Lately, I have really been dropping the ball.
I have not been consistent with things in my life and business that I KNOW are good for me, Facebook lives, writing my blogs, exercising, going to bed at the time my body needs and so on. There is a part of me that thinks “Don’t worry about it Kato, that’s okay, you can do it tomorrow/next week/some other time”. Then there is another part of me that says “You Slacker!! You know you should be doing this and you are just being lazy/scared/pathetic. Why are you so weak?”.
Gotta love that old internal conflict! Does this sound familiar? I would predict that the majority of us on the planet (if not all of us) have had this experience at one point or another.
Over the last week though, I have reached the critical point. The point where the internal conflict between doing what I know is good for me or not, has become too painful to ignore.
I feel like the most powerful thing for me to do at this moment is to publicly own that I haven’t been fulfilling the commitments that I made to myself. By doing that I am creating some serious leverage for myself. I pride myself on the fact that my word is worth its weight, so by making a public declaration I am now accountable to you all. By not taking action my word becomes worthless. Whoa!!
Leverage is a very useful tool. It’s something that is talked about a lot in the coaching world. Leverage is the thing that propels the client forward to take aligned action.
If taking the action was easy, then everyone on the planet would be high achievers in their own way – financially fit, super healthy and vital, and living outstanding lives. Often though, the action we need to take involves some pain, whether it’s getting outside to do the exercise or spending the time on that work project that is hanging over our heads.
I remember when a very dear friend of mine gave up smoking. He was more committed and focused than ever before and I was curious what had propelled him forward with so much enthusiasm and commitment. He told me how his seven year old daughter had burst into tears on a family car trip and, hysterically sobbing, told him how frightened she was that he was going to die and she would no longer have her Daddy.
The very next day, he quit smoking. The pain of seeing his daughter so distressed and knowing that he was the cause of it broke his heart. That made giving up smoking a no-brainer.
Another example of leverage is the doctor telling their patient that if they don’t change their lifestyle, they are going to become very unwell or even die. The patient goes home and radically changes the way they eat as well as increasing their movement to help their body heal. Death is a pretty damn effective piece of leverage!
Ironically though, death is not effective enough for some people. They hear the doctor tell them the news of imminent death, and yet the pain of changing their diet and lifestyle is too great.
For my friend, the smoker, he had tried many times to quit before but had not been successful. The prospect of his health deteriorating was so far in the future for him it didn’t work as leverage. However, seeing his sobbing seven year old child who he completely adores was enough for him to stop smoking immediately with a level of conviction that he had not previously had.
That, my friends, is Leverage.
If we are able to identify the most effective leverage in our lives, then making changes or taking action becomes simple. Maybe not easy, but definitely simple. Leverage normally has a lot of pain associated with it. Humans will do more to avoid pain than get pleasure so pleasure driven leverage doesn’t tend to be as effective.
If you have an area in your life where you want to get better results, find your ‘pain point’. Is it not being around to walk your daughter down the aisle at her wedding? Is it missing out on the promotion you have been waiting three years for? Is it losing your relationship and being single? Is it no longer being able to do something you love?
Once you identify your pain point, sit in it. Make it big and bright in your mind’s eye when you think about it. Intensify the pain of it and then turn it up some more. Breathe that pain in and let it run through your whole body. Don’t turn away from it – magnify it, feel it, and get really uncomfortable with it.
Here is your leverage.
After doing that simple exercise I promise you will feel compelled to take action – any action to help reduce that horrible feeling.
And the good news is: you are the captain of your ship and you are in control. The choice now lies with you to take the action you want.
I wish you all the very best!