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Sugar-plum dreams really are possible with a careful plan

Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads? Sadly not.

We may forget that while we are busy being concerned about our plans for the holidays, many of our students and young folk are in the throes of making important plans and decisions about their lives.

'Tis the season for career fairs, school applications and considering which subjects to study, what job paths to follow and where.

While I'd like to cling to my youth, I certainly have no desire to head back to high school.

Whether it was making my GCSE subject choices at age 13, or at 15 for the IB, or deciding what schools to apply to for sixth form or even which countries to consider for college... I found the pressure of making those decisions intense, to put it mildly.

Everyone had an opinion: parents, siblings, careers counsellors, there was even peer pressure from friends — and they all said something different.

I often wonder if I knew then what I know now how would I have chosen and done things differently. And what is it that would make that difference?

Two things:

1. Rarely is it “the end of the world” until it is actually the end of the world.

In other words, that our “failures”, our disappointments and our mistakes can be overcome with the right attitude, approach and effort.

2. We really can achieve our dreams if we set strong goals, break those goals into manageable action steps and put in the (often hard) work to see them through (the basic tenets of coaching).

In all my education, no one ever pointed out these fundamental tools for systematically working towards something I wanted.

I managed to muddle through okay but how much easier would it have been if I'd actually been taught how to make a plan and follow it? I didn't learn these basics until studying coaching in my 30s!

Now when coaching students and young people (whether to improve grades or personal performance or to manage the stress that accompanies those years of intense transition) I often start with understanding our choices and creating one's goals and objectives.

These are keys to empowerment, promoting a sense of personal responsibility and creating transferable life skills for ongoing development.

I don't envy our students and youth in transition. They face such pressures and have even more to consider these days.

We can support them though, by role-modelling decision-making: talking through options and opportunities, making choices, living and dealing with the consequences, and not over-dramatising the impact of them.

We can also demonstrate how structure and planning can support their open-mindedness: that all those (sugar plum) visions really are possible with the right approach.

Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on (441) 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.

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Published December 17, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2014 at 1:35 am)

Sugar-plum dreams really are possible with a careful plan

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