Two years ago, I met with one of my mentors and described to him how I was purposely holding myself back. I was working as an intern for his coaching company as a precursor to starting my own, all while working full-time in the public school system with special education students (one of which – who called himself “Jay-weezy” – was a riot!).
I was not fully devoting myself to either track. I was hedging my bets. And I intentionally held myself back from what I wanted. The problem was – I had become so comfortable with the stability of that job, I was suppressing my energy to pursue my destiny. I saved all engagement for my FTJ.
I remember talking to my mentor while grabbing the back of my shirt collar to show him how I would emotionally pull myself back from totally devoting myself to coaching. I would over-engage on my day job and stop myself from fully engaging in my future career and business.
Somehow, I thought my job, career and business were enemies.
Looking around, I’ve noticed this is how most people manage their energy when it comes to that goal. You know – the goal you really want more than anything in the world. The one you don’t want to fully devote yourself to for the fear that you may fail. Or even worse…succeed!
We tend to pull ourselves back from those things we want the most. The things that we aren’t 100% sure about.
I know it sounds counterintuitive. But it’s hard to commit to that thing we aren’t quite 100% sure about. Yet there’s something within us constantly pulling us toward them. There’s potential energy begging to be activated.
Meanwhile, we do everything else but that thing. It’s like being on a laptop with 10 windows open. After a while it’s hard to find the original thread.
Jim Loehr, energy management expert and author of The Power of Story, suggests that:
“Multi-tasking is the enemy of extraordinariness.
Human beings, sorry to say, can focus fully on only one thing at a time.
When employees multi-task, they are not fully engaged in anything, and partially disengaged in everything.
The potential for profoundly positive impact is compromised.
Multi-tasking would be okay – is okay – at certain times but very few people seem to know when that time is.
If you must, then multi-task when it doesn’t matter. Fully engage when it does.”
(Note to all hardcore multi-taskers: Calm down…breathe…countback ward from 10. It’ll be okay)
We live in a world of multi-taskers. And that’s the best way I’ve found to manage my time. Frankly, I love to multitask. It makes me feel productive. Like I’m getting 2 or more things done at one time.
But what a drain on my energy. If I’ve learned one thing from my smartphone, it’s that if too many apps are open in the background, the memory and battery life start to suffer.
When I first read Jim’s take on multitasking, I was highly offended. His view threatened my sense of productivity. Of efficiency. It offended my red-blooded American work ethic.
But then I began to think “is Jim right?”
Am I focusing on the important few or the urgent many?
In other words, is my time dictated by all the things that must be done? Regardless of whether they lead to my goals or align with my values? Or am I focusing on things that are utmost importance to achieve my goals and the goals of those around me?
Coaching question: If you knew that you would not fail, what goal would you totally commit yourself to?
Think about that goal. Now plan to make more of an impact. Plan to fully engage.
Here’s the way to do it. Pick a short amount of time. I don’t know – anything between 30 minutes and 2 hours a week, depending on your schedule. Make it a time where you have the energy to be creative or whatever it takes to completely focus. Then plan to fully devote …fully engage…and dive into the deep end of that goal.
The idea is to immerse yourself for a short period of time, and on a regular basis. Don’t pull yourself back. At least not now. Pulling yourself back any further will take too much energy. Energy that would only produce frustration and unfulfillment.
For part of that 30 minutes or 2 hours, you may want to consider a 15 or 30 minute coaching session to jumpstart your full engagement. I’ll let you in on a little secret about coaching. It’s all about you. If you cannot fully engage in your personal goals anywhere else, you can in coaching. I’ve had prospects to email me about results they’ve gotten after just a coaching preview. In coaching, I allow my clients to take the lead and fully engage in their dreams, their goals, and their vision for the future.
I would love to set up a time to talk to you. If you feel that now is the time to engage, I invite you to set up a coaching preview and experience how coaching accelerates your goals. Until then, stop pulling yourself back. Engage!
Thomas E. Anderson, II is a vision development coach who enjoys motivating and equipping individuals to pursue personal, professional and organizational goals that lead to a more fulfilling life. He specializes in life focus, vision development and goal acceleration.