An observation I’ve made over the last decade of coaching clients is how much the “all-or-nothing” mentality hinders progress.
“Once I see progress I’m all in”
“Once I have a structure I’m good to go”
“This the perfect time to get this right”
All these phrases for me bring a little caution to next steps as I’ve seen what happens for many…
The core of this mentality that holds people back can be referred to as “negative lumping” which refers to an individual who will dismiss valuable progress because they don’t fully achieve a target in a given time frame.
Instead of appreciating progress, we lump the endeavor into the “failure” category, just as if we had made no progress at all!
It happens a lot.
Example: “I failed to hit my 4 workouts a week again”.
…says the frustrated individual who averaged 3 workouts a week and was struggling to get in even 1 workout just 2-3 months ago.
Many driven humans seem to fall into this trap of being hard on themselves because it helped them achieve a level of success in their work or sports growing up and reinforced it.
It may help achieve a short term result, but in the process destroys long term satisfaction and fulfillment.
Said another way: If we use this short term mentality towards long term goals we fail regardless.
So what is the solution?
The thing I’ve come to value more than anything in my coaching relationships is the opportunity to offer new perspectives.
I can’t do the workouts for you, I can’t eat the foods for you, but I can offer a perspective that allows for a new way to view your current situation or obstacle.
Let’s offer you one now.
Think of all the things that you want to buy right now, that comment someone made to you recently that rubbed you the wrong way and all the things that you don’t have time to complete before that deadline.
Got a couple things in your mind?
Now zoom out to your 80yr old self.
How much of that would still matter?
Or would you be more focused on seeing the sun rise and making sure you got a walk in that day?
Hopefully what this shows you is that over a long enough time horizon values become apparent and today’s stressors tend to fall away in comparison, or at least put in perspective.
My biggest takeaway from this activity with personal clients is how much we force ourselves to be unhappy until we have achieved the NEXT thing, rather than allowing ourselves to feel good along the way.
MAIN TAKEAWAY: Give yourself permission to feel good.
Not just at 100% completion, but at 20%, 40%, 60% and 80%.
That’s the key phrase that’s stuck with many of our clients because at its essence, this is the only decision we need to make.
It won’t remove your drive to achieve great things, it will reinforce the goals that matter.
It won’t make you lazy, it will make you more resilient to what life throws at you.
It won’t make you weak, less than or not respected, in fact it will make you a better leader because you are showing up for YOU.
Give yourself permission to feel good, it makes the whole process better.