The Domino Effect: Change Your Life in the Time it Takes to Read this Post
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote out to my email list about overwhelm and why it has nothing at all to do with the size of our to-do list.
The post touched one of my readers so strongly that she wrote to me,
Cathy, I've been in perpetual overwhelm for as long as I can remember and now it's completely disappeared. I can hardly believe it! It isn't often that something impacts me in a jaw-dropping way like this. Thank you!
I'm happy, of course, to have had a positive impact on her—especially because time pressure is something that entangles so many people I know—especially high-achievers.
What I love most, though, is that she saw the immediate and permanent nature of how change works. What she's seen isn't a solution for overwhelm, it's the key to unlocking everything she could ever want in her life.
Change Happens in an Instant
When we see something—really see it—our lives are 180 degrees different.
When something makes complete sense, looks astonishingly obvious, and yet, is so different to what we've seen up to now, then, then we've had what I call an insight.
An insight happens in a flash, and it creates a change that can look, and feel, like a miracle.
Stop Looking for Tactics
We're tempted, when we have a challenge, or something we aspire to, to look for more things to do. We want to learn new strategies; we go to google, or to books and courses to gather information, case studies, solutions.
The trickiest challenges though—the ones that give us the sleepless nights and the stomach-knotting anxiety, don't respond to information. They are not problems of reality, they are problems of perspective. Therefore, looking for tactics, habits, and new ways of 'doing' won't solve them.
When we have a problem of perspective, we don't need to add in more things to do, we need to do less. We need to create the space to see our challenge differently, to go back to the basic principles of how we are creating what we think is the problem.
Because, chances are, the problem isn't what you think it is.
It happened with a client this week.
She wanted to approach her week differently, to make space for strategic thinking rather than dive into the mundane each day when she got to the office.
She wanted a 'framework' and some 'rules' that she could commit to, because she believed that the framework would create a new (more strategic) way of working and that being more strategic in her work would create different results, thus calming the tension she was feeling.
The wiser ones amongst us, however, know that that's equivalent to moving a pile of paper from the desk to the floor: we haven't solved the problem, we've simply moved it.
Just as my subscriber didn't need productivity tips to get over her feeling of overwhelm, my client didn't need a time management framework to help her focus on the strategic work.
She had it backwards, as many of us do.
Tactics are Like Deckchairs
That phrase ‘moving deckchairs on the Titanic’, refers to the pointlessness of activities that have no impact on the real problem. Yet still, sometimes, we engage in those activities.
Much of life is like this.
Certainly for my client, searching for time management habits was about as useful to her problem as stacking deckchairs on a sinking ship. She might have a neat pile of deckchairs but the ship was only going in one direction.
As we talked more about why she wanted to create that strategic approach to her work, what she was really seeking, and why, she had an insight about the direction of her work. And, from that, she immediately knew how to allocate her mornings.
As soon as she understood what she was looking for, the action presented itself as if by magic. Action follows understanding. Always.
Sure, sometimes it's helpful to create a framework to shift habitual ways of doing things, but in support of a direction, not because we think it will create one.
Just as turning the volume up and down on a radio makes zero difference to the channel it's tuned into, tactics and transformation live on two separate dials. If we want to change something in our lives, we need to see it first; the 'radio' equivalent of tuning in to the channel we want to listen to. Then it makes sense to adjust the volume.
If overwhelm is your 'thing' then this post on my blog might help you see something new. If your challenge is related to something else, then read the post through the lens of that problem, because the solution will come from the insight you have, not the tactics you apply.
Have a wonderful week,
P.S. If you're curious about how coaching can help you tune the right dial on the radio, then please contact me and enquire about what options are available right now.