Success, one day at a time

We’ve all read articles that sound something like this:

‘Leader of the one of the top global businesses, Caroline Success-Story has a simple approach to life in the fast lane. She explained:

“I get up at 4.45 so that I can go to the gym. Whilst I’m on the treadmill, I catch up with the latest from the world stock markets on my tablet and brush up my Mandarin vocabulary by listening to podcasts. After a quick shower and a wheatgrass smoothie, I’m collected by my driver to head to the office. I used to drive myself but now I can spend my commute meditating rather than fighting the traffic. My first meeting of the day takes place over an egg white omelette in the staff café and my guilty pleasure of a soy latte is waiting on my standing desk when I arrive in my office.”

Not just a business visionary, Caroline also finds time to coach her daughter’s swimming team and design the sets for her son’s school plays whilst she and her husband spend their downtime at the donkey sanctuary they founded.’

I do of course exaggerate for effect but I’m sure you know the kind of thing I mean!

Having settled on their long-term goals, my clients occasionally find day-to-day success harder to pin down. Sometimes they feel like they’re failing if they’re not making rapid progress towards those big goals: other times, they compare themselves to others and fear that maybe their goals aren’t big enough.

When this happens, I ask them just for a moment to stop looking at what has happened and to stop thinking about what needs to happen over the next weeks or months and to bring their thoughts back to right now. I ask them:

What has to happen for you to consider today a success?

Success is subjective. Don't compare yourself to others. What needs to happen for you to consider today a success?

Success is subjective.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
What needs to happen for you to consider today a success?

We take a few minutes together for them to come up with two or three tasks they’d really like to achieve that day and I remind them that these are the tasks which matter to them, not what they think others think they should do or the tasks they think will make them look good. It doesn’t matter whether the tasks will take five minutes each or a couple of hours: what matters is that their achievement will contribute to the day’s success.

We review the list, and I clarify with them that they will truly regard the day as a success should they get through this short list and that anything achieved on top of that is a bonus. If necessary, we refine the list. I encourage them to try out this technique daily between our sessions so that we can reflect on how it works for them. A typical comment is that each day’s successes add up and over the weeks, the client can see real progress.

Today’s pebble for you to mull over is this: What has to happen for you to consider today a 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 can work together?



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