Pique Emails

  • Do you struggle with your morning routine?

    Do you struggle with your morning routine?

    Part of you wants to have an incredible morning routine that you can brag about to all of your friends; the other part of you feels resistance to any kind of routine.

    This is totally normal; I hear it all the time.

    On a recent mini session, Christian* came to me feeling like his morning routine wasn’t what he wanted it to be or what it “should” be.

    In 30 minutes, we understood exactly what stood in his way.

    He’s been running what Ramit Sethi calls an invisible script. It’s a belief system that runs in the background, that you don’t even know is there.

    Christian’s invisible script in the mornings was, “Someone might need something from me,” which creates a feeling of anxiety for him. And here’s where that leads him: To picking up his phone, doing incoming tasks that feel urgent, and neglecting his ideal morning routine.

    As I pointed out: He ends up continually prioritizing other people’s needs over his own and never stops to ask “What if need something from me?”

    (And here’s a real brain-breaking question, which resonated with Christian: What if no one ever truly needs anything from you? Sit with that one for a bit.)

    Here’s his solution: Instead of focusing on creating a picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy morning routine, he’ll simply ask himself, “What do I need today, right now?

    He’ll remember to do this by putting a Stickie note on his phone on night, because he’s guaranteed to see it in the morning.

    If this seems overly simplistic, remember this: It took us 30 minutes to get to the root of the belief that drives his actions in the mornings. And he has work ahead of him. He has to practice showing up for himself. It won’t happen overnight. (See what I did there? #morningjoke).

    What are your invisible scripts?

    It’s a trick question — they’re invisible to you. That’s why I recommend bringing in a trained expert to help you see them. (👋 Hi. I’m here.)

    *Name changed to protect anonymity. 

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  • Do, dump, delegate, delay

    Prefer video content? You can watch the 1:01-minute video here.

    For some people, blocking a big chunk of time to do deep work feels intimidating.

    If that’s you, I have a quick tip that will take you 10 minutes or less:

    Today, approach your to-do list or email inbox with only one of the following four options (don’t allow yourself to get away with any other choice!):

    • Do: Follow through on the task.
    • Dump: Acknowledge that the task is no longer a priority and drop it.
    • Delegate: Outsource the task to a colleague, assistant, friend, partner, or contractor.
    • Delay: Intentionally push a task to a later date. (Be sure to schedule a time to revisit it so that it doesn’t extend indefinitely.)

    We call this the Do, Dump, Delegate, Delay principle—DDDD, for short. My clients love it so much that they write it on a sticky note and put it on their computer. No more tasks and emails hanging out in no man’s land, draining your energy.

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  • Slowing down to speed up

    Do you ever find yourself in a rush to do, do, do? You feel anxious, so you try to cure it by jumping into action? I get it. I half-jokingly describe myself as a “lifelong strong-armer,” meaning I’ve historically just strong-armed my way through life to make things happen, according to the plan I’ve crafted in my head. Upside: It (mostly) works. Downside: It’s tiring and inefficient.

    But what I’ve learned more and more is the power of slowing down to speed up.

    Meditating slows you down.

    Planning (like I have you do in the 15-minute guide for getting into a deep work state) slows you down.

    Coaching slows you down.

    Tracking your time to understand where it’s going slows you down.

    Setting up systems and processes slows you down.

    Learning and studying slows you down.

    Until they don’t.

    Suddenly, you realize that investing time, energy, and money to understand yourself, center yourself, plan your time, and set up systems for yourself is actually one of the most efficient and effective uses of your resources.

    How will you slow down to speed up today? Hit reply to let me know.

    Sending you good thoughts,

    Cristina


    Quick note: Not sure where to start? Book a free 30-minute consult with me to learn how slowing down to speed up could shift your business in 2021.

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  • Invisible standards

    Invisible standards: The new “invisible scripts”

    You may have heard me talk about invisible scripts. It’s a term coined by Ramit Sethi to explain the belief systems that all of us have that we’re not even aware of. Often, the concept refers to belief systems that don’t serve us in our lives.

