A Coaching Power Tool Created by Paula Sgarbossa
(Business Coach, AUSTRALIA)
If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. Barack Obama
Steadfast, immovable, motionless, locked in, inactive, rigid, unchanging, stagnant… these are all the words that come to mind when I think of being stuck in your current situation. It’s often only when you get in motion, start progressing towards a goal that you often realise just how Stuck you really were.
A brilliant coach I know of recently asked – “When you last made a big change in your life, what did you do, or were you doing differently that sparked the change and kept you making progress?” This is a question that really gets you thinking back to that past experience, it shows you the tools that were used and gives confidence that a similar result of making progress can be achieved. It makes the unknown journey ahead more familiar, which is more likely to spark action!
Motion, movement, momentum, journey, promotion, development, growth, improvement…
Often people don’t make a change because they perceive the change as too big or that they have to give something up that they are currently enjoying or benefiting from. Change is often perceived to be negative and so many of us fear it. A more positive result can be achieved by re-framing change into making progress towards a goal. By focusing more on progress, or getting in motion, it emphasizes taking steps forwards towards a goal rather than making one big painful leap forward or a big change.
The process of making progress in your life is like a journey that you embark on. You can prepare for it, plan it and schedule it. This allows for you to have the right perspective from the outset and mentally prepare to start making changes towards your goal. You can set up a support system to help you along the way. It is important to set smaller goals, that over time add up to big results. Clients will find that because they were doing them in smaller steps the process seemed less challenging and more achievable.
This also takes away the need to be perfect in your actions or results. It allows for you to sometimes get off schedule or just miss your intended goal, just so long as you are still in motion. This is a softer concept for clients.
Sarah is a new mother to a 13 month old toddler. The last year has been very challenging for her with a baby that was waking every night 2 – 10 times per night. Often Sarah would struggle to get back to sleep between each waking which meant each morning when her little boy woke at 6am she may have only got 5 hours of very broken sleep. She was exhausted, angry and depressed. She had put on weight, was eating lots of sugar and processed carbohydrates in the hope for more energy.
She spoke to me about feeling her life was on hold and she was stuck in a big hole with no way of fixing the situation. Sarah was “at the mercy of my tiny dictator.”
After looking at her goals, Sarah wanted to feel she was making progress towards her health and her mindset. Looking back at her previous fitness goals, she realised they were unrealistic with a young baby and would place too much strain on her. She was struggling with some niggling injuries made worse with lifting up a 10kg toddler 40 times a day.
Together we worked on setting smaller goals, firstly for her to join a gym, and working out a weekly timetable of when she could go. The expectation is simply to show up, do what she enjoys and feels up to doing that day. Whatever she does while at the gym that day is good enough. Accepting that this wouldn’t be the case for ever made Sarah feel good about any progress she made. This took the pressure off to workout hard like most of the other people working out who were getting more sleep.
Next was eating healthier. She didn’t feel she had the discipline with her eating yet but then her husband started an 8 week challenge and totally changed how he was eating. This inspired Sarah and with her husband now taking more charge of the night meals she could sit back and let him take control. Sarah totally changed her diet to line up with her husbands. She cut out sugary treats and bread and pasta. Within 2 days she felt as if she had much more energy and lost 1kg. This inspired her further. Having the support and example of her husband was just what she needed. She had begun to make progress towards her goals taking it one day at a time. Sometimes the progress was slower and she cheated on her diet. But she wasn’t hard on herself because she now knew it was all part of the process and this was a long term journey to health not about missing out.
Shortly after her baby began sleeping a little better and Sarah found she also began sleeping better, possibly due to eating and exercising more? She began to feel more positive in her mood, and was starting to enjoy life more.
By making progress towards smaller more manageable goals and not being too hard on herself in the process she felt she was already winning.
Sarah also wanted help getting her mindset on track to become more positive and enjoy her life more.
We discussed the following:
- What would you like your attitude to be?
- What is stopping you from enjoying the parts of your day?
- If you could step out of this situation and look down on it, what would you say to Sarah?
- What does your ideal week look like? What is currently missing? What can you easily change?
- What is the benefit of you feeling stuck right now?
- What actions could you take to improve your enjoyment each day?
- What actions can you take to help you feel unstuck?
These questions helped Sarah to view her circumstances from a different perspective and to help her to see other ways to make progress towards her ideal week.
Helping clients to feel unstuck and that they are making progress towards goals helps clients to feel they are in control of their situation. It takes away those feelings of helplessness and gives them actions to work towards. It encourages constantly working towards goals rather than striving for perfection.