coachee’ seat and I asked myself the questions I’d be asking a client if they presented me with this same dilemma. And just like that, it came to me.
When coaching someone towards a goal, firstly, we set strategies, these are like big stepping stones between Point A (where you find yourself today) and Point B (the goal). These stepping stones are not actions, but rather points from which we can create actions each week. Clients usually find this ‘Setting of Strategies’ stage fairly simple, however rarely have I coached a client who adds in “Celebrate” as a final strategy. People struggle with this idea of celebrating, as for many of us, the goal is your ultimate. I mean, isnt it enough to just achieve something awesome? Why the need to celebrate then?
Well..this is where I found myself today. Experiencing a bit of a ‘let-down’ feeling, which I know many seem to feel even after achieving things they consider amazing.
So what does Celebrate look like, and would it help? 
Well, for me, I presumed I had celebrated; I’ve eaten plenty junk food this week and have got lots of rest. I mean thats celebrating right? Wrong!!! Celebrating is doing something FOR YOU. It’s naming something long before the goal is achieved, something that would feel like a true reward. It sounds silly, I know, but it’s what gives your goal its final step of completion. It’s as important as any other step along the way. Acknowledgement from others can go a long way. Self acknowledgement even further.
So, what you may ask, am I going to do to celebrate?
I LOVE massages, but rarely go for them as they are expensive and I don’t like spending money on things I can’t see. But TODAY is my celebrating day and so after work, I’m heading for a massage!!! And then for a glass of wine with my husband where I will allow myself the privilege of feeling I accomplished something, the privilege of talking about it all one last time, without any thought of whats next or whether I’m being too proud.
Lastly, what did I get out of this little self-coaching session?
It’s simple really – Goals are there to push us, to facilitate greatness. Pride has a look of its own, easily distinguishable, but accomplishment is something none of us should be ashamed to feel!!



  1. Alex on September 11, 2013 at 3:35 am

    great post!

  2. Bridget Farrell on September 11, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Well done Koo, I am so proud of you!!! Your first marathon – yah!! Great reflection and beautiful growth – enjoy your massage and galss of wine with H love Beebs x

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