Falling over my own feet

Pernille looking unusually serious - she's a very friendly chicken really!

The very fluffy Pernille looking unusually menacing – she’s a very friendly chicken really!

Pernille the chicken seems to have this uncanny ability to trip herself up. She’s a master (or mistress?) at treading on her own feet and then over-balancing. It doesn’t seem to bother her in the slightest – a quick shoulder wriggle to re-arrange any ruffled feathers and she’s off again.

From my own experience and talking to my clients, I think we can trip ourselves up too. Sometimes everything just seems hard – we’re not really sure why but we have a niggling feeling that life really should be easier than this. In our sessions, we’ve pinpointed some of the ways in which we hamper ourselves and some ways in which we can deal with them. Here are just three.

Stop ignoring your instincts

Most of us know ourselves pretty well. Most of us can think of at least one instance where we had to make a decision and whilst our gut instinct said ‘go’, our best friend or partner of manager or children said ‘stop’ and we listened to them rather than to ourselves. I’m not for one moment suggesting that we don’t seek counsel, take advice and talk things over: by all means, take the opportunity to get someone else’s perspective. As much as we should trust others, part of our personal development is to trust ourselves.

Next time this happens, try asking yourself ‘what advice would I give myself in this situation?’.

Stop taking things personally

We’ve all been there. You craft the perfect email, launch it out into the ether and eagerly await the response.

And you wait.

You check your ‘sent’ folder to make sure you did actually send it. And then you wait a bit longer.

Still no response.

‘She hates my idea’, ‘I’ve offended him’, ‘I knew I’d never get an interview’ – or whatever other panicky thought goes through your mind. Perhaps she’s off sick; he’s in an all day meeting; the server’s down. Maybe she doesn’t like your idea – but you won’t know that until she gets in touch with you. Worrying about it in the meantime is distracting you and sapping your energy.

Next time this happens, allow yourself five minutes to come up with three possible reasons that have nothing to do with you at all. Then let it be and move on to something else.

Stop telling yourself you’ll never change

‘I’ll never be any good at presentations, I always get so tongue-tied.’

‘I’ve tried giving up smoking a few times now, it never works. No point trying again.’

‘I hate losing my cool in meetings but I’ve always been hot-tempered. It’s just the way I am.’

Have you ever said anything like that? It’s not entirely true though, is it? At some stage in our lives, we’ve all changed, we’ve all broken bad habits, and we’ve all learnt something new. Be it big or small, we’ve all seen change in our own lives. Habits are not broken or acquired overnight; we can’t download new skills the way we download new software. Change takes time and effort.

The next time you find yourself saying ‘I’ll never change, it’s just the way I am’, stop and remind yourself how you have already changed.

The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu wrote ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.

Today’s pebble for you: what one step will you take this week to stop tripping yourself up?

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?

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