“I’m just back from holiday and I feel overwhelmed” said my client. “I have a big goal and a long to-do list and I can’t seem to get motivated to make a start.” Does this sound familiar to you? I come across a version of this conversation daily with my coaching clients. It’s easy to get stuck or paralysed, not knowing what do do first. In this case, my client was also still very happy and relaxed from enjoying her holiday. She was still in transition mode. So we first enjoyed a bit of light banter, which in itself started to shift her energy and release the pressure she was putting on herself.
Yes, that’s what she was doing: putting the pressure on herself. Her mind was focussed on this big goal that she was starting out to achieve in the second part of the year. Fair enough, I suggested, post the big goal on your wall. Then forget about it. The more you focus only on the big goal, the more overwhelming it’s going to seem. Your mind will play trick with you and tell your how difficult it’s going to be. So let’s quieten that story with one simple alternative trick. And this, I realised, is one of the most common solutions we come to in any coaching conversation. I use it time and again with many clients.
The trick? It’s a simple moment by moment, day by day, question:
“What is one next step that I can take towards my goal?” Yes. That’s it. Focus your mind on ONE NEXT STEP and watch what happens.
Taking one next step, you’ll suddenly see that you can take action. Whether you go through your to-do list and ask what’s my next step with each item; whether you think of your customers and ask what next step you can take with each of them (or which next step you can coach them to take to move things forward); or whether you start or finish your day looking at your big goal and asking what next step you can take to move towards it–all those next steps create momentum and feed your motivation to keep going. My clients will usually find that focussing on ONE NEXT STEP results in them taking SEVERAL NEXT STEPS, once they get started on something. It really is a very simple, clear, uncomplicated action to take that nicely quietens the overwhelm in the brain and give you back the power to make things happen.
YOUR TURN: The leadership coach, Simon Sinek, says: “Dream Big, Start Small, but most of all START“. Where will you start today? What next step will you take? What small action will get you moving again? #dreambig #lead boldly