As you may have noticed, I like a motivational quote: in fact, I collect them. One very popular saying is Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are even books about how we can use this saying to help us live a simpler and more enjoyable life.
I mentioned recently that I’d been reading Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and how it has challenged my thinking. Chapter four of this excellent book is entitled Sweat the Small Stuff: Hadfield tells us that ‘an astronaut who doesn’t sweat the small stuff is a dead astronaut’ and recounts how paying attention to the tiniest of details has made a huge difference to his life and career. He talks of how rehearsing procedures time and time again helps him and the team surrounding him to pinpoint areas of concern, address errors and create procedures to help others in similar situations.
As a coach, sometimes I help my clients to sweat the small stuff. With Helen, we worked on every aspect of her forthcoming conference speech to help dispel her anxiety. We visited the venue so she could familiarise herself with the back stage area, the equipment and she even stood on the stage so that she knew what she’d be looking out at when she gave her speech.
With Mark, we went back over every detail of a situation at work that had gone wrong, picking apart the evidence so that he could formulate a plan that meant such an issue would be far less likely to occur again.
With Lisa, a new manager, we put ourselves in the shoes of a new recruit so that we could imagine everything we’d want to know in our first days, weeks and months in the workplace so that she could create an induction plan to ease the integration of her new hires into the business.
As Chris Hadfield says, ‘When we got back to Earth, a lot of people asked whether everything had gone the way we’d planned. The truth is that nothing went as we’d planned, but everything was within the scope of what we’d prepared for.’
Today’s pebble for your thoughts: is there a situation at work (or at home) which would benefit from you taking some time to sweat the small stuff?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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