One thing leads to another: how to build success

I love a list. Lists keep me on track, they stop me forgetting important stuff, they help me notice the progress I’m making. Every now and then though, a list can be just a little daunting. Check this one out:

  • Learn business French
  • Go to gym 3 times a week
  • Help coach Jack’s hockey team
  • Cook more often to give Sarah a break
  • Get promoted
  • Get more sleep
  • Spend more time with Jack and Harry

That’s quite a list, isn’t it? It belonged to a client of mine who we’ll call Ollie. Ollie was ready for change and had a clear idea of what he wants to achieve this year so he brought along this list to his session in December 2015. Ollie was all fired up when he first arrived but as he went through the list with me and what he was going to do to meet each goal, it became clear that this list was rather ambitious and not all solely within his control (eg, promotion).

As a coach, it’s my experience that there can sometimes be one thing which gets in the way of other changes – a stumbling block, if you will. I mentioned this to Ollie and we discussed the idea that there was maybe one issue that was tripping him up and stopping him making his desired progress. For Ollie, that stumbling block seemed to be how he managed his time.

‘By the time I leave the office, I head straight into traffic and it takes me a good hour to get home. I feel pretty frazzled when I do get in, so I pour myself a big glass of wine, and try to have at least a few minutes with the kids before they fall asleep. Sarah and I eat, have another glass of wine, then once we’ve cleared up and had a fairly ‘admin-heavy’ conversation about the day and what else is happening this week, I’m exhausted. I watch some rubbish on TV and fall into bed. I set the alarm to give me time to go to the gym but inevitably I turn over and hit the ‘snooze’ button.’

Having identified Ollie’s stumbling block of ‘I don’t have enough time’, we looked to replace it with a foundation stone on which he could build all his goals. Ollie chose ‘cycle to work three days a week’ as his foundation stone.  He talked me through his reasoning.

Replace the stumbling block which stops you achieving your goals with a foundation stone upon which you%2 (1)

‘Practically, I can’t ride to work every day but I can certainly do so three times a week. It’s a pretty demanding ride so those six rides are more than equivalent to the three gym sessions I should do. I’ll still get home earlier than if I drove so I’ll be able to cook dinner to give Sarah a break or have some more time with the boys before bedtime. I’ll sleep better because I’ll be physically tired. I’ll be fitter so I’m more likely to be in a condition to help coach Jack’s hockey team. On the days I do need to drive, I’ll listen to my business French lessons.’

By the end of the session, Ollie had moved from feeling like he’d never have enough time to achieve his long list of seven goals to deciding to make one change which would lead him to achieving six of his goals.

Ollie emailed me recently to update me on his progress: ‘It’s all going well. As well as everything else I set out to do, I’ve stopped drinking wine during the week – don’t feel like I need it now I’m not feeling so frazzled – so we’re putting the money we would have spent on weekday wine and my gym membership towards a family weekend away. It’s all good.’

Today’s pebble for you to consider: what’s the stumbling block that’s getting in the way of you achieving your goals? Can you replace it with a foundation stone on which you can build your success?

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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One Response to One thing leads to another: how to build success

  1. Pingback: Enjoy the journey to success | Turning over pebbles

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