A Coaching Power Tool Created by Michele Longobardi
(Executive Coach, ITALY)
Non quel che comincia ma quel che persevera (Leonardo Da Vinci)
I find that this phrase by Leonardo – also reproduced on a wooden plaque that can be found on the Amerigo Vespucci training ship – can well represent the power tool I have developed.
In particular, I have grasped the ability to develop a “persevering” attitude as an enriching element that can lead to the personal growth of entrepreneurs.
I met several entrepreneurs who get excited about the “new” itself and the possibility of starting a new project or a new business. You can see their eyes twinkle when a new business idea comes up, they get ecstatic and rush to make it happen to kids if they had the chance to play with toys in a toy shop for free! Often it is precisely this aspect that makes them “entrepreneurs”: an immoderate faith in the future and in what has not yet happened but which can be started … as soon as possible!
The passion burns out very soon and may give space to a new one or go out if it is not supported by a more mature attitude to persevere and be persistent in projects. The risk is to be stoked on the starting!
For an entrepreneur, being focused on starting new things can have several advantages and implicit reinforces:
- novelty makes us feel alive, it implies renewal and sometimes a rebirth
- doing new things is motivating and generates energy, desire to do
- it increases self-esteem because being a person who is active and takes initiative on new things gives me a positive (intelligent, creative, innovative…) idea of myself.
Experiencing starting as the only way to proceed does not always bring positive aspects: what happens when we are stuck in starting instead?
- we risk starting many projects without losing any
- we feel frustrated and unproductive
- we are confronted with short-term, sometimes very short-term goals
- we struggle to capitalize on the results
- we can experience feelings of escape that lead us to start over
- we could fall into the “sensation seeker” loop (1)
Persevering means knowing how to stay on course once you have defined your goals: not necessarily being able to be constant, that is always committed with the same vigor, because it is not possible to keep always the same levels of performance, but persistent in:
- the choice and the definition of the goal during the journey
- the direction, being able to keep the focus also when you find some new and shining projects along the road
- the effort, being able to express to the fullest the energy we have in a specific moment – without sparing oneself
- knowing how to motivate oneself when external circumstances place obstacles or hindrances on us.
When clients focus only on starting a new project they get stuck into a loop that may discourage them from continuing their journey as entrepreneurs. They can feel there is a need for a change but may not catch the point of the matter.
Asking questions like those below could help them to change perspective:
- What is your starting project?
- What led you to choose it?
- What does it say about you?
- What do you want the result to be once the project is finished?
- What do you have to sacrifice to make it happen?
- What led you to exclude other projects?
- What can help you to stay focused?
- What is important to you now?
- Looking ten years from now what your business will look like?
- How can you renew your old project?
- How can you turn obstacles into challenges?
- What can you do to find your energy?
- How can you be sure to give your best in all circumstances?
- What can you do to keep high your motivation?
- Where can you keep finding inspiration?
- How new projects may help to progress the old ones?
- How will you feel once your project will be completed?
Like many power tools, the starting-persevering power tool is a mirror reflecting the client’s choices and identity, pointing the attention to different apparently conflicting perspectives. This one aims to feed personal awareness, challenging common beliefs, and integrating two different kinds of energies.
I think it may help clients to keep the focus on their projects – both the new and current ones – foster a wider perspective and encourage them to keep seeing their inspiration.
References and inspirational readings:
Marvin Zuckerman (2006), Sensation Seeking And Risky Behavior, American Psychology Association
Entrepreneurship psychology: a review. Adesuwa Omorede & Sara Thorgren & Joakim Wincent. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal volume 11, pages743–768 (2015)