    It’s an enormously helpful concept to know about, explore, and work on in our lives.

    But today I want to introduce you to a new concept: Invisible standards. (TM Cristina Roman. You heard it here first, folks.)

    Often, people talk about things like having “an amazing morning routine,” being “good enough” at work, wanting to be an “incredible leader,” and having a “wildly productive deep work practice.”

    And 9 times out of 10? They’re beating themselves up, because they aren’t where they want to be.

    But here’s the wild part: They don’t actually know where they want to be, because their definitions are so elusive and undefined. Their standards are completely invisible, even to them. They’ve never defined what any of it means.

    So, here’s the two-part process that I lead my clients through: Define, then decide.

    Define your invisible standards

    First, define in excruciating detail what you’re really striving for. Let’s take “incredible leader.” Write down every single detail of who you think you would be if you were an incredible leader.

    Walk through an entire 24-hour period—what would you do, say, believe, and feel as an incredible leader? What would you not do, say, believe, and feel?

    What does “an amazing morning routine” look like? What would you do, say, believe, and feel if you had “an amazing morning routine”?

    What does “being ‘good enough’ at work” look like? What would you do, say, believe, and feel if you were “good enough”?

    What does a “wildly productive deep work practice” look like? What would you do, say, believe, and feel if you had a “wildly productive deep work practice”?

    If you start writing down your definition and it feels a little unrealistic, EXCELLENT. That’s what we want. We want you to surface all of your slightly crazy standards that you’ve been carrying around in a little invisible suitcase. The more unrealistic, the better.

    Decide your standards

    Now that you have an exhaustive list of the standard that you’re really striving for, it’s time to decide what to do with the list.

    Here are the three most common paths I see clients take:

    1. Decide to go all in on your standard and beat yourself up when you don’t hit it every single time. <– 10/10 do not recommend. Seriously—going all in but beating yourself will feel like shit and it will not be constructive. I promise.
    2. Decide to go all in on your standard but commit to not beating yourself up along the way. Use every falter as a learning experience.
    3. Decide to keep some of your definition, but drop the parts that don’t serve you.

    Is it surprising that I recommend option 2 or 3?

    The risk of not uncovering your invisible standards

    Here’s what can happen when you don’t do this exercise: You continue on as is, running an invisible standard in your mind and always coming up short. You feel behind and unsatisfied, but you don’t understand why.

    ….so might I suggest that you do the exercise? 🤔

    Ready to take this work even deeper, with my help?

    You’ll want to check out Half-Finished to Done, LIVE, the program for business owners who are ready to stop procrastinating and start finishing their half-done projects. 

    Half-Finished to Done: The Course

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  • “The internet is scattered with my half-finished projects”

    My half-finished story

    If you know me in real life, you’ll know that I have a lot of ideas. Like…a lot. And that I’m a perpetual starter. Sounds envious to many people, but left unchecked, this was a combination that caused me a lot of trouble over the years.

    I used to joke that the internet was scattered with my half-finished projects. A personal blog, a home decor meets food blog, a food business, a student org, a defunct business blog. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    Any chance you can relate? For you, it might not be the front page of Google. It might be your home; your Trello board; your email inbox.

    The “For Later” folder that you didn’t open until coronavirus hit. The screenplay that you’ve been too scared to face because you’re worried it won’t fulfill you. The dead-in-the-water business collaboration that never took off. The freshmen 15 that you never lost. The paintings you didn’t hang, even though you moved in 4 years ago. <– All of these are real stories, for the record.

    But you didn’t finish. (Or maybe you didn’t even start.)

    You got sidetracked; derailed; off track. <– Who knew there were so many train analogies for this?

    You painted yourself into a corner, telling yourself you were a procrastinator; you’ve always been like this; it’s just not even worth it. And yet, those back burner projects eat away at your mental energy, like a little leak in your pipes.

    I was asked recently on a podcast, “What was the biggest limiting belief that you had to overcome to be where you are now?” Without so much as a pause, I knew that my answer was: “I don’t follow through.”

