by Certified Life Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
“What is the area of least satisfaction in your life?” is one way many of my coaching sessions begin with my clients. Now that it’s a new agent’s year and new goals are being set, many of my clients answer "I want to achieve some really big things this year, but don't know how to be consistent in my practice. I can only keep things going for a stretch at a time and then the wheels fall off,” they sigh. “I keep repeating this same pattern,” the client adds.
If you're like many of my clients you may notice that black-and-white thinking can quickly lead you to being either on or off like a light switch. This type of thinking is like going on a crash diet. If it's all on or it’s all off. When the light switch is off activity comes to a halt, distorted thinking leads to beliefs that don’t serve your practice or your goals and the struggle begins. When you do manage to flick the switch back on, it is a mighty struggle to stay “on."
Let's remove the on/off switch and find a new way! Add some consistency to a practice by first showing yourself compassion. Are you being a harsh critic? Are you barking out orders all the time and wonder why you can’t bring yourself to keep going after a while? You are a human being, and not a robot! Start by taking a deep breath and know that anything you do is going to be more effective in a more relaxed state.
Next, try a new perspective called Eagle vision—it is the ability to see your future goals with great focus. Now add Mouse vision: switch your focus to what is right in front of you, putting all of your attention on it. The ability to toggle back and forth between these two perspectives will be the new tool that will help you achieve your goals in a realistic, calm way.
Write down your agent’s year Eagle vision goals:
Level— (for example Forum, Lives Leaders Summit, MDRT, etc.)
Now, shift your perspective to mouse vision. Compare your Eagle vision to what you’re doing today. Ask yourself: “Do the two things line up along the same trajectory? Is the smallest action you are taking moving you toward any of your ultimate objectives?” writes author and life coach Dr. Martha Beck in “The Joy Diet.” (Dr. Beck trains and certifies the Unleash Your Practice coaches.) Some actions point directly toward your goal (phoning, prospecting, seeing clients, doing case notes promptly, following up on case open inventory). Others are less direct but necessary mousy maintenance behaviors so that you can achieve the Eagle vision (going to the dentist, getting an oil change, picking up dry cleaning). If you find your mousy maintenance behaviors shifting to activities that don’t line up with Eagle vision (spending too much time doing admin, wasting time online, chatting with others about the business but not in a productive way, etc) then the mouse has taken over and wandered off course. You can correct this all along the way by toggling frequency back and forth between Eagle and Mouse vision. Course correct and keep moving toward your goals.
“Playing the martyr by doing maintenance work that keeps you eternally away from your Eagle goals may be your way of dodging the scary, exhilarating work of your real career,” writes Beck. Is this happening in your practice? Toggle to adjust in any moment. Look up from Facebook or ESPN.com and see that it’s not your Eagle vision and make a different choice in any moment.
A mouse can never go too far off the path as long as you continue to check your Eagle vision. By taking Mouse steps all the way to Forum or Lives Leaders Summit or MDRT you can make adjustments frequently and have fluctuations from day to day or from hour to hour and never have the wheels fall off again. You can consistently perform ridiculously easy steps toward the big picture.
The beauty of Mouse steps is that they are very achievable, forgiving, and sustainable for a long period of time. There will be no burst of overwork followed by a collapse. The Mouse just keeps making steady progress with some days being better than others that level out in the end.
“Reminding yourself to keep adjusting your behavior in light of the distant scene is what helps you…assure that [actions] take you toward your ultimate purpose with a minimum of waste and effort,” writes Beck.
What is your Eagle vision? What is the first ridiculously easy Mouse step you can take right now toward it? Okay…it’s just one mouse foot in front of the other. You can do it.
Coaching Tip Think really, really big when writing your Eagle vision. Then, write down the first several really, really small mousy stops you can do right now to move closer to the Eagle vision.. Cut it in half if you can’t do it right in this moment. Keep cutting the step in half again and again until you can. Now that’s a mouse step!