A Coaching Power Tool created by Misti Patrella
(Self Awareness Coach, UNITED STATES)
The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity. Douglas Horton
Argh! When something feels complex, or hard, it can keep you blocked. But miraculously, once you get through the block, things tend to run with ease. Even the writing of this power tool began with a block due to complexity. Now, with the assistance of a little perspective shift from a colleague, the words are a’ flowing.
There are even times, with great excitement, that I’ve launched toward a project, thinking it would be easy. A week later, the crown molding was still only 1/3 hung and the whole downstairs was a mess. We didn’t realize how hard it actually was to install such a massive project or all of the things we had to consider. The commercial on TV made it look so easy!
So, there ends up being a lot going on with these two ideas. Let’s discuss each separately, and then how to bring them together to bring life into the flow.
Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. Alan Perlis
Complexity is a part of life. Many-sided situations, difficult projects, things that just outright feel hard. Even some relationships seem complex to manage.
We all deal with it in different ways. Many people love a good, juicy, complex situation to pick apart. Others avoid it like the plague. Although it is always present, how we choose to deal with complexity is the most important factor. For those who struggle with seeing a lot of complexity, the right perspective can shift a difficult situation into a much easier one. Thus removing or diminishing the complexity, making it feel easier. We’ll get to that in a sec.
Seek simplicity, and distrust it. Alfred North Whitehead
Simplicity, for many people is something we strive for. Making things easier, simplifying life, take it easy. Easy isn’t always simple!
Sometimes we look at situations, as I clearly did in my crown molding installation experiment, as easy when there is actually a lot more complexity. Over simplifying can also get you into trouble, causing potential delays, problems and additional costs.
Through general life experience, frustrations and delays can be avoided. However, all situations, projects & relationships can be reviewed at the onset to determine where the complexities might lie. This allows us forsee many potential problems, and trust the actual simplicity a bit more.
Bring a complex situation to mind – one that’s got you blocked. One that seems big and scary. Maybe even got you sweating a bit? Yep, that’s the one.
Inches Not Yards (adding simplicity to complexity)
- First, assume that when approaching a big goal, project or situation its always a matter of inches not yards. What is one thing you can do to get yourself started? One tiny, little thing? Little enough to feel easy.
- And if you got that done, what would you do next? Keep this small too.
- Does the completion (or thought of completion) of these two “small” things feel good? Is it enough to get you to think of another small thing?
Adding up the inches gets you yards over time, and a stronger sense of pride and completion. Confidence is usually very important when breaking down a meaty situation or goal.
Now, take a look at upcoming project or goal that you think will be fairly simple.
Strategy Sesh (adding complexity to simplicity)
Many people, who fail to plan, do so because they don’t like the idea of it, not because they don’t know how. Hey, I don’t like it either. But as a result, I found another way.
- What is your ideal outcome?
- Where do you feel you are now?
- Are you doing all of the things you can/want/need to do to get you closer to your ideal outcome? Anything else? Got it all on the list? Anything else you can think of?
Come up with big buckets of things to consider around this goal. Focusing on buckets of ideas can be less intimidating than planning and details. If you would like to delve deeper into planning a certain bucket of considerations, by all means.
These ideas clearly apply to our coaching practice as well. In almost every session I help my clients see for themselves the simple in their difficulty, and the complexity in their ease. As always, it’s all in the line of questions we use. Try these out.
- How can you use Inches Not Yards for your client? We’re also talking about creating action. Small action, but action none-the-less. What are other ways you can assist your client in taking small, confidence-building steps?
- How can you use a Strategy Sesh with your client and their big goal?
- When using strategy sesh – ask your clients the questions. When they respond, repeat back their list out loud. And then ask if there is anything else. If they add, mirror back the list with the adds until there is a final list that has been said out loud.
- Can you help your client take more, or all of the goal elements into consideration without making it seem scary?
- Hint: Go back to Inches Not Yards.