How many times have you tried to positively change your life?
How many times did that positive change stick?
Dan Millman wrote a book called Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives. Socrates, a character in the book reminds us to focus our attention on building the new, rather than renovating what got us to where we are. This is something I can relate to.
In the last three or so years, I descended into business start-up mode. I piled on chronic illness, huge life moments like building a home, surgery, and planning a wedding. The business plan evolved a few times and a move meant a 50 mins commute one way instead of walking to work. Things got busy.
“I got this, this is how adulting works, if I work harder it will pay off, I just need to get through this next hurdle x 10. I just need to fix things.”
Three years later, I wasn’t living authentically and I certainly wasn’t putting myself first. Stress had become a daily part of my life. I tried to eat healthy food like I used to, I tried to exercise, and I tried to be positive, but everything felt so difficult. I knew I needed some help.
It took 8 months of working with a coach to make the changes in my life that were needed. Now that I am out from under many of the pressures I faced I’ve realized a few things.
“The secret to positive change doesn’t lie in more discipline or perfection.”
Positive change starts with recognizing we can only do so much in a day. It’s crucial to plan realistically to achieve our goals and focus on the next things that need to happen to get closer to the goal.
How to lay a sturdy foundation for positive change:
Be Compassionate: First, recognize that YOU ARE NOT LAZY! You are amazing and do so much great work. You are smart and worthy of love. You worth is not defined by what you do, but by who you are. Who you are is highly influenced by how much joy you cultivate in your life, the deep personal work you do, and taking care of your body and mind.
Be Realistic: There is a limit to how much work one can do in a day and it’s about 6 hours of focused brain work. If you’re pushing beyond this and sacrificing your health and wellbeing, it’s not sustainable. Burnout is real. Find another way.
Slow down: We spend a lot of time telling ourselves how things need to be and driving hard. When we’re so focused on putting one foot in front of the other, we can walk ourselves right off the edge of a hazard or into a place we didn’t want to go.
Question your assumptions: Clarity requires time to think and space to breath. If you’re too busy, you’ll miss the opportunities to see the big picture and ask the big questions. Am I happy? Do I wish I was doing something else? Am a I really stuck or am I avoiding a decision I know I need to make?
Take the next step: In coaching, we are obsessed with asking “what is the next most important step to achieve the goal?” A step is a single task that can’t be broken into smaller pieces. “Get a job” is not a step. “Write a resume” is a step, but only if you know what kind of job you want. Maybe the step is actually, “pick three types of jobs that are intriguing and learn about the requirements to do them.”
P.S. Contemplating some changes in life? Something getting in your way? Wish you could bounce that idea off someone dedicated to listening? Interested in experiencing powerful coaching? Feel free to get in touch to chat about how coaching can transform your life.