Be your own coach

If you’re berating yourself for making a mistake, it can be helpful to ask yourself the question: “If my friend made this mistake, how would I respond?” Most often, you’d treat your friend with more kindness than yourself. Asking yourself this question gives you perspective.

Similarly, if I’m stuck — lacking direction, feeling unmotivated or indecisive — it can help to ask myself, “If my friend came to me with this problem, how would I help them?”

You can be your own coach. Simply asking yourself this question gives you some perspective; often, that’s all you need to bust through what’s blocking you.

A personal example: I just finished up a major, time-consuming project: getting my solo show edited and on a DVD with a nice menu. I’m proud of the result, but it took me over two weeks of constant work to get it done: now I’m completely disconnected from what my show needs next, not to mention my other projects.

I took a 2 day break so that I could look at the show with fresh eyes. But when I sat down with the project this morning, I was  overwhelmed with questions: Do I work on this, or this, or that? How can I balance performing/creating with marketing myself? Can I afford to focus all my time on my show, or do I need to be thinking primarily about my next freelance paycheck?

Fortunately, I’ve done this enough to recognize the problem. To get perspective and breakthrough this block, I did 3 things:

  • Conversed with friends: Often my friends have excellent insights into my problem. More often, the simple act of talking about my plans outloud to someone who’s willing to listen gives me clarity.
  • Wrote in my journal: Again, externalizing all of my thoughts is key. The advantage of writing is I can vomit it out without worrying whether I’m making sense, than review  what I’ve written for patterns. Also, there is something about writing pen on paper that helps me dig deeper.
  • Got perspective: Asked myself, “If a friend came up to me with this problem, what would I tell them?

Now it’s lunchtime and I have 2 sets on plans: one for my show and one for my day job. My next steps are clear: After lunch, I can go and start taking action on them.

Be your own coach: Where are you stuck right now? If a friend came up to you with your problem, what would you recommend they do?



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