Seeing Through the Fog

Yes, it has been difficult to imagine what next week will look like, let alone thinking about a new year. So how do we start to focus on rebuilding and rethinking what we want to accomplish, achieve or create in 2021?


Visualization is the process of picturing what you want. The ability to visualize helps create clarity. Stephen Covey shared in Habit #2 of his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “begin with the end in mind.” Getting clear about what you want or what success means to you is a key part of building a plan and achieving it.

But how can you get clear when your world is still so covered in so much uncertainty by the unresolved pandemic? Here is where another great coaching skill can serve you well – imagining.

Imagining is the process of allowing yourself to create, dream or invent whatever you want. It has no regard to what is currently possible, ignoring any restrictions or unknown factors. It simply allows you to focus on what you truly want to be, achieve, etc.

Think about it this way: you are walking along a beach and you see something shiny. You reach down to pick it up and realize it is an old lamp. You rub it to see the exterior more clearly and a genie appears. The genie offers you one wish.

So now ask yourself: if you could have whatever you want, what would it be? (This is a great activity for a family, a couple or a workplace team, as well.)

Imagining is important for two reasons.

First, it reminds you that no matter how tough things are, you are still the creator of your life. Though you may have to revise some of your imagined ideas when it comes time to implementation, you still have more control over this process than the fog makes you think. The fog robs you of your ability to feel empowered, engaged and in control, taking away your energy. With no energy and a feeling of no control, it limits your ability to dream, stay focused and achieve the things that matter. The fog makes you give up.

Second, imagining gets you excited. When things are dark, obscure and uncertain, imagining a new beginning, a better outcome or even a new direction amplifies your energy. You get charged up and it inspires a feeling that all (or at least more) things are possible. That energy is necessary to see through the fog so you can start building your plan to achieve what you want.

Take Action
Seeing through the fog is your key to landing on your feet and building something great in 2021. This starts now. You’ve spent enough time in the fog. Now it’s time to have a strategy and a plan to see through it to a new, better and healthier year. Visualize what you want. Imagine it’s possible. And with that clarity, back into the things you can start today that will get you moving and achieving.

A year from now, you will look back at this moment and feel energized that no matter what work or life sends, you have the tools to see your way through it to a place that matters to you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Ready or Not, 2021, Here We Come!

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The Imagine Game

My (almost) 3-year old loves to make inferences, to guess why something is happening the way it’s happening. And his younger brother gets equally excited to hear all the ideas and to jump in when he can.

For example, our dog could start barking. It immediately results in a flurry of questions about why she’s barking so I’ll turn the question around: “Why do you guys think she’s barking?” Their eyes light up – especially my 3-year old who is so excited to share his ideas with me – and the reasons come pouring out.

“Maybe there’s another dog out there! Maybe it’s a cat? Maybe it’s the wild turkeys again! Maybe it’s nothing… she barks at nothing sometimes. Is it a truck? A car? Did a tree fall down…?”

Regardless of the question, the ideas go on and on until he either finds one that suits him or he and his brother end in a fit of giggles.

They love this “game” so much, I created the “Imagine Game.” The rules are simple: notice something about your surroundings and ask why it is the way it is.

Why do you think that dump truck drove by so fast?

Why do you think it’s so windy?

What do you think we’ll find over there?

It’s a fun game that gets the kids’ creative juices flowing and gives me a little insight into what they’re thinking and feeling that day.

But it’s more than just a fun game to play with my kids. It got me thinking about our behavior as adults. Why don’t we play the “Imagine Game” when we grow up? Because we spend most of our time in habit and react mode. We’re so busy moving through the motions of the day that we forget to make time to notice what’s happening right in front of us, to give it some thought and see where those thoughts take us. It might end nowhere; it also might lead to an idea or thought that may otherwise have been unreached.

Imagine is one of the coaching tools we use at The Forte Factor to encourage our clients to take a step beyond their limits for just a moment to imagine the achievement of a goal or what could be possible.

By allowing yourself to imagine and hold a different outcome in your view, you open up possibilities that a mind in react mode can’t access. 

Taking a few minutes of the day to imagine something without restrictions can not only get the creative juices flowing, but it also allows you to see what could be. And you just may discover that your first step to reaching your goal(s) is to imagine getting there.

Take Action
Take five minutes today to notice something about your world and imagine why it is like it is. What’s the weather like? What is traffic like? What do you hear when you stop and notice? Pick something and focus on it. Ask yourself why it is the way it is. Allow yourself to imagine the scenario playing out.

