I’m a planner. I like the act of planning and like living with plans. I get a big kick out of writing and reviewing my yearly business plan. My husband and I have spent many long car rides planning the big stuff (when we’d buy our first home, start a family, move to a different part of the country) and the smaller things (such as our next vacation).
It was only when I started coaching that it dawned on me that not everyone does this In fact, some people get downright antsy when the idea comes up in our conversations. They say they feel penned in, too constricted and it even stifles their creativity.
But what happens when your most natural style gets in your way?
That’s where the coaching conversation, asking questions and exploring new ways, can be a sea change. I was talking with a client who, since her most recent promotion, felt completely overwhelmed by her job. She told me that she felt ‘lost at sea’ (yes, she likes to sail). The last time she’d felt this way was when she first became ill with Chronic Fatigue Disease Syndrome over 15 years ago.
Her response to decision making has typically been to focus on what seems most important at that moment and the rest would fall into place. But this wasn’t working now. Her mood was stuck in low gear, her concentration was suffering and she worried about her health. She was desperate to regain her sense of balance at work.
I asked her if she felt ready for a game changer and she agreed. We decided that her homework would be to create a ‘work/life’ plan for the next 6 months that would help her get her sea legs back.
On our next call, she reported she hadn’t done the homework, which was unusual for her. As we talked, I realized that she didn’t see a good reason for doing this exercise. She needed a motivator to push her to work on this activity that took her out of her comfort zone.
So together we identified her goals, the purpose, her desired outcomes, and the tactics.
This is what she came up with:
- Goal(the What):To do the best possible job I can and handle the pressure with grace.
- Purpose (the Why): To feel better about myself at my job.
- Desired Outcome (the Motivator): I will feel pride in myself and my work again.
- Tactics (the How):
- Write a list of my weekly deliverables at the beginning of each week.
- Give this to my supervisor and team with questions, concerns, etc.
- Make sure I have at least one social engagement with a friend on a week night.
- Exercise every morning, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
- Plan weekly meals on weekend prior.
- Calendar my snack, meal and rest time so I do it.
There were many more items in the tactics but you get the idea. The key that helped her get past her resistance to doing this plan was to identify the MOTIVATOR.
Next time you notice that you’ve lost your rudder, try creating a plan of action and start with the what, the why and the motivator statements. See how that goes, ok?