As far back as I can remember, I’ve been someone who enjoyed being engaged in a range of interests. I’ve always loved learning on a wide variety of topics and developing skills and mastery in many different areas.
During my high school years, I found myself taking part in competitive gymnastics, cheerleading, the social committee, the high school newspaper, holding the position of secretary on our Student Council, and continuing to skate in my spare time.
One day as I was rushing about between things, my mother suggested I consider taking on less. In typical teenage fashion, I asked why. “Jack of all trades, master of none,” she replied. In hindsight, I sort of agree with her now…and I still sort of don’t.
Every day I draw from what is now a deep well of experiences, training, education, and insights to be able to provide the most powerful, effective transformation and growth to the clients and organizations I work with. I have no regrets for the road I’ve travelled and the skills I’ve attained. Sorry, mom.
What I do believe my mother was right about was the importance of being focused. I used to pride myself on being a great multi tasker, especially when I worked in film production. The number and complexity of tasks I juggled on a daily basis for twelve, fifteen, and often more than twenty hours at a time is almost unbelievable…at least, I thought I was multi-tasking.
I realize, in hindsight, I produced results at a high level because I focused on one task at a time as often as possible. I was just doing it at a very fast pace. My mother’s concern is understandable. She wanted me to be successful. When I asked her back then what it was I was not doing well, she was silent. I was excelling in school and at all of my activities. I was able to excel at a lot because I was excellent at focusing on the activity I was engaged in at any given moment. I believe being a child athlete helped me to develop that strength.
What’s does this have to do with compliance and behavior change? A lot, actually. We are more successful creating new behaviors when we:
- Choose one new behavior to focus on
- Add that behavior into our day (including scheduling it)
- Observe what contributes to our success with it when we stay on track and complete it
- Note what obstacles get in our way on days we don’t hit our goal
- Make adjustments based on what we learn from our successes and our not-so-successful moments
- Get support from others
- Add in a second new behavior once we are feeling confident about the first one
Yes, mom, being focused on the task at hand is critical. I believe this was what you were trying to instill in me in that moment because you wanted me to do well in life.
By drawing on my training as a professional athlete, filmmaker, and high performance coach, I’m able to help people understand how to take the changes and outcomes they want to create and successfully make them. Identifying stressors that distract, setting priorities, and creating achievable action plans that help integrate new behaviors in a sustainable way requires a focused, organized, and consistent approach.
Mom’s notion to not take on more than what you can do well was sage advice. Yes, we can make many changes in a short period of time with the right strategy…the trick is one thing of many things at a time.
What’s one thing you can do differently today…and, consistently, throughout the week to create a new, healthier behavior that is important for you to be able to achieve your goals?
Recommended Resource: If fear stops you, check out this article on one thing you can do to overcome it. I love this as it focuses on one step to take making it manageable and achievable.