    With many years of coaching work under my belt, I can now proudly say that I’m a reformed half-finished project person. (Say that five times fast.)

    Here’s what life looks like on the other side of half-finishing: You look around, proud of what you’ve created. You have that sense of accomplishment; that feeling that you saw it all the way to the end. You managed all of your discomfort, building your belief in the cliche-but-true phrase, “I can do hard things.” You started craving obstacles, because you realized they’re what make you more tenacious and gritty.

    And here’s the weird part that people don’t tell you: That big goal you wanted? It feels good when you achieve it, but if we’re being honest, it’s a bit anti-climactic. You soon realize it’s not about the end result; it’s about who you had to become in the process. You started enjoying the process — discomfort and all — instead of relying on the end result to feel good. And let me tell you; that feels freaking fantastic.

    Here are my four best tips, if you want to become a reformed half-finished project person, too.

    Rewrite your narrative

    Here’s coaching in a nutshell: Thoughts create feelings, which fuel actions, which create results. So changing the input (your thought) naturally has a ripple effect on the output (your result).

    At their core, half-finished projects are left unfinished because of unchecked and often unconscious thinking, which can look like “I don’t follow through” (my old go-to), “I lose interest when it’s not novel anymore” or “I don’t have enough time.”

    Start to detach from your own limiting narrative with this one-word tweak: Tack the word “historically” to the front of your thought.

    For example, “I don’t follow through” becomes “Historically, I haven’t followed through.”

    It’s a small enough tweak that your brain won’t reject it, but it’s big enough that it gives you the wiggle room needed to begin to change your self-fulfilling cycle of leaving projects uncompleted.

    Want more? Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to change your limiting beliefs.

    Do, dump, delegate, or delay

    Make an exhaustive list of all of the unfinished projects in your life, then ruthlessly decide if you’ll do them, dump them, delegate them, or delay them.

    Remember: Not all half-finished projects are meant to be completed. Back when I used to co-run an online business called One Woman Shop, we had a phrase from Arianna Huffington that we referenced often: “You can complete a project by dropping it.”

    I’ll be releasing a checklist soon that details how to know if your project is worth finishing, but for now, dump the ones that are obvious mental energy drains for you. Ah, sweet relief.

    Want more? Here’s a quick 1:01-minute video on the Do, Dump, Delegate, Delay principle.

    Chat with your Future Self

    I think that one of the single most detrimental things that we can do in life is look to our past for evidence to limit ourselves. This looks like “I’ve never done it before,” “I haven’t figured out how,” and “I’ve always been like this.”

    The antidote is to commune with your Future Self instead. Have a little dialogue with the version of you that exists a year from now, who finishes projects.

    What does she/he/they say that you should do right now about the projects currently on your plate? Which ones should you do, dump, delegate, or delay and why? Of the ones you do decide to tackle, what is the first step that your Future Self says you should take?

    Like I said to a client recently: “Listen, if you’re going to have a party with Past You, at least invite Future You to the party, too.”

    Want more? I love the concept of your Future Self so much that I invited a behavioral economist onto The Pique Podcast to explain the phenomenon in even more detail.

    Embrace massive action

    The average person who wants to create a specific result sets a half-hearted goal, tries a little bit, then gives up when it gets hard. (This was me.)

    Massive action, on the other hand, invites you to take action over and over, constantly pivoting as needed, until you reach your goal. Every single falter is just an obstacle, and all obstacles have strategies for overcoming them.

    How would your life change if you embraced massive action? It means no amending your goal, no blaming outside circumstances, and no giving up. For me, it was a game-changer.

    Ready to take this work even deeper, with my help?

    You’ll want to join one of the free, interactive 10-person Monday Hour One workshops that I host on a regular basis. 

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  • Temptations vs opportunities

    I recently shared this framework with a friend, who said it was exactly what she needed to hear. Maybe it’s what you need to hear, as well?

    You might not know that back in the day, before I quit my job to pursue coaching full-time, I was a recruiter. About a month into starting this coaching business, I reconnected with an old client, who re-offered me a recruiting job at the very well-known and well-respected company he works for.

