Solution Saturday: Breakthrough Moments
Cowards love procrastination.
Aspiring authors would kill for the opportunities that come my way. But, I’ve procrastinated on writing a book for three years. I’m afraid of it.
Fear blocks possibility.
Readers can’t understand how I’m able to write every day but can’t bring myself to write a book. Surprising isn’t it?
My attitude about writing books shifted last Wednesday during a video conference with, Alf, a V.P. of a Canadian company.
I’m fortunate to work with organizations to help develop their coaching culture. On two occasions, I invited my friend Alf to video conference in to share his companies three year journey into creating a coaching culture for a division of their national organization.
During those video conferences, I ask Alf to do a coaching demo. I’m the guinea pig. The fateful moment began when I said, “Coach me through being stuck on writing a book.”
Simple observations provide profound impact.
Fireworks exploded when Alf asked, “What if you wrote a book for yourself?” I write for myself everyday! But, I’d put writing books in a separate category.
Breakthroughs require new ways of thinking.
Our conversation ended with a two week deadline for writing an outline for a book.
7 ways to create breakthroughs:
- Share where you’re stuck. Progress requires vulnerability. Don’t fake it until you make it.
- Clarify aspirations. Define the win in short-term and long-term language.
- Connect current competencies to new challenges. How might the things you’re already doing find broader expression? I’m able to write a book for myself.
- Adjust the story you tell yourself. The flipping of a switch is often the result of a new story that illuminates new perspective.
- Create a simple, short-term goal that includes accountability.
- Receive help. Self-reliance is foundational. Help from others is exponential. Do things that require help.
- Accept that new behaviors feel awkward, sometimes fake.
What prevents breakthroughs?
How might leaders facilitate breakthroughs for others?
Dan! This is exactly what I deal with. I think my procrastination stems from being a perfectionist. I’m reminded of your phrase “imperfect, forward progress”. We have to get it done right, but we’ll never get it perfect. Thank you! Now off to get my website done.
Thanks Jody. Yes, I’ve read that procrastination and perfectionism are connected. They are in me. One way this plays out in my world is, write an imperfect outline to a book. Thanks for the reminder.
Best with the website!!
This is so great to hear (your upcoming book) and so helpful for me in terms where I am myself. Thanks for sharing your journey and vulnerability.
Excellent post! I will share with my readers 🙂
Dan a personal subject for me. When I retired from the corporate world, my former team encouraged me to write a book of business stories that I had told them over the years. It took me a number of years to get over the burnout of working to start. I have a writer friend who became my Coach for the project and after three more years I am about to launch my book!
My thoughts on this subject:
1. Perfection as Jody said is a big issue with all of us. Yet the CPA exam, one of the hardest professional tests, as an average passing rate of about 75%! Nothing is perfect.
2. Confidence is related to this. We may have been very good at some things but writing a book or the new thing we are trying to tackle, is a whole new affair. It may not just be a lack of Confidence in a new area but also the fear or concern that people will not like what we do!
3. Deadlines or setting a work schedule are important. For me by having monthly meetings setup with my writing Coach really helped me move things along. This applies to almost everything in work or life.
I look forward to reading your upcoming book,
Brad James, http://www.bradszootales.com
Thanks Brad. It’s great to read a bit of your story. One of my take aways from this is getting help from others. In your case, a writing coach.
Best wishes with the next stage of your journey.
Dan, another great article, pretty much everyday I’m encourage by what you write, simple practical approaches to the issues I and many others face everyday in leadership, even just the recognition of those inner demons we all fight with has helped me tremendously. Thanks and keep it up…write that book.
Thanks Nigel. I appreciate your encouragement. It’s a pleasure to be useful.
Communication can create many breakthroughs, communicate clearly, concisely, and open. Ask questions when in doubt sincerely! You prevent breakthroughs when you hold back and don’t finish the entire picture!
Thanks Tim. So true. Lurking in the shadows hinders, even if it feels safe.
Can you elaborate more on “Accept that new behaviors feel awkward, sometimes fake?”
How do you balance that with being authentic?
Thanks Keri. Glad you asked. When we adopt new, untested behaviors, they feel awkward. You might think of a baby learning to walk. Sometimes we feel fake. For example, the first few times I asked coaching clients questions that began, “On a scale of one to ten how committed are you to move forward,” it felt fake. But, now, after using it many times, it feels natural.
You might think about the first times you engaged in public speaking, leading meetings, or presenting a report. It feels awkward.
I hope that’s helpful.
‘Top-O-Duh’ Solution Saturday mornin to ya Dan;
A very well timed topic in relation to my current endeavor. I’ll be the first to admit, when ‘poor-leadership’ initially blocked my involvment in this much needed, long overdue endeavor, “Stinkin-Thinkin” began to sink in. ‘First’, I lost respect for the very organization I am prepared to do great things for. Secondly, I could no longer respect, or trust, on site Leadership that lacked any sign’s of Integrity.At some point I decided,”If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” For a while, I acted as an ‘Army of One’, asking, seeking, and taking NO ADVICE OR DIRECTION from anyone.
