Remember the Small Steps

Friday afternoon reminder: Remember the steps that seem itty bitty, because they may actually be big.

I’ve noticed that for a lot of fast and hyper thinkers, we jump over the little steps in our minds, when the little steps are really what is getting us stuck!
If you’re a big time hyperthinker, when you’re stuck you might start to think about the deeper motivations and reasons behind what you’re trying to do and why you’re getting stuck. Do I really want to get this job/make this change/find a new house/take this class?  Do I really want to sign up for this thing, if I can’t get the registration in the mail? (Remember, this can apply to smaller to-dos as well.)

It’s a funny thing to learn as a coach- it seems counter-intuitive- but I’ve learned from my experience and from some other wise people, that these big questions aren’t always the right ones for the runaway thinkers (whether you have inattentive ADHD or you just think a lot.) Sometimes the big questions only serve to disconnect you more from what you’re trying to get done.

Here are some questions that often do help:

#1 How are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally today and lately? Is low energy making it hard to take the steps you mean to? Remember: being mentally tired sometimes means you can keep thinking, but can’t direct your attention as well.

#2 What are the steps involved? Have you broken down your project? Take the example of registering for a workshop or the like by mail. Where you may be jumping to thinking about your desire to do it, stop and look at the steps, including filling out a form, finding a stamp, finding your checkbook, finding out your bank balance, finding your calendar and checking for conflicts, asking that one last question… making a copy of the form, going to the post office…

#3 If you have defined the steps, which are getting you hung up? Again a tricky truth: regardless of your smarts and motivation and all that, going to the mailbox might be something that gets in your way. The insidious part about it is that you may not believe that this could be the obstacle- it’s supposed to be easy, isn’t it? (Not to mention how easy it seems to be to start dumping on yourself for having a hard time with this!) But believe me, I’ve worked with enough of us to know. I’ve seen people who are wealthy have their utilities shut off because they suck at getting checks in the mail.

#4 If you haven’t defined the steps of either a small or large project, what help do you need in doing that? Are you making this harder than it need be?

#5 IF you’re having trouble breaking it down, are you missing something fundamental? One thing people forget all the time is that the first phase of a project is often   research or other exploration. Do you have enough information?

#6 Have you actually made the decisions you need to in order to plan or to move on to the next step? Do you need more information- or is there something else you need to do before moving ahead? Is there a step missing, little or big, seemingly stupid or not? You might have the end in mind but you actually need to know the next piece…

Does this ring familiar, and what examples do you have from your life? Please comment!