    I thanked him sincerely and rejected the opportunity again, reminding him that I was sure I wanted to be a life coach. I joked that his job opportunity was a nice back-up plan for me. (He scolded me and told me that I shouldn’t stockpile back up plans, because that would distract me from giving this business everything I have.)

    A few weeks later, another contact reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in taking on some contract recruiting work. I thanked her and let her know that I was honored that she thought of me, but that I was heads-down in my new business. I told her that while I was tempted to say yes, I needed to give my all to this.

    Mind you, I wasn’t choosing between a thriving life coaching business and these amazing job opportunities. I was choosing a brand-spanking new seedling of a business with no paying clients and a hell of a lot of work ahead of me, instead of a high-paying job with guaranteed income and prestige.

    These are what I call temptations from the universe. I see it as the universe pressure-testing my commitment to my current initiative, whatever it may be.

    It’s like the universe is saying “Are you sure?” I get the opportunity to double-check, which ends up strengthening my commitment.

    What is the universe pressure-testing in your life?

    Has an appealing new individual entered or re-entered your life just as your relationship has gotten challenging?

    Has an opportunity for a free seven-course food tasting event cropped up just as you committed to sticking to an eating plan?

    Has a special offer for a cruise popped up just as you committed to saving money for retirement?

    Has a new job potential in a new city come across your radar just as you prepare for a move to a different city?

    You get to choose what you explore. It’s up to you to decide what’s a temptation and what’s an opportunity.

    Here’s what to ask yourself:

    • “Is this a temptation or an opportunity?” (Simple, eh?)
    • “What is the opportunity cost of pursuing this new potential? What will I have to give up to pursue it?”
    • “Does this new thing align with the big vision that I have for my life?”
    • “Is pursuing this coming from a grounded feeling, like trust, excitement, and love, or an ungrounded one, like fear, scarcity, or stress?”

    If the questions above don’t give you the clarity that you’re seeking, you can book a free 30-minute mini session with me so that we can dive in further.

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  • How to stop distractions from derailing you

    You’ve heard me talk about the guide for getting into a deep work state so many times now. (If you haven’t downloaded it yet, what are you waiting for?)

    When anyone tells me that the 15-minute process for getting into a deep work state didn’t work for them, I love it.

    Not because they’re struggling of course, but because they’re gathering data that we can use in our coaching session to troubleshoot.

    I always ask the question “What derailed you from following the process all the way through?”

    People will name any number of things: My phone rang. Someone knocked on my door. I wanted to check Instagram. I got worried that my boss might need me. I got hungry. I got bored. I thought of something more important that I needed to do.

    Let’s take one of these examples: I wanted to check Instagram.

    The seemingly innocent thought “I want to check Instagram” likely creates a feeling of desire, which we’re going to call an urge. This is not a coincidence — the makers of Instagram have intentionally designed it to create this exact feeling in all of us.

    If we’re not conscious, we follow that urge blindly. We check Instagram and don’t complete our deep work block. We never get to see what we were capable of during that deep work block.

    But here’s the key: Noticing the urge, allowing it to be there in our bodies, and finishing our deep work block anyway.

    Not resisting the urge. Not ignoring the urge. Not trying to push the urge away. But not giving into it, either.

    Here’s how to allow an urge:

    1. Notice and name the urge: Say “This is an urge.”
    2. Notice what thought created the urge: It can be as simple as “I want to check Instagram.”
    3. Acknowledge your power: Say “I can allow this urge, not follow it blindly.”
    4. Sit with the feeling: Do a head-to-toe body scan, noticing how the urge feels in your body.
    5. Carry on: Continue on with your planned action, allowing the feeling to be there for as long as it needs to be.

    This meta skill — of allowing urges but not following them — will serve you in all areas of your life, from finances to health to career to relationships. (Seriously. It’s the same skill taught to stop overeating, quit overdrinking, cut back on TV binge-watching, and stop overspending.)

    And remember: Like everything, it gets easier with practice.

