In all of the coaching we do with our clients, then the trickiest bit for people to make changes is simply the very first step. Reasons that people state for not starting are:
- “...but what if it doesn’t work?”
- “.....but what if I don’t like it?”
- “.....I’m not sure I can.......”
If you’re not moving, then you are by definition static. And if you are not happy with your current situation , then remaining static will never in a million years result in the change you want. Unless by chance the planets re-shuffle themselves in your favour : possible, but very unlikely, and not a short term success strategy.
So if you want to change something, then:
- Remind yourself of why things will be better. If you aren’t sure, that may be why you haven’t done anything yet.
- Treat the first steps as an exciting experiment, rather than trying to implement the perfect solution first time
- Tell someone else and ask them to support you
Once you’ve started, then you can always pause and see how things are and what the next step is. You can even go back if you like!
So then, momentum is key. Someone once said “If in doubt, take a general step in the right direction”. Great advice – so no need to ever be stuck again.
As coaches we often find ourselves in discussion with clients about why people under perform, or behave in particular ways - and we find ourselves asking questions along the lines of
- How many people go to work in the morning with the intention of failing? and
- When did you last get up in the morning and think “I’m going to do my best to screw up today”?
I have sometimes noticed people rolling their eyes as we share our belief that few people deliberately go out of their way to get things wrong, mess things up, or irritate their colleagues. I can almost hear them thinking “aha – well you’ve not met x”
I’ve had to take some of my own medicine recently. Working on a charity event, I found myself on the receiving end of some behaviour that immediately had my hackles up as I planned my revenge. I was particularly outraged because the offending behaviour was documented in email form – which somehow seemed to make it even more tangible and impossible to ignore.
After wasting a reasonable amount of time discussing and complaining about the situation with a couple of my colleagues, I suddenly stopped and asked myself how helpful this response was either to me or to getting the job done. Of course the answer was “not at all”. I was wasting time, draining my own energy and increasing my levels of stress.
By this stage I was back in coaching mode and able to respond more rationally. The person in question had given up their own time to help – I really don’t believe that their intention was to upset or anger other people in the process. They were probably in a rush when they wrote the email etc.
So when you find yourself in a similar situation I would encourage you to do two things
1: Ask yourself what you think the other person’s intention is/was
2: And probably even more important – ask yourself whether your own response is helpful
And then decide if and how to respond.
So we’re 6 weeks or so into the new year – how are those resolutions going? For many they will have already fallen by the wayside, for others they will still seem a long way off.
Now is the time to dig in and set some milestones on the road to achieving your goal. Recognising and rewarding those milestones along the way can play a huge role in helping you achieve the final result which can sometimes seem so distant.
By celebrating milestones we shift focus from what we have not yet achieved to what we have. It’s like having your own spin doctor to boost your confidence and give you some much needed motivation.
Take a moment to remember why you wanted to achieve your goal in the first place, give yourself a pat on the back for how far you have come and then get your head down and get on with it!
Off for a run then……