Why should you take small steps to effect lasting changes in your life? Chinese philosophy comes up with the answer – If you want to be fast, go slow – Dalida explores the reasons why.
Somebody asked me recently: how come you don’t have a ‘big’ name to project your business and attract people with the grandeur? As it usually goes together, presenting oneself big implies that there will great results. My ego was attacked (I thought) and I felt the usual twist in my stomach while bravely defending the name of Small Steps. I talked about having a logo that ‘looks big’, about a Chinese name that ‘sounds big’ and then I came to the philosophy of small steps and what it really means. I thought of Lao Tze’s wisdom: “If you want to be fast, go slow” and it all fell into place as Chinese philosophy once again supplied a solid explanation in just one line. Why Small Steps? It is understandable that people perceive their own problems as huge obstacles that can’t be overcome easily, otherwise they wouldn’t contact a coach for assistance. Clients often come to me and ask for some great miracle that will take away the great burden that they have. And it is only natural that a coach may sway with the clients’ perspective and indeed suggest great changes when listening and asking questions. However, a sudden big change can induce an avalanche of stress and confusion, emotional reactions start exploding like a newly awakened volcano, while the person is trying to pick up on the new challenges that these changes bring. To put it simply I’ll quote the famous proverb: “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it!” Recently I worked with a client interested in changing their career, which would be a big change that they had been striving towards for a long time. Understandably, there was a dose of fear preventing them from moving forward. I generally believe that people can follow their dreams and money will come effortlessly, but suggesting such a jump to this client would mean working with a large fear factor and crossing many boundaries heading straight for the risk zone. Instead, the client created a financial plan and visualized their desired future in which they were ready to leave their current work and start with a new profession. The client is ready for the change when their confidence increases, in the meantime you ask yourself (and them) what is the smallest step that they could make to demonstrate that they are moving toward the desired future. Keep adding steps like polishing a sculpture before you are ready to show it to the world. With changes taken in small steps we create a ripple effect: one after the other more changes follow and initiate the creation of lasting positive change. These changes may include changes of attitude, adjustment of beliefs, even something as simple as clearing your working space to create more clarity in how to manage your time and work efficiently. As Insoo Kim Berg and Peter Szabo in “Brief Coaching for Lasting Solutions” say: ”Just having a map of where we want to go is the first step of a thousand-mile journey. Since the next step of carrying out the plan depends on the client, and not on the coach, the next phase of discussion must center on what the client needs to do to carry out which step first and what comes second, third, and so on.
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