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February 27, 2015

Hello, Trailblazer!

This past Saturday my younger son participated in a tae kwon do tournament as a contestant (forms and sparring) and as a judge. He and I also helped take loads of equipment from the martial arts school to the tournament venue the night before and then return it the evening after.

Martial arts is a great metaphor for the power of consistent steps over time. Becoming a black belt takes years of hard work, but it’s accomplished one class at a time. In fact, although I don’t train in tae kwon do, I can confidently tell any new white belt student that if she just continues training and learning on a regular basis, she will eventually earn a black belt. One class at a time is easy to do. Well, unless it’s one of Master George’s cardiac workouts!

Setting up and tearing down the tournament rings was a great metaphor, too. There were pages of lists of all the equipment and gear, instructions on how to set up the areas, and several loads of items from different rooms and storage areas to move. Looking at it all from the beginning was daunting. It seemed incredibly hard to pull it off. However, once a lot of people with trucks and SUVs showed up and helped load and unload, it became pretty easy for each one of us.

The article this month is about seeing things as “hard” or “easy.” We can’t take a truly hard task and magically make it easy. But we can choose our focus to find an easy way to accomplish a hard goal.

May you be agile on the trail,

Stephen Coxsey, MA, LPC, PCC
Positive Psychology Coach
Leadership Development

Feature Article: What’s Hard? What’s Easy

A common theme that shows up for most, if not all, of my clients is self-criticism because things that seem so easy for other people are hard for them to do. “Hard” means anything they perceive as challenging, such as tedium, requiring long hours, requiring multiple revisions, requiring lots of practice, facing the potential embarrassment of critical feedback, and so on. “Easy” means those challenges don’t show up, or they can move through them with agility.

There are many reasons for this, chief among them comparing someone else’s action to one’s own inner struggle. This is expressed in phrases like, “Don’t compare someone else’s outside to your inside,” or “Don’t compare someone else’s opening night to your dress rehearsal.” The key idea is that we don’t see the other person struggling before taking steps or between steps because their thoughts and feelings are the challenge.

That’s very important. Since the struggle is internal, it’s based in part on perception. Perception can be shifted with a different perspective. Consider these different perspectives and how they shift energy and motivation.

Shredding hundreds of pages of old files and paperwork one page at a time is hard. Shredding twenty sheets today is easy.

Taking fifteen minutes one morning to review your calendar and to-do list to plan out your day is easy. Changing your established morning ritual and adding the fifteen-minute planning time as a consistent new habit is hard.

The first time you ever get up in front of a group to speak is hard. When you have been leading group meetings for a year, it’s easy.

Using your imagination to create the life you want to have is easy. Following a long-term plan to turn that vision into reality is hard.

Completing a lengthy writing project, like a novel or a dissertation, is hard. Writing for an hour a day is easy.

Getting excited about someone else’s audacious goal and believing it’s a worthy idea is easy. Staying excited about your own audacious goal and continuing to believe it’s a worthy idea is hard.

Starting out on a self-led adventure, like starting a business or changing careers, with no support is hard. Moving forward as part of a community of self-led adventurers is easy.

Committing evening time to taking virtual classes and studying is hard. Flipping on a reality television show is easy.

Looking back at what you have accomplished in the past ten years since receiving your degree or certification is easy. Looking back with regret at what you didn’t bother to do is hard.

Application: Focusing on the details, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. When details are challenging, shift your perspective to the long-term vision and why it calls you in order to engage your motivation. On the other hand, seeing a large, complicated project all at once can be daunting. If the size and scope of what you are doing is weighing you down, narrow your focus to the next step in front of you.

Question: Think of one thing that seems hard to you right now that you know will bring you benefit in the long run. How can you shift that so it becomes easy?

About Steve Coxsey

Steve partners with people who have a compelling vision and are committed to turning it into reality. They carry the responsibility for results, whether it’s leading organizations, running their businesses, advancing their careers, or guiding their families. Often it’s a combination of roles that compete for their time and attention.

Through coaching and training powered by neuroscience and positive psychology – the science of thriving – Steve’s clients design and implement a customized plan for success, well-being, and fulfillment, both for the clients themselves and the people they lead and influence. They develop motivation, agility, endurance, and resilience to thrive on a personally meaningful path and instill a culture of thriving in the communities they lead.

Steve helps his clients develop self-leadership so they can express the best of who they are in how they act and what they do. He encourages them to cultivate their strengths and talents so they can take ownership of their productivity and creativity.

As a result, they excel in their work and grow as leaders. They become powerful, breaking free of other people’s boxes and cubicles. The live and work in alignment with who they really are, defining success in terms of their own values, beliefs, and purpose. They have a vision for the future based on their core values and principles and can bring their vision to life through leadership.

Would you like that to be you?

Are you ready for a creative, dynamic, collaborative partnership focused on turning your vision into results?

Get started with a no-risk 30-40 minute consultation. It’s complimentary, so all it will cost you is a little bit of time. You can schedule the complimentary call using this online tool. You can also call 817-416-8971 or e-mail Steve@SteveCoxsey.com to set up the call.

Click here for more information than you could possibly ever want to know about Steve.

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