An inspiring breakfast meeting at the Herts Coaching Club last Friday at the Red Lion Inn in St. Albans. Guest coach Doug took us through the importance of goal setting in order to achieve one's objectives in life and, of course, to help our clients achieve theirs.
Doug was compelling on the importance of visualizing our goals and shared his own "goal montage", a tableau of images that included an Aston Martin and a large sea-going yacht. As a measure of how successful this strategy can be, he claimed to be only six months away from ordering the sports car of his dreams.
As I drove home, I reflected on the value of this exercise and pledged to do it for myself although I struggled to think of what goals to reach for. I have, after all, become a man of modest ambitions and don't particularly covet anything especially unattainable.
Thoughts of my "goal montage" were put to one side the following day as I rushed to set up the Finals Day barbecue at Marshallswick Lawn Tennis Club, one of a number of jobs that seems to have fallen on my broad shoulders. The rain just held off, I'm pleased to say, and I was in a relaxed mood for the traditional post-tournament karaoke night that evening; inevitably I was asked to help behind the bar. The atmosphere was even livelier than usual with several groups of members clustering around the mike to belt out rousing numbers such as "Come on, Eileen" or "Sweet Caroline". In my normal state of sobriety, nothing would persuade me to take the mike. But after half-a-dozen or so pints of cask ale throughout the day and evening, my inhibitions evaporated and I found myself thumbing through the catalogue of 2,000 or so numbers on offer. Rich, our master of ceremonies, passed me the mike and I opted for a rendition of "Close to You" as made famous by the Carpenters. I would describe my interpretation as an elegy to the much-missed Karen; Rich described it as a "mournful dirge" and Sandra said it sounded like a stalker's lament. Harsh, perhaps, but the atmosphere was definitely a touch flatter afterwards.
Once home, I found that my state of mild inebriation led to a burst of creativity and I felt inspired to tackle my "goal montage". I switched on my laptop and began trawling the internet for suitable images. The resulting montage includes: The Trollope Society limited edition of complete novels, bound in buckram; a pair of Steiner Discovery 8x44 binoculars (at £1,150, the best a birdwatcher can buy); a proper lawnmower that will deliver the stripes that Sandra yearns for; the complete set of Carpenters vinyl LPs; and a picture of Rocky the narcoleptic cat for good measure.
My creativity didn't end there, however. Earlier this week I had a review with Phil, my social media, coach who was full of praise for my huge strides in Twitter following my valedictory Guardian blog. However, since he said I needed to work on Facebook (which I confess to not "getting" at all, I'm afraid), I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to do something about it. So now, you can look at my Facebook profile and see my "goal montage" for yourself. Once I put it up, I sat back and waited for some of my handful of "friends" to comment (Phil says 7 friends is simply "paltry"). Or a new "friend", a coaching prospect, perhaps, for whom my goal montage had struck a chord. Sadly nothing.
Feeling, as I sometimes do, as if I was doing all this in a complete vacuum, I grabbed me son, Ollie - who resists all Facebook invitations to become a friend - and showed him what I'd done.
"You sad old man," he muttered before walking away.
Follow Geoffrey Wadhurst on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@gwadhurst