The Art of Strengths Coaching

W is for Where There’s A Way, There’s A Will

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“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” says the proverb.

Providing a person has enough will power, they will eventually find a way to reach their goals. You can also change the proverb’s wording to say:

“Where there’s a way, there’s a will.”

Providing a person can see a way to reach their goals, they are more likely to develop the will power to embark on their journey.

Looking back on your life, can you recall a time when you felt stuck until you found a way forward? This may have been uncharacteristic, because normally you felt optimistic. On this occasion it took some time before you found a solution to the challenge.

Once the pathway appeared, however, you felt a new surge of energy. This gave you the strength to work towards your chosen goal.

Rick Snyder wrote extensively about hope and created The Hope Scale. This enabled people to understand and increase their sense of hope. The Hope Scale invites a person to measure two things.

Will Power

This is their will to shape their future. It may be characterised by their fighting spirit, resilience and ability to overcome setbacks.

Way Power

This is their ability to see ways to shape their future. It may be characterised by their creative thinking and ability to find solutions to challenges.

People who score highly on both Will Power and Way Power will have a high level of hope. They will feel positive and able to shape their futures.

The Hope Scale also explains why a person who is normally positive may sometimes feel depressed. They still have the will to solve a problem, but they feel stuck. Once they see a way forwards, however, they feel released and gain a new sense of hope.

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If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe a time when you may have felt stuck and then made a breakthrough. It asks you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you found a way forwards and this increased your will to achieve a specific goal.

Describe the specific things you did to explore the various possibilities and eventually find a way forwards.

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Looking ahead, can you think of a potentially difficult situation when you may need to find a positive way forward? You may want to develop a new sense of purpose, rejuvenate your career, manage on less income or whatever.

You may choose to take time out by yourself to explore the challenge. Starting from your destination, you may clarify the real results you want to achieve – the ‘What’. You may then move on to exploring the possible options – the ‘How’.

Gathering information, you may study best practice and also consider creative solutions. Settling on your chosen way forward, you may move to the ‘When’. Translating the ideas into action, you will work towards achieving your chosen goal.

You may also choose consult with others – such as a friend, trusted advisor or mentor. A good mentor, for example, will provide an overview of the situation and the potential strategies for going forward. They may also provide practical tools you can use to pursue your chosen route and achieve the goal.

Looking at my own life, I have had many mentors who helped me to see possible ways forward. It took me six years, for example, to move from working in a factory to doing social work.

My own part consisted of continually gathering information and applying for positions. After several years, however, I met people who gave an overview of the jungle and outlined the possible routes forward.

This eventually led to me getting my first role in social work. Like many people, I always had the will. The mentors uncovered a way forward, however, that helped me to work towards achieving the specific goal.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on the theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific goal you may want to achieve in the future that will require you exploring all the possible ways forwards.

Describe the specific things you can do to explore all the possible ways to reach the goal.

Describe the specific things you can then do to move forwards and also maintain your will to achieve the goal. 

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