Then the Lord taps me ever so lightly on my shoulder and say’s; “Steve, what you’re doing is not only an honorable thing, (but it’s THE RIGHT THING TO DO.) Many road’s leading to the same destination. Problem is, some roads are ‘Bumpier’ than others & at times, some roads are downright impassable.
When frustration sets in due to circumstances beyond our control critical thinking and stategic planning fly right out the window. NOW,, is when it’s most important to refer to your ‘List of 7’ tried and true breakthrough secrets; Share, Clarify, Connect, Create, and Accept.
Thanks SGT. Congratulations on staying with it. Let’s face it. There are times when we lose perspective and motivation. Perhaps the “real world” disappoints us. But, leaders keep pressing forward.
Nice one-word summary at the end.
In our many discussions, focus has been the main topic. Do not let outside forces detract who you are or what makes you complete. At the end of the day, it is about knowing that you have done the “right thing” and that you have done the best that you can do. Continue to sing the song and preach the word that the elements of true leadership are the key to success.
Thanks, “Pardner!” 🙂
Love that you shared your own block Dan – how inspiring!
Thanks Diana. I appreciate you dropping in with a kind word.
Over the last 4 to 5 years I can not count the times people have said; “Steve, you ‘really’ ned to write a book.” Like you, my fingers peck away at a keyboard everyday. Hence, please allow me to pose to you, the question you asked of the Canadian V.P., “COACH ME THROUGH BEING STUCK ON WRITING A BOOK…” P R E T T Y P L E A S E
To a novice like myself, it seems like such a ‘Daunting Task’. Quite frankly, my first question would be, “where does one start?” I’ve got a Warehouse full of stories, life experiences, and leadership insight to share with others, bugt NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN.
H E L P M E . . .
Another option is to review and compile your blogs into a book.
That’s actually a very good suggestion as well as a logical place to start.
I really, really like #6: “Self-reliance is foundational. Help from others is exponential. Do things that require help.” ‘Require’ might be a little too strong for me; but by openly seeking help, the cooperation increases the diversity of ideas and provides the reinforcement and the reminders of goals and working toward them. Absolutely must determine the reasons that are important to us!!!
Great topic Dan! As the author of (14) book titles….. Yes, I said “titles”, I can relate to your pain. Like you, it is not for lack of desire or content but rather “am I good enough”? I would have to say that my fear of being rejected outweighs my desire for trying in many instances. I find myself writing, back-spacing, writing, back-spacing and you begin to see my intricate process. Thank you for the sharing your closely related experience. I look forward to sharing space with you on the bookshelf! 🙂
I see your burning a bit of the old ‘Midnight-Oil’. I understand many writers who team up with, or “Partner if you will”, with a like minded Co-Writer find the journey easier to navigate especially if those two minds think alike. “What’s that they say about Great Minds???”
Have a great day Pardner!
For several years, publishers approached me to write a book. I resisted. Finally, a career event occurred that indicated the time was right for me to proceed. I did not procrastinate, I just had to wait for the appropriate time. Perhaps you are in the same boat.
I had written dozens of professional papers and expected the book to be just a series of papers, one per chapter. I discovered a book is a different animal. Be prepared, Dan, but do not be afraid!
I also write and issue a daily internet post, unrelated to the book. Funny thing, after a couple of years, some of my posts became book #2. You may be on the cusp of a new adventure in authorship.
Best of luck!
Thank you Dan for sharing this moment. I’d like to share with you that this was a powerful moment for Alf as well. The coaching culture is a gift for both participants in the conversation. Today in our coaching session, (I’m Alf’s coach), we discussed how this moment increased not only his confidence level – by stepping up to work with others outside our firm – but also provided that positive tension to be great in the moment with you, which will give him credibility of walking in their shoes for those he coaches.
Best wishes on the accomplishing the outline!
I started writing notes to myself. The note became a single spaced, type written page. The single page became almost 100 pages. Amazing how small notes to oneself works.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks Dan for the post! The line that hit home was “Self-reliance is foundational. Help from others is exponential.” I completely agree. I recently read something from the leadership of Dr. Sam Chand, and he talked in the same vain as your point; it’s very rare to find leaders who THRIVE in their lives without a few trusted friends.
Please check out my blog on authentic devotion and leadership. http://www.revealed8.com
Is there a way I could view the video conference your friend Alf did about his company’s three year journey into creating a coaching culture for a division of their national organization? Thanks.
Dennis, I’m Dan’s friend. I don’t know if he taped that session or not, but I’d be happy to connect with you on our journey. I’m on LinkedIn – just hit the hyperlink in the post – and send me a note. I’d be happy to help.