Monday, March 28, 2011

Promises, promises

Many of my clients beat themselves up because they 'break their promises'. They tell me that co-workers call them unreliable, while friends & family consider them to be uncaring. How can this be, they wonder, knowing that they are comitted to performing well at work and being there for loved ones? When they pause to consider some scenarios, they realise that is their eagerness to please, they often commit to more than is humanly possible. There may be many reasons for that. Time management is certainly problematic for many. I think it was Ed Hallowell who once said that while time was designed to divide the day into manageable bits, it becomes a black hole that swallows people with ADHD. I have one client who refers to 'the vortex' - which she enters with the intention of staying 30 minutes, only to emerge an hour later. There are many strategies to combat this. Nancy Ratey, for example suggests that we add a third to any time we estimate the time a task will take. Impulsivity poses another challenge. How can our brain stop and think about adding a third to our time when our mouth is alreday saying: 'No worries. Of course I can do that by the end of the day'? I teach my clients a mantra: 'I'll get back to you with a time'. This creates the valuable PAUSE that coaches work towards with their clients. Our aim is always to under-promise and over-deliver. There are many ways of achieving this state of bliss - when we succeed at keeping our promises and exceeding the expectations of those around us. Practical strategies go part of the way. But we also need to examine our beliefs around promises broken and kept. Everyone's solution will be different, but one thing's certain - beating yourself up achieves nothing except a damaged sense of self. Coaching is a "no beat-up zone". Consider using it to achieve your goals.

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