There was a popular movie in the 90’s called “What about Bob?” where the egotistical psychotherapist, played by Richard Dreyfuss, wrote a book entitled “Baby Steps”.
The title represents a brilliantly simple idea, that in order to succeed we need to take baby steps.
And importantly, we need to take those steps with ‘baby mind’. When babies are learning to walk they aren’t thinking about themselves, only the goal.
Want this. Oops fell over.
Want this. Oops fell over.
Want this. Ahh, did it.
We continue this success pattern until we succeed in walking. And then we learn to run. Or ride a bike. Or write a book.
Somewhere along the line we learn to think about what we are doing. And our style of thinking has a big impact on what we decide to do.
Instead of the observation “oops fell over”, we learn to make judgments about the action.
Is it good, or not good enough?
And we may pick up messages that mistakes are bad. That only 100% is acceptable. That smart people don’t make mistakes.
So our success pattern changes:
I want this. I think I can. Oops mistake.
I want this. I think I can. Oops another mistake.
I want this. I don’t know if I can do it (perfectly). Oops another mistake you dummy.
I want this. I don’t think I can. I’m not good enough. Argghh, I give up.
For example, I embarked on a goal to write a book in the space of a year.
My first four months went like this:
I want this. I think I can. Oops my writing is nothing special.
I want this. I’m not sure if I can. Oops, I don’t think I have anything original to say.
I want this. I don’t think I can. I’m not good enough…
But luckily, I am with a group of amazing women attempting the same goal. Some are making good progress, writing regularly. Others are struggling with similar thoughts to me.
So this month I delved back into the literature on what makes the difference in learning and achievement, what is the secret to success.
And I’m reminded that a lot of it is about baby steps. Breaking the goal down into baby steps and taking action again and again. Writing as often as possible. Preferably every day. Even if it doesn’t seem good enough…yet.
I don’t necessarily like this message, but I now know that that if I write often enough I can finish my book this year.
I don’t yet know how well it will turn out, or whether it will sell.
I’m not expecting it to be on the bestseller list, but I am aiming to benefit the people who read it.
If I do so, I will be satisfied. It will be a year well spent.
Have a look at a great video clip from NLP master trainer Steve Andreas about guilt.
He gives us some really good reframing: If I’m feeling guilty about something rude I said, I can ask myself “in the moment what was more important – speaking up or being nice? If I acknowledge that I’ve chosen speaking up for myself as more important, then I must be a person who lives my values.”
So I’ve reframed the thought of violating a value in order to satisfy another value to mean I am a person who lives my values. Nice. It’s counterintuitive – an interesting benefit of guilt.
If I”m feeling really guilty about not “being nice” then that means that value is also really important to me. So a values clash can help to clarify what’s important to me. Another benefit of guilt.
Maybe I haven’t learned how to achieve both together yet, but by knowing that both values are important, I can choose to make amends, to show that I’m also ‘nice’. And using ‘intelligent regret’, I can reflect on my behaviour and choose to do something different in the future that combines both values. This gives me problem to solve rather than wallowing in embarrassment. That’s a third benefit of guilt.
In conclusion, guilt is good. Especially if you do something different as a result of it.
Thanks Steve – very helpful.
FOMO – the fear of missing out. Many thanks to Tim Ferriss for the perfect acronym.
I’ve just started a really amazing course and am really wanting to do another great course at the same time. In my heart I know I cannot do them both justice but I’ve been suffering from a FOMO moment – what if I never get the chance again to do the second course? I love that Tim named and crystallised the issue for me!
Choosing is really hard when there are two seemingly equally appealing opportunities, both of which I think will be really beneficial. But if I look really carefully at the FOMO, it’s really a combination of a number of fears, which I can name and then address.
There is a genuine fear of missing the opportunity to learn a new technology that is very exciting – as they may not be accrediting people next year, but I can live with that risk. There’s a fear of paying more – the price is going up quite a lot – but it’s only money, I will just have to work a bit harder to pay it off. There’s a fear of dinting my reputation for ‘keeping my word’ – I’ve said I’d like to do the course, so my friend and the person running the course may now think my word is not reliable – but that means I will need to talk to both of them and explain what’s going on. There’s also a fear of letting my friend down – we were going to buddy up, which would be helpful to both of us – so again I will need to talk with her, but I think she would understand.
Now on the flip side there must be a good acronym for the consequences of saying yes COSY or the consequences of not choosing karefully CONCK as in conking out because I cannot get it all done.
Hmmm. Love to know what you do to address FOMO and how you deal with CONCKing?