When the stairs feel too steep to climb…
We’ve all had those moments. We decide to do something different, maybe something quite big; perhaps it’s a long-term game plan.
We set off on the journey of making things change, and then… We get STUCK.
I’m currently away in the Med with a client working on some content. We booked an apartment in the heart of the old city. I didn’t entirely read all the descriptions when I booked. I was hooked on the stunning photos of the breathtaking rooftop views across the old city, taking in the stunning centuries-old architecture, the sight out to sea and into the Marina, and seeing all the pretty boats.
On arrival, I opened the entry door from the most stunning cobbled street – to look up a sheer incline of stairs.
FIVE FLIGHTS of stairs.
I had missed that bit in the description of the apartment.
I nearly turned around a booked into a nearby hotel.
I nearly didn’t bother schlepping my luggage – all 30kgs of it – up the stair.
I nearly gave up on the good stuff.
Every time I ascended and descended those stairs this week, I’ve thought about clients and the people I work with within my role as strategist, consultant and coach.
We come up with ideas to grow their business and careers.
They can see the vision and are wrapped up and excited about the outcomes they’ll get when it all comes together.
We get started, it gets hard, we get through the first hard.
The projects get traction, then we hit another stumbling block – and then it all feels too much – and they want to give up.
I have seen people have INCREDIBLE ideas and an expansive vision.
But not want to ascend and descend the stairs
over again to get the great stuff.
How often have you been excited about a great idea – and given up when it gets tricky?
How often have you let somebody talk you out of something because they are terrified and their risk tolerance is different from yours?
How many times have you let yourself out of having to do hard things to get the vision and the big dreams you want?
How many times have you decided you’re not enough; good enough, clever enough, attractive enough – to get the outcome?
When the stairs feel too steep to climb here are three ways to keep going when a project gets tough:
“Why did I decide this was a great idea?”
Have your answers ready in advance. Get into the detail, and draft out the numbers for the project (we always need a draft and a forecast of numbers). When it gets rough, and you need to dig deep for your grit – you need to remember the outcomes this project delivers. Go way beyond what it does just for you. Think about how it serves the broader people; what are the positives for the people your project will help?
Habit stack that you move forward, always moving forward
Sometimes we start projects, and they need to change, be worked on, and deviate from the initial plan – that’s what strategy is about, being open to thinking on your feet. We keep working on the initial vision and the project, so we are always moving forward toward the finish line. The brain and body need to know we can do hard things, building resilience as we go.
All successful people from all works of life with different projects and big dreams have had to overcome
seriously tough times. Many of those people have a person of neutrality in their support crew. A consultant, coach, strategist, the person they can jam with, talk about their fears. In a non-judgmental space, work out what to do next, talk about why they want to give in. How to rebuild the habit stack, reshape the project for the subsequent best outcome, and dig into why they started in the first place. To be held accountable.
We need to get into the habit of digging deep, reaching deep for that grit, and finding the bravery and courage that takes us on a path that can potentially change our careers, lives, and the lives of the people we serve.