‘I go through life on automatic,’ explained Carrie. ‘I always hold my toothbrush in my left hand; I choose the same cereal each morning; I park in the same parking space; I have my coffee in a red mug at 8am and 11am and swap to green tea in a white mug in the afternoon; I drive home the same way every day; I listen to the same radio station in the car; I’ve been taking the same exercise classes for three years; I buy the same groceries each week. Get the picture?’
‘I do. What’s that picture telling you?’ I asked.
‘That I’ve stopped making an effort. It’s easy to do the same things in the same way. Maybe I think it frees my mind up to think about other things if I don’t bother with all this every day stuff,’ Carrie explained.
‘So how come we’re talking about this now?’
‘Because it’s bugging me. I’m fed up of getting home and realising I don’t remember parts of my journey. I’m bored with the three or four outfits I wear for work: it’s become a uniform. It doesn’t free me up to think of more important stuff at all – it’s like I’m just plodding along a long flat road that stretches into the distance. I’m boring myself!’ Carrie laughed.
At that moment, the words ‘conscious endeavour’ drifted into my mind. I quickly searched for them online and found the full quote: ‘I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour.’
Reading it aloud again, I asked Carrie to take a marker and write down on the flip chart those phrases which stood out to her. She chose
encouraging fact unquestionable ability elevate life conscious endeavour
‘It’s true,’ she said. ‘It’s hugely encouraging to remember that I am perfectly able to make changes to improve my life by making a conscious effort to do so. I never really thought about it like that. It’s down to me – I can choose. Right, I need a list.’
And there and then, Carrie started to note down her choices which she felt would elevate her life. It was one of those fantastic ‘lightbulb moments’ which are such a privilege to be a part of in a coaching session.
Since that session, Carrie has taken small steps in all sorts of areas of her work and her life to try doing things differently: some of them have been great successes so she’s continued with them; others haven’t worked out quite as well so she’s dropped them. ‘The best thing is,’ she said in an email to me, ‘I’m consciously taking decisions about what I’m doing rather than just drifting along. It’s so much more satisfying.’
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: how can you consciously endeavour to elevate your life?
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?