Some years ago we were traveling through Boston Airport. On the wall, and it was a huge wall, there was a colossal American flag. Whiling away the time before our flight, this obviously caught the imagination of one of the children. ‘What’ they said in a loud voice that seemed to fill one of those silences you occasionally get in public places, ‘do the stars and stripes mean?’

There was, passing nearby, a huge man. He was of a proportion in keeping with the flag on the wall. Tall, broad, and pure muscle. He wore jeans and a lumberjack shirt. And as he heard the question about the flag of his home country, he paused. In mid-stride.

I had an awareness that my answer would not only (hopefully) inform my children – it could also influence the whole of Anglo-American relations from this point forwards. I certainly did not want to offend Mr. Lumberjack.

‘Well,’ I said in my best British accent, ‘The thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen states in the Union, while the fifty stars represent the current states.’

There was then a bit of friendly banter as the children counted the stars and stripes to make sure it all added up. And Mr. Lumberjack un-paused himself and continued walking on, so I think I passed the American history test (with grateful thanks to Prof Giaimis at County College of Morris where I once studied Twentieth Century American History).

And as we moved on to the departure gate, I looked up at the flag and nodded my respect. It seemed to me that the American flag came about because a group of people had a very clear sighted vision of the kind of country they wanted to create. They worked hard to make it come about and to give it its present form.

What a metaphor that can give you for your life. And these are the questions I think you should be asking yourself if you want to reach your goals.

1. What do I want to achieve/get/become? You need to know what you really want. And if you are not sure, make it up, use it as a working title and then as you move towards your goal you can refine what you want.

2. What picture do I have of my goals? The more vivid you make this the better. And if you are not a visual person, what do you hear, what are people saying, or how do you want to feel?

3. What do I need to do to get there? Even if your answer is at the moment, don’t know, you need to ask the question. And your perception of what you need to do tells you a lot about your motivation and drive.

4. What will it cost? Are there any things you will lose or give up when you reach your goals? What will other people lose? What are the wider implications? If you don’t acknowledge what you feel you may be losing, self-sabotage can stop you.

5. What greater good will it fulfil? When you’ve reached your goals what will you be able to do then and how will the universe have benefitted from what you have done? Tapping into this will really power you forward.

(c) 2010 Liz Copeland

Author's Bio: 

Liz Copeland is the True Courage Coach. If you are on the brink of something big and want to move forward or if you are being forced to take a big step True Courage Coaching will support you. So if you’ve lost the job, your partner or your waistline and you want to get to step up and into your ideal future get started right away with your free True Courage Creation Kit at