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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Woman sitting on mountaintop

I felt irritated. I had already rescheduled the family dental check-up once and now the kids said they couldn’t make the second one due to work commitments. Take a deep breath, I told myself. Focus on the big picture. I have three healthy kids all working full-time summer jobs. Celebrate the win! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

It’s all too easy to think about the bad stuff. After all, we’re hard-wired for it. Easier to point out what’s wrong instead of what’s right. And our culture supports that in the guise of “critical feedback.”

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

I reminded myself of Cheryl Richardson’s blog last Sunday when she talked about not sweating the small stuff. She advised,

The next time you’re about to lose it over something small, please save yourself for the big stuff. Don’t deny your feelings, of course, just don’t be hijacked by them.

Such gentle guidance which, of course, came at an opportune time.

Why we sweat the small stuff

We sweat the small stuff because it’s simpler than facing the real challenges, the difficult problems we face personally and the seemingly intractable ones we face as a society like climate change.

I reviewed Johann Hari’s prescription for focusing and his recommendations for systemic change explained in Stolen Focus. We must ban surveillance capitalism because it prevents us from focusing, introduce a 4-day workweek because we can’t focus if we’re exhausted, and rebuild childhoods around playing freely because that’s how kids learn best.

But we can’t get “there” until we deal with “here.” And focusing on the small stuff keeps us “here” preventing us from getting “there.”

The ego’s role

Our minds play tricks on us to keep us focused on ego (= self). When we identify with ego, we are never satisfied. The ego wants us concentrating on the small stuff, to keep us bound in the silly, never-ending cycle of petty concerns. Why? It wants us to remain attached to it as opposed to our higher selves. By sweating the small stuff, we stay in the thrall of ego.

One way out of ego is identifying with our Leader Within, that voice of inner wisdom that guides us if we’re willing to listen to it. When we look within our hearts, we see these tricks for what they are and decide we want more. Then, we can transition to the big leagues.

From within to without

Addressing the urgent challenges today requires all our focus. No one person has the answer. Working together is how we do it.  Let’s create the conditions needed for us to tackle them:

  • Nurture communities with lots of different skill sets filled with people who listen to each other and build on the suggestions made to the group;
  • Encourage leaders to recognize the talent in others and find ways to bring this talent together effectively;
  • Most of all, let’s care. Care about ourselves, our family and friends, and our communities.

Header Photo by Joshua Bedford on Unsplash, Boy at Bottom of Stairs Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash, Heart Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Sweating the small stuff isn’t important. It takes precious time and resources away from sweating the big stuff. Your response to the small stuff – the perspective you choose to take – impacts how you respond to the big stuff. It’s like a dry run. Getting annoyed by rescheduling dentist appointments is small stuff. Use the small stuff as an opportunity to grow so when the big stuff happens, you’re ready.

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.

LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.

AG

Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.

VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS