Aristotle observed that every living organism has an inner force, a vitality that propels that organism to be fulfilled. He called that state of being entelechy.
Everyone has an entelechy, a vital force that is yearning to be expressed. The entelechy of an acorn, for example, is to be an oak, and given the right environment and nutrition, that's what it will be.
Try as we might, we can't turn the acorn into a pine or a willow. Our entelechy is uniquely our own and is encoded in our very being. Essentially, our entelechy is who we were born to be.
Unfortunately, many of us are busy trying to turn our acorns into pine trees, and we don't even know it. We try, struggle and fight for success, getting only more trying and struggling and fighting as a result.
When we can know our entelechy, and make our thoughts, intentions and actions line up with that vitality, we find that we struggle less and enjoy more, achieving marvelous results along the way.
One way to know our entelechy is to look at those someday dreams we all have but somehow never get around to, or that just seem too unattainable to begin. It may appear counterintuitive, but we have found that as people express their entelechy, even though it may not seem directly related to the goal they have been trying to achieve, they start to see extraordinary results in other areas of their lives.
One of our executive clients, for example, wanted to double his sales results. When we moved more deeply from his goal to his entelechy, the force within that was calling for expression, he realized that what he wanted was to experience more energy and vitality in his life. He took on an exercise goal, began working with a physical trainer and ended up doubling his sales without really focusing on them. As we express our entelechy, we expand our creative capacity and begin to see growth on many levels.
Why would we suppress our entelechy? There are many reasons we give ourselves: I don't have the time, I'll wait until the kids are gone or until I retire or until I have more money or more education. All these reasons validate our decision to put that dream on the someday list, where it can sit for years, sapping our creative energy.
The good news is that you don't need much time, money, experience or any other resource to get started on your dream. In fact, a commitment of just 10 minutes a day, taken consistently, is enough to get over the overwhelm, get the creative energy flowing again and start seeing some real results.
Here's what you can do in just 10 minutes today:
- Consider your someday dreams carefully. What is your life calling for? Take 10 minutes to write out a list of all the things you've been thinking about doing but haven't done.
- Choose one thing on that list to experiment with. It doesn't matter which one you choose. Often in our coaching programs, people start with one thing, then start seeing results in other areas. We soon see people accomplishing everything from clearing off their desk to starting a global program to end world poverty.
- Spend 10 minutes focusing on that one thing you've selected. Imagine that you have successfully achieved whatever dream you've chosen. Fuel the fantasy with as much positive energy as you can. What would you be feeling if you woke up this morning and that dream had come true? That's the feeling you want to focus on. If you do nothing else with your someday dream but spend 10 minutes every day doing this exercise, you will see results.
- Ask yourself, what is one small step I can take now that would get me closer to this imagined future? Can you make a phone call, spend 10 minutes on internet research, pick up some supplies the next time you are at the store?
Make small and easy action steps and find yourself quickly moving forward. Try it out for yourself on one of your someday dreams. Instead of saying "someday," you'll be doing something.
Rory Cohen is an expert in the psychology of success and implementation of big ideas and has been a featured on The View, CNN and National Public Radio. She co-developed the Take 10! System for achieving results, available in Take 10! How to Achieve Your Someday Dreams in 10 Minutes a Day. Cohen holds masters degrees in health administration and spiritual psychology. She has more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership, management consulting, training and coaching.