My goal is to put myself out of business.
As an entrepreneur, that’s idiotic.
As a coach/soon-to-be-therapist, that makes me effective.
When I work with clients, the last thing I want is for them to become dependent on me. Instead, we solve a problem together and go over the exact steps that led to their success. That way, they can replicate it on their own the next time they feel stuck.
Whether it's finding a career that's motivating, a partner that's loving, or a system to stop procrastinating, most of us are great at figuring out what isn't working, but we fail to notice what's working well.
Why does that matter?
No, I'm not going to go on a tirade about awareness and gratitude (though those are both valid and on the docket for future posts). This is about figuring out your recipe for success. And that brings me to todays' topic:
How to reverse-engineer what's working so you Get Consistent Results:
Good News, Bad News, Better News.
Let’s start with the good news: When you figure out how to outsmart yourself, you won’t have the same problem again.
Bad news: Once you solve your problem, you'll probably make new mistakes or have new problems. (I know, sucks to be human!)
Better news: The same system to solve that first problem can be used across the board. In all areas. No matter what.
All you need to get started is to ignore your problem.
What now? How’s that possible?
One of the (many) differences between “traditional” therapy and the work I do is that I focus on what’s working. Sounds counter-intuitive, but the key to fixing what isn’t working is to start with what's working well and reverse-engineer it.
To be honest, I’m not the coach for everyone. If you want to spend your time bitching about what’s not working, why life sucks, and why everyone else is to blame, we're not a good fit. Partly because that’s a downer and I don’t want to hear it, but more than that, it’s because that isn’t going to fix shit.
While this approach is highly effective, it’s also surprisingly difficult for most people. (I get it, if we could see our blind spots, they wouldn’t be “blind” spots.)
Here’s How It Typically Goes:
Amita: What are the things in your life that don’t require excess amounts of motivation or “self-discipline?” In other words, what comes naturally without pushing yourself?
Client: I procrastinate on most things, but I usually manage to exercise consistently without needing reminders. But that’s completely different, it doesn’t really count.
Amita: Why doesn’t it count?
Client: That isn’t “productive.” I just do it because it makes me feel good and I like being in shape. That’s not as important as my career though, that's where I need help.
Amita: Well a lot of things feel good. Like warm baths, new socks, or mind-blowing sex. But those things don’t really require the same amount of innate motivation that helps you to work out. So, what makes this different?
Client: It’s important to me. But so is my writing career. (Dramatic Sigh)
Amita: Since exercise is something you value, you’re willing to invest time and energy into it. So how does working out look different in your life than the actions you’re taking in your writing career? What does your workout habit actually look like?
Client: Well, I know when I get home from work that I'll go to the gym with my friend. And I’m motivated because I see results so I keep doing it. But who cares if that’s going well?! My career is way more important and I’m not getting anywhere!
Amita: Well, let’s look at your process. Your recipe for success at the gym is 1) Scheduling it in as a predictable part of your routine 2) Accountability 3) A social component that helps you feel connected 4) Results that motivate you to continue. Does that sound right?
Client: Yes, I didn't realize I do all that!
Amita: Most of us don't notice or question the things that work well in our lives. We put our energy into focusing on what's wrong, not what's right. Let’s draw from that and make your writing routine mirror your exercise routine.
The conversation continued with only a small amount of teeth-pulling to include that he would:
- Add in 20 minutes of writing each morning before going to work (even if all he wrote was that he was pissed at me for making him do it!)
- Check in once per week with his action partner on any new steps or new content he created.
- Meet weekly with a friend in a similar field to write and bounce ideas off each other.
- Start submitting his articles to websites to see new results to encourage momentum.
I should note that my clients aren’t as whiny or irritating as this conversation came off. They are inspiring, motivating, and above all else, they are committed to creating real change.
Figure Out Your Strategy For Success:
When you’re at your best, what are the processes that make you successful? Drill down on the answers by reflecting on the moments when you’re motivated to accomplish your goals:
- What are you doing differently?
- What are you focusing on?
- What actions are you taking?
In other words, what’s your recipe for success? Is it knowing when to take action? Is it going to a specific place? Is it having an accountability partner? Is it having a compelling or motivating reason? Whatever it is…
Decode it. Translate it. Do it.