Start Where You Are

“Start where you are
Use what you have
Do what you can”
–Arthur Ashe
We are nearing 2016 and some of you are getting ready to say what you want for next year. New beginnings are so fresh, so hopeful. I really believe that you can create a new beginning any time you want. But that is a blog for another day. Most of us subscribe to the New Year’s new beginning so this makes it a particularly appropriate time to address this subject.

Many of my clients are afraid to come into coaching. They will say, “I am afraid that I don’t have the right goals or that I won’t be able to reach them.” “I’m afraid I’m not driven enough or clear enough.” “I just don’t really know what I want.”

And I hear this a lot. I hear it from people who ultimately say no to coaching, but I hear it from my active clients too. I hear this impatience also – “I should be farther.” “I should have done all my homework last week.” “I should know what I want.” I had a friend who used to say, “I’m 40.  I should have done more than this.”  And often this mindset, these fears, keep us from setting goals in the first place.

I am reminded of this phrase I first heard in my yoga practice: “Start where you are.” I love this phrase. In yoga I take it to mean this – there is a perhaps “right” way to do the pose. And maybe if you practice year after year, you might get it. I don’t know if that is actually possible, but the point is this. You won’t walk into a yoga class and be able to do the posture perfectly. You just won’t. You might not even be close. And for many people this is frustrating. So frustrating they quit. Many people have this challenge with meditation as well. “My mind won’t stop and so I am not doing it right. Why even try?  I’m not good at it.”  Many people have this challenge with other things as well. The feeling is, “I should not be here. I should be there. I should be farther along.” But the answer is, “You are here.” And, ironically, the more you can see and honor where “here” is, the more you can move

Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

There is a sense of patience, of acceptance, of acknowledging where you are standing that ironically allows you to move forward. If you do not start where you are in a yoga pose, you will fall over.

And so as you move into 2016, take some time to sit down and acknowledge where you are. What have you accomplished this year? What have you not accomplished? How are you feeling about it? Can you look neutrally, inquiringly and without judgment? And if you have judgment, can you acknowledge that as well as part of where you are? Can you curiously take a look at where you standing today? From here you will be ready to say what’s next for you.

You are here

Let’s face it – setting goals is a stretchy behavior (it will stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone). If achieving your goals was comfortable, you would have done it by now. So you are not always going to know for certain what you want. You are not always going to follow through on the action steps you declare. You are not always going to make it to that outcome on the timetable you have set for yourself. But if you expect so much of yourself that this makes you give up, then guess what? You will never get what you say you want.

You must start where you are. Where is that?


And after you figure that out, join us to see what is next for 2018!

Beyond Goal-Setting: Make 2018 the Best Year of Your Career

If you do not know what you want, you are unlikely to get what you want.

In January, McLaren Coaching is bringing you a workshop that will help you decide what you want from 2018.

Success is the result of committed action.

In this workshop, you will clearly determine what you want from 2018 and you will learn what it takes to get what you want.

When you truly commit to a “goal,” it becomes a “result” by the end of the year.

This is the difference between a “New Year’s Resolution” and a “declaration,” “decision” or “outcome.”

It is the difference between a hope and an intention

It is the difference between just wanting something and actively committing to it.

 You will leave this workshop with:

·       Clearly-articulated outcomes for your coming year

·       A practical plan to obtain your outcomes

·       A system to stay committed to your outcomes

·       A tool for creating future outcomes

 Register here:

January 16 (Tuesday)
9am — 12pm


January 27 (Saturday)
9am — 12pm

Check-in starts at 8:30am

Held at Sierra 2 in Curtis Park, Sacramento

$140/person for 2 or more from same company

From a former attendee:

“Turning wishes, desires or goals into outcomes is not as hard as you might think once you take committed action toward your goal. Sitting down and writing down my actual outcome for the coming year has been so valuable. Putting pen to paper and outlining the steps I need to take to achieve my outcome makes the outcome seem more achievable. I highly recommend working with Cami on setting outcomes for yourself. The experience is invaluable.”

Jennifer Duggan

Duggan Law Corporation

About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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