Shift Happens

Little things can make big differences. For example, by adding one letter, that tired out saying “Sh*t happens” becomes “Shift happens.” Shift is a favorite concept among coaches. What we want for our clients is not only accomplishing certain outer goals, but also creating huge inner shifts in consciousness, awareness, beliefs and attitudes, because this is where permanent change really occurs.

One of my small business consulting services clients, I’ll call him Jack, had a great shift last week (and he gave me permission to share the story with you). He’s a top-level management consultant and has been feeling quite frustrated with the current work he’s doing for a major client — specifically his ability to make a meaningful impact while honoring an emerging sense of his own true gifts, skills and values .

Meanwhile, a non-profit organization he is involved with asked him to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board for the coming year, leading them through a strategic planning process. Jack was weighing whether he could justify the time for this non-paying effort.

The next day, he experienced an “ah-ha” shift: the strategic planning work excited him and here was a group that wanted his expertise. He realized he had been letting the non-paying, volunteer nature of this opportunity affect his opinion about its value.

Then he remembered he’d been similarly approached in two other situations in the last 90 days that had called on his expertise by charitable groups. In every case, these opportunities were ones he wanted to do and had agreed to do — but he was feeling anxious about the way in which they were “interrupting” his efforts to refocus his work toward projects that carried more meaning for him. That night he realized that by saying yes to these, he would be doing work he was excited about, where he was fully valued. This would relieve the pressure he had put on his paid consulting work to meet all his internal needs.

The shift was in his realization that his satisfaction could come from many areas. His shift allows other opportunities to arise from that volunteer work. If we dismiss what the universe presents to us, we may be cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Jack now finds his energy level to be significantly renewed, all through the power of this shift.

Another client, I’ll call her Joanna, (who also gave me permission to use her story) is a talented professional service provider, just starting her second year of business. Joanna was having trouble when speaking with prospective clients. She would be excited about the prospect of additional income, but then felt bad because she felt the money should not be her primary motivator.

Her shift came when she adopted a 2-step model I suggested of integrity first, needs second. First, she sees if this client is one she feels she could truly help, and if so, she can then work to sign up this prospect and gain the income that would follow. This simple separation gave her great relief and a solid action plan.

Keep open to your own shifts, and let me know of the next great one you experience.

© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media

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