Getting Ahead (and Out of Your Own Way)
Grains of sand can start an avalanche.
~ Marianne Baillieu
Feel stuck? Overwhelmed? Read on.
One of the most surprising things I’ve discovered as a coach is the power of doing LESS. A little goes a long way. Nothing will build your confidence and momentum like setting small, achievable goals that you will actually accomplish! Let the phrase “under-promise and over-deliver” be your guide. In other words, commit to less for the sake of accomplishing more.
It’s been said that we underestimate what we can accomplish in the long term to the same degree that we overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term. What does that mean? The biggest mistake I see people make: they overload their plate. They try to do EVERYTHING. They can’t say no. After a while they are drowning in activity and getting frustrated, disappointed, and burnt out. (Has this ever happened to you?)
This is a trap. A set-up for failure. Set yourself up for success. Scale down your demands on yourself. Here are some tips:
Tip #1: Instead of tackling the whole problem at one time, take on a piece of it. Here are some examples: if your bigger goal is getting a new job, commit to getting one interview this week. Only one. Anything beyond that is extra credit. Or if you want to organize your office, perhaps you could commit to tidying your desktop (or in some cases, just a section of your desktop would be a good start). Again, anything beyond is extra credit. Soon you’ll discover that each success has a cumulative affect. You will feel better, more confident. Things will start to happen around you. You’ll experience synchronicity. You’ll make more progress faster.
Tip #2: Play by the 80/20 Rule. 80% of your activities yield you 20% of your results. These are your low-impact activities. 20% of what you do yield you 80% of your results—more money, more business, more health, more enjoyment. These are your high-impact activities. Focus on your high impact activities. Don’t fight the flow. Where do you get your best results? Where is your natural talent? Put these things first! You don’t have to do the other stuff. You will become more efficient and free up your energy and time. Then you can choose to add other activities… for extra credit.
Tip #3: Ready, Fire, Aim! Banish perfectionism. Nothing will stop you faster than trying to get it “right” the first time. Learn by doing. Shoot your arrow, see how close you came to the mark, make adjustments, and shoot again. Even your “mistakes” can yield miracles. Experience will give you better information than any book, class, or advice.
As Nike says, Just Do It!
What makes these tips work? You’re keeping your focus on the long term. You don’t run a marathon like you run a sprint. Look at the big picture. Set your priorities. Stay in the game.
This is the foundation of your job in your partnership with the universe. As you learn to be more efficient and effortless in your job, you create more room for the universe to contribute to you.
This is where to start your journey: get out of your way and into the flow!
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Thanks for a great post, Morgana. I am an “expert” on overloading my plate, or at least, it’s a tendency I cycle in and out of. Recently (predictably) I came down sick and the crud “assisted” me in slashing my calendar and rebuilding it more reasonably. (I love how even the crud can serve us!)
While I was sick I finished Lynne Twist’s the Soul of Money and actually had a rather profound time meditating on “too busy” and the sufficiency of time. (blog post at thegardenofplenty.com) We all get 24 hours, so if we feel we aren’t accomplishing enough, we’re trying too hard. I appreciate your advice to “scale down our demands on ourselves.”