I have lost count of the number of times that I have been in discussions with clients and friends where I have used the words ‘it is time to shit or get off the pot’. I’ve had to turn them onto myself on a couple of occasions too.
It has been used to get clients to make decisions about investing money, dealing with errant employees and, in a few cases, firing a key customer. With friends it has been about ending toxic relationships, buying a new car or choosing to take that new job.
I use it when people are stuck. Stuck, that is, between where they are and where they want to be
As a coaching strategy (in the loosest sense of the word) it enables me to bring you to a point where you can choose to stay exactly as you are, or make a change.
It often feels like there are an infinite number of ways for the average human to become stuck. It actually boils down to two.
You get stuck because
- you haven’t made a decision what to do in order to move forward; or
- you made a decision but then didn’t take action
It is usually the latter. Whilst you like to think that you are a considered and analytical decision maker you are not. You make decisions on an emotional level and then spend hours trying to justify your ‘gut feel’ with data. So more often than not you have made a decision but are not taking an action.
As a coach I will show you empathy if you become stuck in this way. But I will also find myself getting frustrated (I am human too) when you come to a decision and instead of seizing the day you go into a procrastination loop. This is a loop of endless dithering, based on the pretence that you haven’t finished making the decision.
The point at which I introduce the option ‘to shit or get off the pot’ requires timing on my part. Too soon and you will make a poor choice that you’ll not go ahead with. Too late and you’ll already have been sucked into your procrastination loop. Once you are in there it can take months, even years, to move you forward.
So here are my five tips for spotting that you have reached a ‘shit or get off the pot moment’.
- You know but you don’t know why you know
When you stop analysing for a minute you know the answer. The problem is that you don’t know why you know so you fall into the procrastination loop. You wont find the answer there.
Almost all decision-making operates below conscious awareness (hence the idea that we make emotional decisions rather than logical ones). As a result decisions often express as ‘felt’ experiences or sensations in the body. Sometimes it is not even possible to put the words together to describe them, but they are as important, if not more so, than the decision making in your head.
This is what ‘gut feel’ or intuition is. It’s the result of processes that are beyond your awareness. It is just as, if not more, trustworthy than your over active imagination.
- You are full of reasons why not
When you reach a decision point that requires an uncomfortable action to be taken (more often than not a difficult conversation) you will start to identify all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t act or all sorts of excuses for why it won’t work or it’s the wrong time.
The longer the gap between decision and action the worse this gets. Once you have made a decision I will, where possible, get you to immediately take an action in support of it.
- The answer is obvious to everyone else
There is no such thing as a problem really. There is a situation and there is a way that you are, relative to it. This can be a mental position, physical position or both.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to be logical in offering solutions to other people’s problems? That’s because you are not looking at it from the same mental and physical perspective as them.
Just telling you what to do will not result in action. Before you will make decisions and take actions you need to have moved your position (or as I like to call it, your grounding) relative to your situation.
- You need to be sure
The paradox of being human is that your primary concern is safety. As a result you view anything that is uncertain as potentially dangerous. Your mind will produce creative doomsday scenarios of what will happen if you take action.
There is no certainty and no amount of analysis will give it to you. All you have in any situation is a balance of probability based on knowledge, your previous experience and the feedback you begin to collect the very minute you take action.
The only guarantee that you have is that if you do nothing then nothing will change for you, but the world around you will continue to evolve.
- You forget how resourceful you are
From the procrastination loop you forget that you have huge mental and physical resources to draw from. You are not able to recall situations where you overcame bigger challenges in the past. Even if you can recall them you will persuade yourself that this time it is different.
In an effort to protect you from the unknown you will think about your limitations and the risk of failure, over your capabilities, strengths and the rewards that success will bring.
Getting beyond the toilet.
When I hear or notice these patterns of language and behaviour I know that you have probably decided what you want to do and I can focus my energies on helping you get past whatever is blocking you from taking action.
The path of least resistance to whatever it is you really want is always there. It doesn’t have to be the most comfortable path but it is the quickest and easiest one. It often involves difficult conversation or actions that don’t feel natural or enjoyable, but when the alternative is to leave things as they are, how does that feel for you?
Every adventure has to start with a decision. A decision to step through the bonds of what feels safe and familiar and tread a new path. It can be so simple to start that ball rolling. This quote sums up my own experiences and that of my clients and friends when the step is taken:
“Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. “ ANON
But when you think about it what is scarier?
Staying where you are and living with the ‘what-if’ or taking the leap into what might be?
I have never regretted making the leap but I have plenty of regrets for when I didn’t.
How about taking an hour to figure out how to move forward and if you are ready to move forward? You can book one here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take care of the rest.Share