Putting Things in Perspective…A Positive One
March 31, 2022 | Mark Altman & Megan Fine
A few days ago, my client, Laura, showed up to our coaching session with a chagrined look on her face.
“I’m doing okay,” she told me, “But I didn’t do everything we talked about.”
“Okay. No problem,” I told her. “Let’s talk about it.”
And lo and behold, we walked through each one of her action steps, and I kid you not, she had completed every one.
“Laura! You did everything we talked about. What am I missing?” I asked.
“I didn’t work out this week. That’s one of my goals, and I didn’t make any progress,” she replied.
Here’s the thing – Laura and I have a long list of goals we’re working on together. Her exercise routine is on the list but was not something we were focused on that week. Our intention was to build a few other habits and routines first, before adding in time at the gym.
Raise your hand if you’ve been Laura – you’re knocking it out of the park, but all you can see is the thing you didn’t do or the (perceived) mistake you made.
Human beings are problem-solvers by nature; we are designed to look for things that aren’t going well, so we can fix them, instead of recognizing and celebrating what is working.
So often, we focus on outcomes – did I achieve the thing I wanted to achieve? – and overlook the progress we’re making even when things don’t go the way we’d like. For this reason, whether you’re trying something new, gearing yourself up for a difficult conversation, or trying to be more patient with your partner or kid, recognizing what you are doing right is critical.
If you’re worried that this approach might lend itself to complacency or a missed opportunity to change your behavior for a better outcome next time, no problem. Instead of criticizing and judging yourself, simply reflect:
- What went well?
- What can I control to create a different outcome?
- What would be an incremental improvement?
Start noticing how many things are going right – and explore the exciting possibilities of how they can get even better.
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