I had a great phone call with Sharon, a coaching client, about her passions and goals. She already had a game plan for getting out from under financial and relationship burdens. She had a very good idea of what she wanted. She’d done a lot of work, created a goal, and made a schedule.
Half the battle was done. As my friend, Jess Maghan, author of the book “40 Fathers: The Search for Father in Oneself,” would say, “A well-stated problem is half solved.” Since Sharon knew what had to be done in order to get out from under her burden, her burden became easier. She broke it down into bite-size pieces making it far easier to digest. Then, from her master list of goals, she selected the one to work on next: finish writing the book she’d started. She was weary from the weight of that burden and hadn’t yet wrapped her mind around tackling it.
Our dialogue went something like this:
Sharon: “I want to write every day for 2 hours.”
Joe: “What’s holding you back?”
Sharon: “It’s difficult to find that kind of time. I have people who demand a lot of attention.”
Joe: “Does it have to be 2 hours? What could you do differently?”
This was the point at which Sharon got stuck. She’d convinced herself that 2 hours was the best amount of time to write but she didn’t know how she came up with that number. Worse, she actually wasn’t writing at all. This is a common problem. We frequently get fixated on a certain approach or solution to a problem, which both overwhelms us and blinds us to other possibilities.
Joe: “Given the constraints on your time you might think about writing for a shorter amount of time and ensuring that you do it every day.”
The flood gates opened and Sharon suddenly had a lightness about her. She smiled, having eased her burden. The thing is she simply hadn’t given herself permission to accept an alternate approach. She determined for herself that she could write for 45 minutes a day, every day.
Of course, it’s nice that she’s going to write for 45 minutes every day, but that’s not enough. She was now also going to be accountable to someone, namely me. At the end of the week, she will be sending me everything she writes. It’s a first step in the “write” direction.
Sometimes it simply takes assistance from someone else for us to give ourselves permission to get off our own backs, to ease our own burdens, to look for that alternate solution. Then, putting an accountability mechanism in place, we increase the likelihood of success.
What’s holding you back? Are you afraid to give yourself permission? Do you have an accountability mechanism in your life?