I was talking to my client, Judy, the other day who is just that. She’s built and run a successful business for over a decade. Yet she was calling me, as her mentor, to say, “I’ve been chewing and chewing on this idea for weeks now. I was wondering if you thought this approach to my marketing might work?”
I laughed and then shared with her that I’ve spent my own few weeks wandering in circles and ‘wondering.’ This past year I’ve faced a list of things that I had planned, and each took 2 extra months to be completed as I spent time ‘wondering’ rather than taking action. For instance, I’ve had copy still to write for a product I told myself I’d have finished and out the door months ago. And I have less than 10% left to complete, for Pete’s sake! And there it was again on a MasterMind call this week – Karen, a world recognized expert, was on the line, wondering for the 4th month whether she should fire another less than competent assistant.
There’s nothing quite like seeing and hearing patterns to trigger my designing a system for handling it!
Each time I was behind on my deadlines it was because I ran into a wall of resistance about moving forward, And the issue was never whether or not I actually wanted to complete the actions needed.
When I looked back at my recent stall outs, and saw the pattern, I looked back over the last 5 years. Then the 5 years before that and so on. It helped me see that there are 3 questions that I use regularly to identify what has me stalled – and release the brakes.
When I shared them with Judy, she realized she didn’t need my opinion about her idea, she already knew her answer. The questions helped her release the ‘pause’ button she had her finger on and step forward.
They work for me, they worked for Judy and Karen, and they’ll work for you:
“What skill are you confronting?” Very often when we’re growing our business, we can see the result we want to achieve. Then the actions needed to get there are clear, and yet aren’t taken. Karen’s business is growing right on plan and she needs to have very skilled assistants to hand work over to. It’s not merely that she needs to stop doing the work herself. She needs to build her skill in supervising and managing others getting the work done.
Until we name the skill we need, we often make no progress. And presto – once we have a label for the skill needed, we’re unstuck! We at last can identify what it will take to become more skilled. It might be reading a book or article that lays out the steps. Or it could be one conversation with a coach followed by practicing the new actions.
“What habit are you confronting?” Judy flounders because she double and triple checks, looking for perfection before taking action. She over analyzes and realizes weeks or months later that she’s at the exact place she started – certain it’s a good idea. Her habit is in churning because she doesn’t set up decision-making criteria.
When we specify the key criteria we need for making a particular decision, we give ourselves our own framework for being certain. Without it, any new piece of information or any other opinion by another person can sway us and keep up spinning instead of moving forward.
“What Identity are you confronting?” I realized that I was tying copy writing to ‘being a huckster.’ Karen saw she felt firing someone would make her a ‘nasty’ business person. For each of us our shift came by changing our frame of reference from inside to outside. From who we believed we had to be, to examples of people who were a different successful model. We each thought of someone we know that has dealt with our challenge, but with a style we like.
We each could describe how we believe they approached the challenge and did it well. And in describing their steps we saw we could in fact take the some one for ourselves, and like who we were being and becoming.
Karen is nicely giving her assistant notice. Judy is setting criteria. I’m blocking out 4-hour time slots to complete my copy.
Now who would you like to step into being?
Copyright (c) 2009 Linda Feinholz
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