Sometimes focusing on the bigger picture (and taking the focus off ourselves) helps us to perform better.
Once, when I was pacing the hall outside a conference room (where I was about to deliver some presentation training to a group of super-intelligent doctors), a colleague said to me, “Just remember; we’re here to help, not to impress.”
That changed everything for me. My nerves calmed, my focus shifted and I went on to deliver a very good workshop.
Often when we’re challenged to step up to the next level in our personal or working lives we focus very much on ourselves. We fret about all the ways we could mess up, humiliate ourselves or fail.
This focus on ‘self’ can quickly spiral out of control and stop us from taking action or performing at our best. It’s amazing what can happen when we shift our focus away from self-absorption and towards service.
Think about it: the majority of what we do in our working lives (and often our personal lives) is about serving someone else. We’re delivering value (in the form of products / services / advice / care) in exchange for money, recognition or reciprocity. Consultants deliver their best in service of their clients. Performers deliver their best in service of their audience. Teachers deliver their best in service of their students. Parents deliver their best in service of their children.
Whilst I’m a big fan of the ego (it’s human, it’s necessary and it’s best to work with, not against it — more of that in another article), taking it out of this sort of equation makes things much simpler. There is so much freedom in giving up the need to be impressive (or to be praised, or to be better than someone else, or to be liked…) and JUST making it about serving others.
Suddenly we can focus on doing a great job.
Consider a personal challenge (or comfort-zone-stretch) in terms of what the outcome might be for others. Is what you’re doing going to be of service to others? Write down your challenge and write down how you can be of service to the best of your ability whilst doing this. What are your options to help you shift your focus so that it’s all about the value you’re delivering (and less about your ego)? Consider what might happen to the people in questions if you don’t do this thing for them.
Doing the exercises on my website could help you to move closer to your goals and improve your life. Sometimes we all need a little help, though … and self-coaching may not be enough. Friends and family might not always be able (or willing) to give you the support you need, and they may also be resistant to change.
A session with a professional life coach can help you to figure out what you really want … and how to go about getting it. Having someone on your side who will gently hold you accountable, and root for your success, can boost your confidence and make the process of change faster and more satisfying.
Whether it’s one-to-one or group coaching you’re drawn to, please get in touch with me to discuss options.