The One Thing That Stops You

Many times there is just one thing standing in the way of making a change you want. Often it’s so “in your face” that it’s hard to see. Let me share two quick stories to illustrate this.

I was born with some innate musical talent and started piano lessons at an early age. As I grew taller, the elementary school music teacher matched me up with a cello, which became my primary instrument for many years. I also picked up guitar along the way, both finger picking and classical styles. And banjo.

During college, as a wide-eyed idealist, my focus turned to more “serious” topics like social injustice and the environment. While I still listened to a lot of recorded music, my music playing dropped away.

As I got into my late 30’s and into my 40’s even the listening dropped away. It happens to many of us – we get so focused on our businesses and careers that many of the things that make life sweet and enjoyable take “second fiddle” – pun intended!

How could I – a very musical person – have almost no music in my life? This year I have a triple theme. I call it my “M to the third power” or “3M” year. One of the M’s stands for music. (If you want to know what the other two are, give me a call and I’d be happy to share!) I have an electronic keyboard which I have enjoyed playing, yet the dust on it has betrayed how little I had been using it.

With my musical theme for the year, I suddenly realized the obvious: I needed more sheet music. While I had three music books which I liked, I needed more variety and some new things to learn and enjoy playing.

So I got a number of music books and it seems magical to me that I have now been playing every night. Could it really be that simple – that I needed more sheet music? Apparently so.

In my work, I make sure to focus on my clients’ inner attitudes and beliefs, as well as their external situations. In this example of my playing music again, while it did start with an internal commitment to get music back into my life, the one thing standing in my way was actually external.

Another example of identifying and changing the one thing that stops you is a client of mine who is a successful executive. She wanted to be even more productive at work and we figured out what her “one thing” was. Instead of checking email first thing in the morning, which inevitably ended up taking an hour of her time, she switched and spent the first hour on prioritizing her day’s activities and getting started on the top ones. She still spent an hour on email, but just doing it after her “top priorities hour” was a huge shift for her and made a big difference in her day. This doesn’t mean this is the best way for everyone, but for her, she felt so much more in control and productive.

So where are you committed to making a change in your life? Take a look to see what could be the one inner attitude, belief, process or missing tool that may be holding you back from a more authentic and fulfilling personal and professional life.

© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media

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