A client of mine – let’s call her Sally – came to a session recently looking rather tired and a bit glum. She’s in a situation where her husband’s job is probably going to change but they’re not sure how.
‘I’m exhausted,’ she sighed. ‘We’ve worked through every possible scenario, how to handle childcare, whether we’d need to get another car, what his new holiday entitlement might mean – you name it, we’ve discussed it. In the midst of all this planning, we seem to miss out on what we’re supposed to be doing on a day-to-day basis. I forgot to take our eldest to the dentist last week and we’re off on holiday on Saturday and I haven’t done a thing.’
‘Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today’
To paraphrase, Sally was missing out on what’s actually happening today for a tomorrow that she’s not sure about. As with so many things in life, her husband’s job might not be sorted tomorrow, or the day after, or even next week. Investing her energy and time in the future is depleting her of resources in the here and now.
I think we’ve probably all experienced something similar: how we deal with it depends on our personality and preferred way of working. During our session, Sally and I used the ‘circles of influence’ tool described in detail in ‘Like ripples on a pond’.
Establishing what she can control and what she can influence helped Sally prioritise what’s coming up for her and her family over the next few weeks and provides a visual reminder for her of where she needs to devote her time and energy. She has a copy on her fridge, in her notebook at work and on her phone so whenever she notices she’s drifting out of today and into the realms of the future, she uses her chart to pull herself back into focus. This doesn’t mean she’s ignoring the possible change in lifestyle; until she and her husband have more facts on which to base their plans, they’re focussing their resources on what’s actually happening right now.
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: if you’re planning for tomorrow at the expense of today, what step will you take this week to redress the balance?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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