Now, think of a goal you’ve set for yourself. Imagine yourself achieving that goal. What does success look like to you? How did you get there? Use this exercise if you find yourself getting stuck and needing an extra push to keep working toward your goal(s).

Find three places to use the Imagination Game in work or life this week. See how things change.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Be On the Disengagement Hunt

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There are so many places in life where we need to step out of where we are to do, say or be something more or different. When confronted with this exact situation, so many people back down. They turn away. They put up with a situation that needs a change. They settle.

I can do it positive message

Just imagine for a moment that you had an unlimited amount of courage. That this courage comes from deep in you and is available to you in any situation that you call for it. That this courage helps you say or do what you need to do with great respect and care for the other person or the other situation. That this courage is yours to claim and to use whenever and wherever you need it. Imagine that this courage helps you achieve the outcome you want.

With this image, do you now feel even just a bit more courageous?

I regularly share that the most wasted emotion is worry. To worry about things that may never happen ruins the current moment. To worry about things that do actually happen just wears you down and limits your success with the situation because you have used your energy to worry and have less available to respond.

And worry erodes our courage. When we focus instead on what our courage can create for us, we replace worry with possibility. Imagining a successful outcome to a problem or challenge empowers us to try when we may otherwise give up.

Life will always require you to tap into your courage. It is one of the abilities we all have, but one that most of us have not developed. It is there to help us through the situations that feel larger than we think we can handle. It is there to help us face challenges, obstacles and problems with the goal of helping us get to the other side and see how capable we are. In fact, the way to grow courage is to use it. The more you take that courageous first step to doing something difficult, the less self-talk you need to use to get yourself ready for the next one. Soon, you can confidently look at life’s situations and know that you have what it takes to figure them out and successfully deal with them.

Take Action
What is one thing that needs your courage to address, discuss or solve? Image yourself on the other side of it, having had success with it. Stay focused on this image. Now, what is the first thing you need to do to take action?

Remember this quote from A.A. Milne, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and stronger that you think.” You are capable to create for yourself what you want and need at work and in life. Sometimes, it just takes courage to go get it.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Be Someone’s Hero

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What If You Had No Limits?

By Jay Forte

Imagine living in a world where you can be anything you want to be. You have all the resources you need to achieve this. You have all the support you need to reach your goals.

With nothing holding you back, what would you choose?

Most of us don’t know because we struggle to imagine having no limits. Why? Because we are faced with an endless list of limitations every day, from ability to time, to resources, to support. That, coupled with the fact that our world is quick to remind us that life is filled with limitations, often results in choosing to be practical and play things safe.

But just imagine what you could do when those limitations are acknowledged as hurdles and not road blocks. 

See, when you acknowledge a limit and work with it, you can start to have better control over your capabilities. You can allow yourself to invent, create and imagine all that is meaningful and valuable in you because you push yourself to the edges and consider things that may have otherwise been ignored. You start to say what matters to you. You move past playing small.

If you don’t dream it, you can’t achieve it.

Our greatest lives are those that have moved us past our comfort zones, past what we think we can achieve, and introduced us to abilities and strengths we never knew we had. When we are afraid to try, afraid to push our limits, we prevent ourselves from discovering how amazing we are and what those amazing abilities can help us achieve. Our lack of self-awareness keeps us focused on our limits and playing small.

To push to your edges and challenge your limits, start asking questions like, “What if…” and “How about…”

For example:

  • What if I went back to college and pursued a degree in something I am passionate about?
  • What if I took the job I want to take instead of staying local where my family and friends are?
  • What if I applied for the role in the company others say is too big for me, but I totally can see myself in it?
  • Let’s imagine that we wrap this project and beat the deadline by a full week – what would that look like?
  • How about redefining this role in the company to include a remote or gig employee?
  • How about living in another country for a year?

We build limits to keep ourselves safe, but overtime, the limits we set for ourselves are often the very ones that box us in, making life and work smaller and less fulfilling. As a result, we can only truly live a fraction of our potential.

So, be self-aware. Go for the greatest image, vision or opportunity possible. Imagine, invent and create. You can scale things back if you need to, but give it a try first.

What could you create if you had no limits?

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. In what areas in work and life do you impose limits?
  2. What is one dream, wish or adventure you want for yourself?
  3. What is one thing you will do today to start to move the edges of your limits to allow yourself a larger view?


Consider reading Find Your Voice. Be The Change.

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