One small step
It's a familiar phrase, isn't it? 'Every journey of 1000 miles starts with one small step.' 'One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.'
To make a start on transforming ourselves and shaking off the habits of a lifetime, we have to think about the long term goal of how and where we want to be before we can move in the right direction.
So often we are trying to move away from something - a job we are tired of, a habit we are trying to break - and we don't really know what it is we want to move towards. Our first steps are not always in the right direction and don't help us achieve our goal. And we give up. We make excuses about ourselves and feel doomed to failure. The Fates are against us. Our assumptions are made without reference to facts, and become set in stone. 'That will never work!', we say to ourselves. 'I just don't have the time!'
But our fate is in our hands. We are the architects of the changes we want to make. Our behavioural stumbling blocks need to be converted to stepping stones.
My transition into coaching started when I was lucky enough to enjoy some coaching myself as part of a leadership programme at work. I knew that I worked hard and was a valued member of the team yet, somehow, wasn't getting anywhere in my career. Intent on being a magnificent team player, I was working so hard that I wasn't paying enough attention to important things like my career and where I wanted to be. Driven by the agendas of others, each piece of work took me further away from job satisfaction and a feeling of achievement. The years were slipping by and, to be honest, I was feeling anxious.
Coaching provided me with the time and space to think - about me. My coach listened carefully to what I had to say, and shared her observations; some good, some home truths. I gave myself permission to invest in thinking about what I wanted to do, where my strengths are, and (that dreaded question) where I saw myself in five years time. It was exciting, but seemed a little abstract at first, and I wondered how I would recognise success. What should I do to start moving towards my goal?
The habitual stumbling-block excuses were already starting to invade my consciousness. I was worried about how I was going to get from A to B. The answer, of course, is simple. 'One step at a time.'
My coach had noticed that I peppered my conversation with aspirational comments like '... hoping to ...' and '... trying to ...'. She suggested that my first step could be to stop myself saying those things and be more intentional, be the architect of the outcome I am working towards rather than a victim of circumstance. The aspiration remains, but the doubt about the outcome is removed, just by changing the language. This felt manageable.
Having a vision is one thing. Imagining what it feels like to have arrived is another. Making sure that you focus on those few things that will take you there - and not being distracted by the agendas of others - is the key. One small step will take you there. Just make sure it is in the right direction.
With a very strange year coming to an end, and a bright, shiny, new one on the horizon, take some time to think about your aspirations and how you can achieve them. I would love to listen to your story and help you define your vision, refine your plan and shine! Let's talk.
Tel: +44 (0)7391 668526