Sometimes when I read a book, see something on TV or get inspired by a conversation with a colleague, I can immediately see how beneficial a particular course of action would be for me. Almost instantaneously, my mind fills with reasons why I won’t be able to follow that course. It’s like that bit in a film when the hero grabs the heroine by the hand and they run to escape from the villain’s lair, only to see every door slam shut as they approach it.
Walt Disney said,
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
I want to make progress in both my career and my life: I am curious and love to follow new paths. Sometimes though it seems like there is so much informative insight and great advice out there that I don’t know what to do next. I know where I want to go – I just need to unlock all those slamming doors standing between me and my destination.
I’m pretty certain you might have felt this way too at some point. Let’s say you’ve come to the conclusion that working from home two days a month would make a huge difference to your progress on a current project. You take a look at your diary to work out when to schedule those days and instantly the doors start to slam shut.
What now? Well, here are some of the questions which my clients and I have used to unlock our doors.
Am I making excuses?
This seems to be the most common reason for those locked doors. Excuses can seem very rational at the time. ‘There’s never a good time for me to take two days out of the office’ or ‘All the stuff I need is in the office’.
Having a conversation with a trusted colleague or friend could help you see whether you’re just making excuses or there’s a real reason you can’t walk through that door.
What are the doors saying?
Talking doors? Well, Shirley Valentine talks to the wall. What are the doors saying to you? Why are they standing in your way? Do you need some new skills to be able to move forward? Do you need someone else’s perspective on why those doors are hindering your progress? Do they suggest that you should turn round and go in another direction?
Try another door
Assuming you’ve tried steps one and two and it seems like those two days at home just aren’t going to work for you, what next?
In my previous post, I talked about honouring the intention of your goal. If your goal here was to create an undisrupted environment in which to work but working from home doesn’t seem to be the answer, could you try booking a meeting space somewhere away from your desk?
It’s much harder to turn the wheels of a stationary car than it is to turn the wheels when the car is in motion. If you can’t find two days on which you could work from home, start with one. If it’s not going to work this month, how about next month? One step forward is better than no progress at all.
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: how can you unlock a door which stands in the way of your progress?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?