If these past few weeks are a harbinger of the summer to follow, I will be traveling to Burney Falls an average of two to three times a month. Now don’t get me wrong, the falls are an absolutely spectacular phenomenon of nature. The deafening roar of the cascading waterfall and the intricate spiderweb designs created by water trickling through volcanic rock are truly awe inspiring.
However, as I walked down the long, winding slope oohing and ahhing with yet another group of friends visiting from out of town, something finally dawned on me. While certainly not bored with the spectacle, I focused on different perspectives related to the viewing experience. The waterfall no longer had my complete attention. Instead, the flora and fauna emerged as more than just a frame for the falls; their graceful splendor held a delicate yet undeniable allure.
As a coach, few things are more frustrating to me than suggesting. a recommendation and being met with an immediate response of, “Oh, I’ve done that before. Didn’t work – let’s move on.” It can feel like an “I challenge you . . .” moment to come up with something completely new, revolutionary and different. The difficulty here is that there are some unavoidable basics when you are entering change in any aspect of your life. Sure, there are lots of new and different activities related to exploration and discovery, but the core “same old” tried and true tactics often need to be deployed.
Let me share an example – I’m working with a client who is looking for a job in a completely new field. It was lots of fun exploring how she envisioned her dream life, what types of activities she enjoyed, understanding her skills and attributes, and really narrowing down her pursuits. This was all new, different, and exciting. Great!!
Then I started working with her to re-fashion all her personal marketing materials to create a complete rebranding. As we were discussing her options, beginning the process of narrowing down her focus, I shared that, based on her decisions, we’d then be developing a plan to put her next steps of work together. Her comment, “Oh I’ve done that before. Planning, it’s always the same, and something I just detest. Let’s move on. What do I need to do next?” Agreed, she was adamant that this was her least favorite part. As an aside, as a planner and organizer, I was a little taken aback. Who doesn’t like doing this? But as a coach I replied, “Recognizing your past aversion, how can you look at this next step differently in anticipation rather than with trepidation?”
What ensued was an unspooling of how her dislike of planning had come into being, as well as misinformation regarding the difference between planning, strategy, implementation, and course correction (Another article for the future!). Here’s what I would share with any of you who are approaching a task as “been there, done that, now let’s move on” – shift your perspective when approaching the task. Just like my visiting Burney Falls for the umpteenth time: focus on the other aspects of the total picture.
Some questions that can alter your vista:
- Why do I always approach the task this way?
- What could I do differently this time? What one (small) activity might make this more enjoyable?
- Who might I want to enlist for help or support that I haven’t before?
- What makes this challenging for me and why?
- What do I really enjoy, and how can I do more of that?
There are any number of activities in life that are repetitive. Instead of going through life in a rote manner, choose to shift your perspective. Focus on different aspects of the activity for improvement, enjoyment and new understandings. Recognize that small micro changes, even in just how you view something, may lead to bigger discoveries and exciting life changes.
ACTION: What repetitive activity can you work on to change up your perspective of it?
Kathy Hart’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife (ages 40 – 65) with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours!
Services that Kathy offers:
- 1:1 coaching to support the next journey into your midlife transition
- Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
- Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
- Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance