The Coach's Corner

Do it now…sometimes later becomes never

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #37

What do you love to do?

There are number of things that come immediately to mind for me including coaching, cycling, gardening, reading, hanging out with my husband, family and friends.

What don’t you like to do?

Again, plenty of things pop up: I am not fond of business development, doing my taxes, shoveling snow, folding laundry or cleaning the bathroom.

No surprise that when I love to do something I pretty much do it immediately without making excuses. When I decide I don’t enjoy something, I put it off. And consequently when I do have to endure the task, it morphs into something much harder to accomplish.

The yellow painted rock in the image above was nestled in a tree and I spotted it while following my son and husband as they played disc golf in Fort Morgan, Colorado, at the Pessimist course. (Great name, isn’t it?)

I remember thinking the message was spot on, because in that moment I was doing what I enjoy – walking with people I like, having fun seeing the discs fly and engrossed in the amazing course.

Looking more closely at the image this week, I wondered what would happen if I could consider every event through that lens. That the next item on my to do list was truly neither good nor bad – just something that must be done.

Working through this scenario gave me a fresh outlook as I partnered with a client who recognized that the way she was thinking about certain tasks was preventing her from taking action.

Let’s dig a bit deeper.


Do it now…sometimes later becomes never

Lisa arrived at our session wondering about a disconnect she’s been observing in how she manages herself externally with clients and adversaries, versus internally in her org with fellow leaders or members of her team.

Here’s what I’m seeing: I direct an enormous team around the world, challenge opponents with very little anxiety and elicit commitments from cross functional colleagues with a great deal of success. BUT, when I pitch an idea to my team, I find myself backing out of any deal before it’s fully formed because I’m afraid of what they ‘really’ think of me. I may be successful in certain parts of my work, but I sabotage myself with my colleagues and I don’t get anything off the ground with them.

The more we explored the disconnect it became clear that when anything felt personal, Lisa would choose to abandon her initiative.

I think I’m asking them for a favor – so if they don’t immediately step in and support me, I tell folks it really doesn’t matter and I practically turn around and walk out of the room.

I wondered what would happen if she got what she was asking for.

That’s the thing, my initiatives improve the quality of work for everyone by saving them time and our org money.

As soon as she spoke those words, Lisa stopped. Then her eyes widened as she smiled.

I had already decided they wouldn’t really listen to me, so I never told them the benefits or the ROI. I go into every external meeting armed with those facts but with my own team…wow!

Hitting her hands on her desk – she exclaimed,

All along I thought I was just procrastinating. Now I think I doomed my idea from the start because I made up a scenario in my head that wasn’t true.

Lisa decided that instead of seeing her initiatives as potential favors, she would turn her attention to the impact of those proposals and the potential advantages they bring to her team and the org. She can treat these interactions like her external meetings, where she wasn’t judging the outcome.



How to lean into a task without judgment

What if the dilemma isn’t good or bad?

That’s what Alan Watts relates in this Story of the Chinese farmer.

The next time you’re ready to judge what you’re experiencing, here are some questions to consider.

Focusing on those four areas might free you up to take action without judgment, and a whole lot more freedom.


My takeaway

For years, much of the pressure I put on myself stemmed from whether I believed I was on the right path or the wrong path. One of strongest rebukes I ever received was being excluded from an event and someone insisting, “it shouldn’t be this way!”

Except this is how life unfolds – filled with moments of disappointment, love and chaos.

The more I focus on the life I’m leading, the work I’m anticipating, the journey I’m looking forward to – the more I wind up encountering new opportunities.

I recognize that when I am too quick to label any task as good or bad, I get stuck in overthinking. When I hold any idea more loosely, a fresh perspective has a way of revealing itself.

And that’s when I am free to ‘do it now.’ Or as the Roman poet Horace says,

Seize the day.


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