Recently I had a session with a coaching client who is very tech-savvy and often uses technical imagery in her conversation. She – let’s call her Laura – used a phrase which really caught my attention –
‘The project’s got out of hand and I just want to hit the button and restore factory settings!’
I was intrigued by that image and ask her to tell me more.
‘I just want to go back to how things used to be. It was so much easier. It’s like my I’ve overloaded my hard drive and everything’s running so slowly.’ More tech imagery.
I grabbed a big sheet of paper and drew an image of a desktop on it – complete with clock in one corner, a bin in another, a task bar at the bottom and a few folders: rather a low-tech solution for my high-tech client but I was improvising!
‘Okay, Laura, show me what your mental desktop looks like now,’ I asked, giving her a selection of pens and some sticky notes. She scribbled away for several minutes until the desktop drawing was almost obliterated. Whilst she was working, I drew another desktop.
‘Let’s imagine we’ve cleaned it all up, restored factory settings and we can start again. However, you still need to work on the project so how can you avoid re-creating the overload you’re currently feeling? You can see every element of it laid out on your imaginary desktop so let’s stretch this metaphor a bit further. What do you want to keep to hand? What do you want to bin? What needs to go in a folder? What do you want to share for collaboration with other team members?’
Task by task, issue by issue, team member by team member, Laura moved round the sticky notes until she was happy that she’d achieved a clearer sense of priorities and restored order. She transferred this to an action plan which she then shared with her colleagues. Early indications are that her ‘factory reset’ has is restoring calm and energy to the team.
Today’s pebble for you to consider: is there a situation at work or at home where it would help you to ‘restore factory settings’ and have a re-think? What are your next steps?
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?