How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything
I’ve heard this before, haven’t you? How you do anything is how you do everything. It’s one of those general sayings that is susceptible to “yes, but…” rationalizations. Because we can always focus on the exceptions that hide the truth from us. Until the truth refuses to stay in hiding.
Last fall I was at a workshop in the Pacific Northwest. Twelve wellness and life coaches, four days, and a beautiful light-filled studio, locked and inaccessible to the public without a key card for the elevator. Dare I tell you how many times I raced to meet the assistant who let us in each morning and after lunch?
Every single time she greeted me with a warm smile and a reminder that I was right where I need to be at the right time.
All weekend we explored the spaces where our coaching practices end, our coaching businesses begin, and how our personal lives are entwined. And we asked ourselves if we were also asking of our businesses what we ask of our clients?
In other words, how well do I walk my talk? If you didn’t already know, I coach people through habit change to improve their lives and their health through fitness and nutrition. Got habits? Heck, yeah! RIght?
But something wasn’t working that weekend. I was in a world bestowed with an open graciousness that I could see, feel and appreciate, yet I couldn’t slow down. The old habits of trying to squeeze in too many things wouldn’t rest. One day with a 90-minute lunch break, I thought I had time to grab a bite to eat AND get new shoelaces. When I realized the store didn’t have the right laces, the old ones had already been cut off. The brand I needed was available across town, but I had no time to get there and back…and I now had laceless shoes to walk in. The store graciously loaned me a pair of running shoes for the afternoon, so I sprinted back to the workshop building aggravated, distracted, and a bit late.
The next day I woke up feeling sick. It was early, I was worried, so I called my insurer’s telemedicine line and got a prescription sent to the nearest pharmacy a half-mile away. Planning to pick it up at lunch, I walked and walked and walked, only to wait and wait and wait. A 2-hour lunch break wasn’t long enough for this expedition. And my arrival at the studio was a repeat of the day before plus I was hungry.
The assistant waiting at the elevator offered me her Kind bar.
What’s going on?
As a coach, when something isn’t working for one of my clients, I encourage them to ask how else it might be showing up in their lives. When I turned that question on myself I realized that this scenario plays out over and over again in my personal and professional lives. When my daughter was dependent on me getting her anyplace she would tell me, “Mom, 15 minutes early is 5 minutes late.”
How you do anything reflects the commitments you make to yourself in your life. And are your commitments based on what your ideal self strives for? Or are they based on what your demonstrated self can manage well?
We all have an ideal version of ourselves in our minds, and all too often there is a disconnect between that self and how we show up in the world. If what you want is bold and daring, maybe how you act shows that you’re not quite ready to leave your comfort zone and make a big leap. If you have a vision of yourself as being superwoman (or man), maybe recognizing that running late – and the consequences – is how we start to reckon with only having so many hours in a day to do anything.
Each and every action you take, word you speak, and decision you make contributes to the life you live. Those patterns of actions, words, and decisions form your habits. Habits ALWAYS serve you in some way, whether you like how they feel or not. But waking up to the ones that don’t feel good opens the door for change, one action, one word, one decision at a time.
Change is hard.
We are all human, living wonderfully complicated and messy lives. You never know what anyone else is going through, struggling with or trying to change in their lives. A little graciousness (and a Kind bar) can go a long way in easing someone’s path. A little self-compassion, especially when you’re trying to do the work, is essential. After all, if you’re reading this, you must be in the right place at just the right time. Come on in.
Reflection: Have you noticed anything recently that isn’t working for you? How does it show up in your life?
I know I have some things to work on. We all do. That’s why I created the Healthy Habits Practice Community where we can all learn, share, and grow consistently into healthier habits in a safe, non-judgmental space. Come join the conversations!