A Coaching Power Tool created by Gavin Kirk
Personal Transformation Coach, SOUTH AFRICA
We live in a stressful, fast-paced, highly competitive world. We are faced with facts supporting seemingly contradictory conclusions. We have to choose what to focus our attention on or risk suffering from information overload. We enjoy the freedom of choice but become paralyzed with the choices we are faced with. The many demands placed on our time can sometimes be truly overwhelming. Not many people have the time to really look at their lives and evaluate what is supporting them and what isn’t. Many of us just do what’s always been done: do more and work harder.
We fill our days with activities that don’t lead to any satisfaction. We look back on our week and remember the hard work, the stress, and the feeling that we haven’t really achieved anything.
We use busy-ness as a balm to hide the underlying dissatisfaction we feel in our lives.
Why are we all so busy?
Busy-ness is the hallmark of modern Western culture. It is the unconscious and unchallenged attitude that you will have and be more by doing more.
This attitude goes unchallenged precisely because it is partially true. From a young age children are socialized to associate hard-work and commitment (doing) with satisfaction (being) and achievement (having). That seems reasonable. We see sports men and women breaking world records through hard work. We see business people achieve remarkable things due to their diligence and patience. We see Nobel Peace laureates actively making the world a better place. History is full of examples of these remarkable people apparently proving this belief. They seem to be more and have more because they do more.
What’s actually happening?
It appears as if there is a direct cause-effect relationship between what they are doing and what they have as a result. Their hard-word has paid off with tangible results: success in their area of expertise.
Perhaps our initial attitude should become: you will have more by doing more of the right things.
But, what are the ‘right things’?
For the world’s most successful individuals, their actions seem to be inextricably linked with who they are. Their doing flows from their being. They are doing the right things. Not only are these people doing things that lead them directly to what they want to have, but they are also doing things that are aligned with who they are and who they want to be or become. Put simply: They are being who they are and there is alignment between their values and their goals.
Once you are in touch with your core values, being who you are is automatic. Doing becomes effortless. And doing that is aligned with being naturally leads to having the things that bring real joy and happiness; real life satisfaction.
- What are your values? Meditate and journal with that thought in mind. Take your time with this exercise. Give yourself one week to really observe yourself and discover what is important to you. Try to uncover no more than 3 core values.
- How are you using your time? Keep a journal for one week and take note of what you are doing throughout the day.
- Calculate how much time you spend on certain activities each week. Are there any activities that are taking up more time than you would like? Are there any activities you could do less often? For example, grocery shopping twice a week instead of four times a week. Are their any activities you could eliminate?
- Go through your journal again and look for activities that don’t support your values. Consider eliminating them.
- How do you feel? Making changes like this will bring up many different feelings. Perhaps you are feeling anxious about giving something up, or there is a fear of letting go of some activity. Begin writing down your thoughts and feelings. What resources do you have that will help in overcoming these feelings?
- And finally, before moving on to Effective-ness, what would you like to fill your new free time up with? More time with your family? An exercise routine? A spiritual practice? With your 3 core values in mind, use this opportunity to dream big. Brainstorm in your journal and allow yourself to feel excited and motivated to begin making powerful changes in your life.
Moving Towards Effective-ness
Effective-ness is the attitude of being yourself while doing more of the right things to have more of what you would like in your life.
The journey to effective-ness begins with yourself. Self-awareness is the basis of effective-ness as it allows us to be aware, on a deep level, of our values and beliefs. It allows us to honestly acknowledge our strengths and compassionately own our weaknesses. Self-awareness leads to a greater understanding of our emotional reactions to events and our behavioral tendencies. Self-awareness puts us in a position to manage ourselves better.
From this position of increased self-awareness and with an increased ability to self-manage, we can more consciously choose goals that have value and meaning to us. With our goals and values aligned with our core being, the doing part comes naturally; effortlessly.
Having an attitude of effective-ness comes from knowing your own capabilities and choosing goals that are slightly challenging. Self-awareness allows being and doing to become one. You will no longer find yourself filling up your time with meaningless activities. Rather, you will use your time to live out your life effectively; with purpose and meaning.
- What is the biggest goal you would like to achieve in the next 3, 6, and 12 months? What would you like to have in 5 years? 10 years? Think about your 85th birthday. What have you achieved? Compare your answers with the 3 core values you’ve already discovered. What do you notice?
- Take each goal and check that it is aligned with your values and the core of your being. Do you resonate with that goal? If not, can you modify it to be in line with your values? Make your goals SMART by ensuring that they are: specific, measurable, achievable by you, realistic, and make sure you decide on when you would like to have achieved your goal by setting a time.
- Now, imagine you have achieved that goal. What does it feel like? Look back from that point in the future and take note of all the necessary steps that got you to where you are. When you have finished, write down each step in the process.
- Effective-ness comes from living in the NOW. It comes from having clear goals that have value to you. It comes from being mindful of how your actions impact your life. Effective-ness means that all activities that take up your time are beneficial in some way either by leading your closer to your goal, or by allowing you to learn something useful.
- Mindfully and compassionately ask yourself throughout the day: “Is this taking me towards, or away from my goal?”