If you have watched the video and survived my enthusiastic delivery, just skip down to “This Changed my Life?” section below.
And So I Did – The Exercise:
Everyone has something that they would love to change or bring into their life that seems possible, but slightly out of reach. Something they haven’t pulled off yet. I’m sure that someone wants to start arguing here about not wanting to change anything at all, and notice I didn’t say that everyone was pursuing something, but this whole striving for more business it part of what makes us human. Science says so.
Can you think of a thing? Try to think of one concrete thing that you really would love. It could be a formal career goal, but it could also be about a physical transformation, improving a relationship, or a financial goal. Whatever matters to you.
So imagine one year from now you have this. You have made the effort to get this, and pulled it off better than anybody ever. So much so that you are on stage being interviewed by someone you have always wanted to meet about how you pulled it off (also, you have zero stage fright if the is a thing for you). Really take a moment to imagine that you are in the head of that Future You on stage.
When you are asked how you really did it, you answer:
“In April 2019 I suddenly clearly understood I that I had to literally change what I was doing, and try something new in order to pull this off. I had no choice but to: ______________________.
And so I did.”
What did you do?
This Changed my Life
I want to deconstruct this and get into your head, but first I’m going to tell you what happened when I did this a few weeks ago because I’m still stunned.
Short version: Nadine and I have been discussing building out our Kickstart initiative, and asking ourselves how far we could take this if we want to go “all-in”. Nadine has a full time day-job that she really cares about, multiple children, a solidly booked social life, and all sorts of extra tangents that she is emotionally invested in. I also have a very full roster. Furthermore, we both have to manage our ADD brains. We were managing Kickstart by sending too many emails and texts, trying to consistently chat at least once a week, and trying to get together at least once a month. A lot of “trying” to stay connected. When I did this exercise I really went into the fantasy and I pictured us on a stage in San Francisco in two years being interviewed about our founders story. And I filled in the blank with “have video calls to connect on our vision and our progress every weekday morning at 6:45am”. And ever since that day, we have done so and it has been phenomenal.
Why am I stunned?
- We both think of ourselves as morning haters.
- If we had just had a conversation about what we “should” do, we would have dismissed this idea as ridiculous and impossible.
- With this exercise we knew that either we were going for it, with this being the only logistical option at the moment, or we were going to just keep on “trying” to connect more consistently.
- It has been relatively easy because we made such a committed decision to this habit that there is no option to even contemplate staying in bed.
- It’s actually a really great way to start the day it turns out. My brain gets turned on and set in the right direction before I have time to decide.
How Did You Fill in the Blank?
Okay back to you. What came up for you? I’ve been doing a modified version of this with my clients and I want to flag that two things are really important when doing this exercise. First, you have to really want the thing enough to make it worth changing your current life for. Second, you have to make the effort to really go there in your head and imagine that you have pulled this off, and answer from that place.
Some of you didn’t get a clear answer on how you would fill in the blank, and digging into this can be just as illuminating as the blank itself. I made a little flowchart:
It’s the “Yes, but” answers that can often help you figure out what you need to deep dive into if you want to move forward.
To bring my example above into this, at different times I would have used each of the “yes, but” excuses:
Excuse: I can’t: “I can’t do mornings because I’m bad at going to bed so I will be tired every day, which will make me useless”
Truth: If I really want to for a good reason I will learn to be reasonable about going to bed because it isn’t rocket science. Must be a bigger reason.
Excuse: I probably won’t follow through: “I do too many things at night so I’m not going to able to do it all the time. I’m not great at consistency for new habits”
Truth: I can handle a weird schedule when I need to, and in the past I have been able to start and follow through on all sorts of things that are a bigger deal than 6:45am, but only when I wanted something enough, and believed that the actions would lead there. Must be a bigger reason.
Excuse: “I tried that already and it didn’t work”
Truth: Unless the circumstance has changed or you have changed, the result will be the same, making this answer null and void because it has to be something new. But if you or the circumstances have changed, it means that you have not tried this. In this case, I changed because my commitment to the process was absolute.
One more note for the argumentative types who are saying “Just because you came up with an answer it doesn’t mean it’s the right answer, maybe it won’t work”. Well they are right, it might not work. But making a committed decision and taking action will help you uncover what doesn’t work, so that you can try something else sooner than you would if stuck in indecision or procrastination.
Let me know what came up for you and if you’re going to try something new!
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