I was reading a site called My Life is Average and found this:
“Today, I got distracted from my homework by blowing bubbles. With my pen. And antibacterial handwash.” MLIA.
Amusingly relatable isn’t it?
It reminded me of a 1-on-1 session I had recently with one of my clients.
The day before our session my client had been trying to work on ‘something’ the entire day and he was very disappointed with himself because he let himself continually get distracted.
Among other things he watched the launch of Elon Musks rocket on YouTube.
Not just once.
He told me in no uncertain terms that something is seriously wrong with his attention span and his capacity to focus because this had happened many times before.
He had done some research online and he explained to me in detail how he believed that on a neurobiological level he is wired in such a way that he’s basically incapable of staying focussed on a task.
Except when he’s researching his brain malfunction I guess.
Obviously this was a limiting belief.
I could have pointed this out to him, which is what most motivational coaches would have done.
And like most motivational coaches I could have suggested a regimen of techniques for changing this limiting belief:
Half an hour of affirmations, followed by 10 minutes of visualisations, followed by half an hour of journaling to reconnect with his ‘why’. Preferably while jumping on a trampoline.
Here’s what would have happened, besides my client ending up with a ballpoint in his eye:
He would have gotten himself all pumped up and motivated, he would have gone back to what he was working on… and within 10 minutes he would have been watching another round of YouTube rocket launches.
This would have actually reinforced his limiting belief rather than eliminate it.
Did you notice that I wrote that my client was working on ‘something’?
Turns out he wasn’t really clear on what he was working on. All he had was a general idea of what he wanted to do and then he just dove right in.
Since he hadn’t really decided on a specific outcome, he also hadn’t come up with a plan to reach that outcome. So he was working really hard without seeing the road ahead and without any real way of knowing if he was making progress.
So he got distracted, which inevitably lead to frustration, which lead to more distraction, which lead to even more frustration, which…
Eventually lead to the limiting belief that something was fundamentally wrong with his capacity to focus.
The take home lesson here is that blindly following the advice of me-too motivational coaches might actually make matters worse instead of better.
As an experienced psychologist I know how to look past the deceivingly obvious.
I pick up on the subtle details and I don’t just default to surface level tactics.
I asked my client very specific questions to bring out the real issue. I explained to him in detail what was really going on and then I suggested a specific strategy to handle his focus issue.
He didn’t leave the session all pumped up and motivated.
He left with a clear head.
The next session my client told me had had an amazing week: by applying the specific strategy I had suggested to him he’d gotten more work done in one week than he usually gets done in an entire month.
He also told me that because he now knew that he had a strategy to keep himself focussed, he felt inspired and motivated instead of worried and depressed. Therefore he was no longer being a drag on his family. He even noticed that his wife had started greeting him with a smile instead of the usual bickering when he got home.
I call that spiraling up instead of spiraling down.
Are ready to spiral up and work with a leadership consultant that has over 16 years of experience as a licensed psychologist?
Let’s meet. Let’s talk. Let’s get you there.