My tightly-wound coaching client had a problem that she was just now bringing up. Like many tightly-wound people, she has trouble making decisions at home, including decisions about organizing her house.
Personal Leadership Works At Home Too
She was doing well at reaching the work goals she’d set during our coaching; she firmly grasped the logic behind taking “baby steps” toward goals and was baby-stepping her way to success at work. Home disorganization was another matter; she’d never tackled it. She told me she had a walkway through her living room, stacked with papers and stuff on either side of the walkway. She decided to start with the kitchen…
The 8-Minute Life Saver
She knew my coaching suggestions for taking on big projects in small, sometimes very small, chunks (“baby steps“). The crucial ingredient I add to that technique is to work on the baby step for only eight minutes. For eight minutes, you may work on the task, or think about working on the task, or stare at the wall; it doesn’t matter. After eight minutes, you may walk away from the task. You can go on working past eight minutes if you wish, but you don’t have to. You’ll work on it again tomorrow for eight minutes. If you go on working on it today, you may do so only after asking yourself, out loud, “Shall I work on this a while longer?” and answering “Yes”. The easy “8-Minute Technique” really works.
Courage and Grit Can Come In 8 Minutes
She decided to work on just the junk drawer in the kitchen; she’d open it and work on it for eight minutes. She opened the drawer, looked down at it, and promptly threw up in it. That day she got to walk away before her eight minutes were up. (She cleaned up the mess later but wasn’t required to deal with the junk; she’d already done her assignment for the day, rather spectacularly.)
The next day she opened the drawer, looked down, and threw up in the drawer. She walked away and cleaned it up later.
The next day she opened the drawer. She emptied it. She completely organized it. She put away items that belonged elsewhere, and put the duplicates in the box in her hall closet marked “Donate”. (A baby step she’d done earlier.) I congratulated her. She moved on to organizing everything else, using the same steps.
Grit Means We Endure
The courage and resilience to do the task were already inside my dear client. They had to be; they didn’t just materialize in two days. But she had to activate her courage and resilience. She had to send them a message that it was time to show up. She did that by enduring.
We can only benefit from our own courage and resilience when we endure. My client endured; she returned to her frightening task three times, then watched her own courage change her life.
Courage and resilience are both marked by endurance and grit. Endurance and grit share a part of their definition: “the firm resolve to stand, and go on standing, in the face of aggravations and fears.”
Courage and resilience are inside you too. And not just about the kitchen junk drawer.
It doesn’t matter if your baby steps include throwing up. My baby steps used to include a minute of tears from the fears mounded up inside me.
But it didn’t matter. What matters are courage and resilience, endurance and grit. What matters are that my client and you show a “firm resolve to stand, and go on standing, in the face of aggravations and fears.”
You can do this. Just ask my client Sharon.
What do you think of the 8-Minute Technique? What kinds of Baby Steps have you used? Please comment. We can all use the help!