Experimenting is one of the ways that I work with clients on the action they want to take after a coaching conversation. I find the word experiment takes off the pressure off to get it right, done to an expert level and quickly. It inspires them to act and do something, anything, to get the process underway, and to assess themselves along the way… How does it feel, did I do well, where can I improve? Consider for yourself, how often do you experiment in your day-to-day or year-by-year; or are you a beholden to your routines and rigid in your ways of approaching life?
If you could host your own little experiment on yourself this month, what might it be?
Could it be ADDING something to your life, like a new ritual – the science behind habits proves that starting a new ritual in just 2 minutes of commitment helps make them stick and embed. This stickiness happens because of ‘who you show up being’ in those 2 minutes is the self, or part of you, that commits to the change. Once you start you can usually go for longer, or you can build it up minute by minute to a longer term way of being or living life your way. And it’s pretty hard to deny finding just 2 minutes in your day!
Could it be REMOVING something in your life, like smoking, having a break from drinking, catching your negative self-talk, cutting back on a chaotic social life and re-directing it towards simplicity? A way to really make removing something effective, is to think about the action prior. Take eating the right food. If you can avoid buying it first, you can avoid eating it after purchase. So, the point is to intervene at the step prior. You can make different plans to catch up with friends on a walk versus evening drinks, or exercise with others or sign up to a class to stick to that hour of fitness.
Or is it TWEAKING something that’s not working – like your exercise regime and being more committed, or managing your reactions to others better, your financial savings plan, branching out your music repertoire or reading more books on a certain topic? The best way to supporting tweaking, is to reflect. Ask yourself three core coaching questions; What is the situation right now? What is one thing I can do differently? How and when will I commit to this?
Flipping our thinking….
One interesting experiment I tried in the last 12 months was quite contradictory to what a lot of ‘traditional’ coaches would recommend about goal setting. I had been constantly setting (and often re-setting) goals, they were big scary goals that would often overwhelm me, to the point of procrastination and refusal. I was regularly spending my time trying to perfect what the goal was, planning when to do it, rather than getting on with it and enjoying the act of working on it. I’d been in a creation phase of my business, I found it was difficult and also unsuccessful to be so structured.
I got chatting with my brother about my frustrations with myself, and he shared his approach to all his artistic pursuits, and a simple formula he applies when things feel too much. It is, always do your best and be in the process, to not be too attached to an outcome, but be aware of what you’re learning through the process and how you’re getting better. This ensures that when the next project comes along, you’ve seen your own evidence that you completed something (yay!), your mind is looking for ways to improve rather than perfect, and you’re okay with veering off course to learn something and grow. It’s a process of constant improvement through in the moment awareness.
In the spirit of experimenting, I tried this approach, when I relaxed the pressure on myself of the end goal, I found I was in moments of flow far more often. It focused me on the projects and task I was delivering that day, and giving them my all. The pay-off was that I met most of the big scary goals I wanted for my business and enjoyed it along the way. I broke down some silly or untrue expectations and beliefs I had about myself, and found a way of working that was graceful, not the rigour or force I was previously applying.
I leave you with one of my favourite quotes of ALL time, from Albert Einstein, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’
So, what is something you’d like a different result on?
Over the next month, see if you can take on an attitude of ‘experimenting’. What would you like to try in just 2 minutes? Make a commitment to yourself now, show up in those 2 minutes as the change you want to be, and start to track your progress and how it feels.