Stay on Track With Your Goal Using Your Emotional Compass

We all have our good days and bad days, positive and negative thoughts. It’s part of being human. Staying on track with the right mind frame to accomplish our goals requires that we keep our focus on what we do want, not on what we lack or don’t want. In his audio program The Secret of Deliberate Creation, Dr. Robert Anthony uses a wonderful travel metaphor to explain the importance of keeping your thoughts focused on your goal destination.

Here’s my version: Imagine you are taking a trip from your current state, let’s call that the desert in Arizona where you don’t have what you want, to your desired future state, which we’ll imagine is a refreshing beach on the California coast where you do have what you want. The journey to get from your current state to your desired future state takes time. If we are traveling in a car or a plane, it’s easy for us to understand how long the journey might take. But on a journey to accomplishing our goal, many of us get impatient with the time it takes. We doubt, we worry, we fret, and we turn our attention back to our starting point, to all the things we don’t have yet.

When you focus your mind and your actions on positive forward movement towards your goal, you’re heading towards your destination in California. Continually worrying that you’re not there yet, letting your mind spend a lot of time dwelling on doubt, anxiety, fear and so forth, is like constantly driving back to Arizona. It makes the trip take a lot longer.

Like using a compass to plot your route through difficult terrain, you have an emotional compass inside you that can give you feedback on whether you’re pointing your thoughts and feelings in the right direction to accomplish your goal. Positive or buoyant, energizing feelings like joy, confidence, deep desire, inner peace, feeling “on fire” with energy, wholeheartedness—these are all signs that you’re heading in the right direction. Negative or heavy feelings like doubt, insecurity, fear, anger, frustration, boredom—these are inner signals that you’re heading in the wrong direction. You need to pause, listen carefully to these inner signals to figure out what’s going on, then course correct.

About Jane: Jane Cavanaugh is an internationally acclaimed business leadership and career coach who has helped more than 6,000 professionals develop their career and leadership skills. Jane is creator of The Passionate Professional: How to Make Your Ordinary Career Extraordinary, a guided career transition program, and a co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life. Contact or visit Jane at

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Success Stories

Jennifer Meyer, Tribute Web Design

Success Story: “Jane is a delightful blend of practical and passionate. She’s grounded, easy to connect with, and her warmth and optimism are contagious. No matter what kind of mood I started a session in, I always ended it feeling good about myself, eager and capable. What Jane offers is so much more than business advising. She sees things in you that are sometimes hard to see yourself – some little spark of passion that you’d forgotten was there, and coaxes it to flame. Jane is an illuminator of possibility.”