Gain insight, resilience, and sustained happiness by building a positive mindset. Click for more info.

To Focus, Mind the Gap

If my goal is to coach, I must do something differently.

Last week, I opened up about my current crossroads. I suspect you have stood here yourself once or twice. At this intersection, I have the following choices:

  • I can turn around and return to the safety of HR or project management;
  • I can plow straight ahead, anticipating forward momentum by doing more of the same;
  • I can veer left and chart an entirely new course;
  • I can curve right.

I choose right.

Curve Right

Choosing right means starting with the end in mind.

I want to coach. It’s right because I feel good when I coach – fulfilled, in flow – and I exit sessions eager to do it again.

So, my endpoint is coaching.

Mind the Gap

A gap exists between where I am and where I want to go.  I have sought escape, avoided, and talked circles around the gap.

Yet, the gap gets filled with more because that’s the nature of gaps. They get filled. Nature abhors a vacuum and all that. What I’ve neglected to realize is that more isn’t necessarily better. Truth is, I’m good at more. Because I’m self-motivated, it’s easy to fill the gap between coaching sessions.

My productivity, however, isn’t getting me what I want. Instead of hitting the bull’s eye (coaching), I’m hitting the outer rings of my target. If I were coaching myself, I’d ask, “OK, so where do you want to throw your darts?” I’d reply, “I want to throw one dart, repeatedly and accurately.” That dart’s label? You guessed it: coaching.

Productivity as Escapism

Recently, I facilitated a group discussion about The Path to Enough. The podcast explores finding balance in a world over-consumed with, by, and for pleasure. The final question of the night, courtesy of my eldest daughter who listened to the podcast with her brother, was “Why do you think so many of us want to escape from ourselves so badly?”

The replies from the group were thoughtful. We talked about the firehose of information drowning us (Johann Hari examines this topic in Stolen Focus) and the resulting feeling of being overwhelmed which in turn makes us want to escape.

We discussed how the desire for pleasure is innate to human beings. Pleasure isn’t bad ipso facto; it’s a worthy pursuit. Yet too much pleasure isn’t good for us, as the podcast explains. Pleasure produces dopamine which changes our hedonic setpoint when we seek too much of it such that we need more of it to feel good. This led to a conversation about the escapism found in addictive behaviours.

Then the dialogue morphed into our obsession with our cell phones, the ultimate escapism in today’s day and age.

I realized my filling the gap with by being productive is really a form of escapism.

Focal Point

Escapism is the opposite of focus. My lack of focus is both systemic based on how society is structured to reward productivity and pleasure as well as personal because of the ways I’ve tricked myself into not directly going after what I wanted.

Creating one focus will get me through my crossroad by eliminating the extraneous.

Let’s apply this learning to your own life, adding to the Crossroads Method I introduced last week.

  1. Start with the end in mind.
  2. Mind the gap – Consider the impact of your habitual patterns on how you usually fill the gap between start and end.
  3. Focus – What must you eliminate in order to reach your endpoint?

Next week, I’ll share a solution for taking action, the inescapable next step.

Header Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

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