Friday, December 2, 2011

Small as the beginning of BIG. Impact, that is.

This is how wayfinding works: you begin practicing certain skills just to feel better, but this seems to benefit other things too, until quite unintentionally you end up working to mend things you thought were far beyond your small scope.
—Martha Beck, Finding Your Way In A Wild New World
As often happens, just when I'm thinking of something I'd like to share- some genius shows up in my mailbox saying it far better than I'd drafted!  If you  "get" and follow Martha Beck's advice,  you will see a huge impact in your life and the lives you touch.  "Begin to practice certain skills just to feel better."

Burn out, frustration and exhaustion are all in the air this month.  In coaching conversations, it starts out looking like something else- failure to complete things, procrastination, complaints of being stuck, even rebellion.  When we get near the bottom of the issue, it's often something like, "of course I'm feeling like this, I'm over-booked, not prioritizing, spending time with people that make me mad, and putting myself last all the time."

Extreme self-care is a remedy.  I wish I knew the name of the gentleman in my presentation in Seattle who pointed out that the acronym ESC was the name of the "escape" key on your keyboard.  Sometimes extreme self-care requires escape, to a place where you really are focused on your "self".  Other times, it requires your full presence and intention.  Boundaries are important.  Knowing when to say no.  Being intolerant, and, sometimes, impatient when people or things aren't in alignment with your values.

Sometimes coaches call it "raising your standards."  You start expecting more of yourself, of other people.  You stop "tolerating" less than the best of yourself and for yourself.  You meet deadlines.  Goals are achieved.  You work out, you pay attention and get enough sleep.  As you improve, and you expect more, you are raising your standards.   Just as Martha says, it starts small, but it grows.  The impact is huge over time.

I've already ordered her new book, by the way, and I'll share more from her, as always.  Meanwhile, today's a planning day.  What standard will you raise?  Spend an extra 20 minutes thinking about something you want to change, practice, improve.  Write yourself a post-it note; do something so that it stays top of mind.   Start feeling excited about the new possibilities of what you'll create in your future.  Feel sure that things will be different.

Then- have a lovely weekend, with extreme self-care for all!