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  • Fun

    There’s a misconception about coaching in general, and productivity coaching specifically: That we’re trying to take away your fun. ⁣ ⁣

    That we’re trying to optimize every minute of your day so that you can be more #productive. 🤖 ⁣

    As if that was the most important thing. ⁣ ⁣

    Not here — quite the opposite. At Pique Coaching, we use increased productivity as a means to an end — to open up your time and energy, so that you can see and explore all of the possibility in your life. And that might include more fun!⁣ ⁣

    On a recent client call, my client realized that she was buffering — using external things like Netflix, food, alcohol, and social media — to solve for the lack of fun she was feeling in her life. Over time, fun had gone out the window and responsibility had swept in. Can you relate?

    ⁣Relying on things like food, alcohol, and social media can feel fun in the moment, but often has a net-negative consequence. (Weight gain, hangovers, and lack of social connection, for starters.) ⁣ ⁣

    If you’re noticing a lack of fun in your life — or if all of your fun is coming from sources that you don’t want in your life — here are 5 questions to ask yourself:⁣ ⁣

    💡What do I think is fun that isn’t actually serving me? ⁣

    💡What if I were the most fun person I could imagine being around? What would that look like?⁣

    💡How can I make [insert any activity] more fun? (Ask this 20 times a day and then report back.) ⁣

    💡Where am I ready to let go of certain responsibilities that I’ve taken on?⁣

    💡What do I want to invite back into my life that’s fun for me?

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  • Numbers are neutral

    In coaching, some of the most powerful work we do is distinguishing facts from thoughts. Allow me to sum up the value of this work in one crass sentence: You usually can’t do shit to change the facts, but you have the power to change your thoughts.

    Let’s take numbers. Numbers are inherently neutral, but we assign meaning to them.

    If this is new to you, it should break your brain a little bit. Really think about it: Numbers are neutral; we’re the ones who assign meaning to them.

    Let’s take 27%. For a body fat percentage, that might be awesome. For a landing page conversion rate, that might be less than ideal.

    But even within the same situation, everyone will have a different opinion about the numbers. A competitive bikini bodybuilder will see a body fat percentage number very differently than someone who has struggled to lose weight their whole life.

    A multi-millionaire business owner might see a 27% landing page conversion rate very differently than a brand new business owner.

    But the number? Always the same.

    Here’s where it gets good. My wonderful Facebook Ads manager recently told me that our freebie landing page was converting at 27% and that anything under 40% should be tweaked.

    Here was my split second reaction: “That sucks. I’ve worked so hard but it’s still underperforming.”

    I watched my reaction with curiosity, and then offered a counter-proposal to myself. “What if I believed that 27% is an amazing start, I know exactly what I’m aiming for now, and I can of course figure out how to improve it?”

    Same number. Totally different interpretation.

    Want to apply this in your own life?

    Think of a story that creates negative emotion for you. (Bonus points if it includes some measurable numbers.) Write down the story exactly as you remember it. Then, review the story, separating the facts from your thoughts about the facts. Be ruthless on this step. Once you’ve distinguished fact from story, ask “How else could I choose to interpret these facts?” or “What is the most generous, loving interpretation that I could have about these facts?”

    Here’s a 4:33-minute video that I recently recorded for my clients that might be useful for you in this process.

    If you’d like another set of eyes on your story, don’t hesitate to send it my way. Here to support you.


    P.S. I recently had an interesting exchange with someone who booked a consult with me after being on my email list for three months.

    I asked her “Why now?” She told me that she’d had reservations about a consult because she wasn’t sure if my focus was on those who need to be “motivated” and are still figuring out their purpose in life.

    If you’re wondering the same thing, here’s my answer: Yes and no. The majority of my clients are well-established in their careers but are looking to do things differently moving forward. Often, what served them in the first parts of their career —hustle, status, and wealth—now feels insignificant and unfulfilling.

    At the risk of sounding like a life coach: They’re ready to intentionally recommit to their real desires.

    She closed by saying that a fresh “set [of] eyes on my current situation would be refreshing.” If you could use a fresh set of eyes, too, I invite you to book a consult with me.

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