In this email, I’m sharing the case study from a recent client consult. I know I always love reading real-life examples of other people’s breakthroughs. I’m curious: What aha moments do you have about yourself by reading her story and applying the lessons to your own life?
You’ve seen me talk a ton recently about the power of finishing projects. How you become a different person in the process of finally completing all of those projects that have been sucking up your mental space and energy.
But sometimes? It’s not about the project.
I recently spoke to someone who declared that she has a “project addiction.” She was self-aware enough to know that starting new projects feels super rewarding, which makes her ongoing, day-to-day tasks (like writing up casework notes) pale in comparison.
While the projects seem shiny and novel, she views the casework notes as tedious, and she feels inept when she sits down to do them.
(Um, yeah, I’d choose the projects, too!)
So, our work together wasn’t solving for the projects; it was in understanding that she keeps dabbling in the projects because it keeps her from having to face head-on the feelings that the casework notes bring on.
But here’s a secret: It’s not actually the notes that make her feel inept. It’s her thoughts about the notes.
Thoughts like “I’m slower than my peers.”
“It should be easy.”
“I can’t give myself good advice [to solve this.]”
Like brains do, her brain then seeks out evidence of her belief systems and—no surprise—she finds it.
Watch how that first thought plays out: “I’m slower than my peers.” Interestingly, she sets up coworking sessions with a coworker, who writes up notes faster than she does, and then uses that as evidence to beat herself up about the fact that she is in fact slow.
The solution: As my former business partner used to say, “Keep your eyes on your own paper!” (Literally, in this case.)
Don’t compare yourself to someone else, especially someone who has twice as much experience on the job. It’s so incredibly unhelpful, and ironically, stopping to constantly compare how much slower you are makes you slower.
Try on thoughts like, “I’m open to believing that it’s okay to be slower,” and “I’m slow at some things and fast at others.”
And her second thought: “It should be easy.” Seems like an innocent thought, maybe even a helpful thought, right? Wrong. It automatically sets her up to resist and get upset when it’s not easy.
The solution: Try on more productive thoughts, like: “I’m open to believing maybe it’s not supposed to be easy” and “I can do hard things.” This line of thinking leads you to acceptance, rather than resistance.
And the third thought: “I can’t give myself good advice [to solve this.]” Boom. She just dropped a wall between her and any potential solution, by telling herself that not only does she not have good solutions, but she also doesn’t even have her own back.
The solution: “I can’t give myself good advice” is just a fancy “I don’t know.” From here on out, don’t let yourself get away with any form of “I don’t know.” Some empowering alternatives: “Everything is figureoutable” (a signature of online business coach Marie Forleo), “Every obstacle has a strategy,” and “I don’t know yet, but I’m going to figure it out.”
What is your #1 takeaway from this post?