Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Most coaches would agree there’s a special feeling we get when a client has his/her first “aha” moment. That moment could be a new realization about an existing behavior or an insight about something new that’s needed to enhance life.
With one of my clients, there was a palpable level of excitement with his newfound insight about the relationships with colleagues; his conviction was strong, and he committed to showing up differently with the people in his life – both at work and at home.
I shared a tool that increases self-awareness, asking him to track how many times he noticed the shift in his behavior. He was adamant that this new “discovery” was so important to him that he’d simply know; although he took the tool with him, he wasn’t convinced there was a need for formal tracking.
Two weeks later, he shared that he was still changing old habits … most of the time. He couldn’t describe what was different about the times he shifted to his new behaviors versus the times he backslid into old ones. He hadn’t forgotten about the tool – he said he was too busy to use it.
Another few weeks went by, and the new behaviors began to wane, as did his conviction to change. His efforts were hit and miss. His enthusiasm turned towards defeat. How could this have happened? By “winging” it whenever it felt right, he hadn’t created the neural networks that get stronger through repeated connection with purpose. It is true that practice makes perfect … or close to it.
His second “aha” was the game changer for him: that tracking when he practiced his new, desired behaviors would increase his awareness and strengthen his intention. Increased awareness opens the door to making a choice. Choices drive a purposeful action (even an inaction is a purposeful choice). Actions have impacts. And that was his goal – to have a different impact. To achieve the end result, he had to be purposeful about the beginning and the interim.
After two months of diligently using the awareness tool, his new behaviors became almost innate. The time to he invested to track yielded more positive results than he thought possible. While he is no longer uses the tool on a routine basis; if he feels like he’s backsliding, it’s his first go-to support structure for keeping his eye on the “prize” – his impact.
This Week’s Challenge: Where do you want a different result? Once you determine that, figure out what in your control needs to change. What can you do differently? How can you shift how you show up differently? Then start by simply tracking the number of times you make your desired change. Once you become more purposeful in making the desired change(s), keep a few notes about what you are noticing happens … with you, with others. And don’t forget to write down your own “ahas” – you may be amazed at what you learn.
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