This morning I got an email from a gentleman who was asking if he could have a few sessions with me on how to visualise correctly.
Although visualisation can be a powerful addition to one’s self-development toolbox, I was pretty certain that whatever challenges he’s facing, visualisation alone wouldn’t solve it for him.
After years of coaching, I can spot patterns in people’s behaviour quite quickly, and one of the most prevalent patterns is:
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Visualisation is easy. It’s passive, and when someone is reaching for a tool like this as the first choice, they are typically avoiding putting the work in and doing the uncomfortable – and not just in that particular area, in general.
We got on the phone, and it turned out he wanted to visualise being fit and healthy, among other goals.
Here’s a bit of how that conversation went:
Me: You know that the way to get fit and healthy is exercising and eating well, right?
Me: Do you go to the gym?
Him: Well, I will join in August.
Me: It’s the beginning of July now.
Him: I know but you can only start at the beginning of the month.
Me: I seriously doubt it. Even if so, you can go for a run outside and workout in your room.
Him: I do walk.
Me: Let’s schedule the free discovery session, you can tell me more about your situation, and I’m sure we can create a more effective strategy than visualisation. If there are some blocks that are holding you back from taking action, we will handle that on the spot.
Him: Ok I’ll think about it and let you know in a couple of weeks.
Me: (I laughed) Do you usually postpone things for later?
Him: *silence* (which in my experience typically means yes)
Me: I’m not going to push you into it, you need to want to change first.
I texted him a few minutes later saying:
“I see you have a habit of postponing things. You need to start making steps towards your goals. Visualisation won’t break this. Only you can. So, I’m going to push you here and give you only 24 hours to decide whether you want to meet for the free consultation.”
This article is not about visualisation or this gentleman, but about a pattern of behaviour we all have. It’s about the standards we hold, respect and follow.
How we do anything is how we do everything.
When I have a session with a (prospective) client, and we uncover undesirable behaviour, I always ask, “Where else does it show in your life?”
This is often followed by a moment of thinking, then a jaw-drop, and their realisation that it’s a pattern that goes throughout their life. We love consistency because it gives us certainty and makes us feel rooted. When people are inconsistent in their behaviour and habits, they’re typically uneasy or even feel fake and pretentious.
This also applies when people are changing their life for the better. For example, if you were sloppy or lazy, and all of a sudden you start changing your behaviour to being organised and proactive, it may feel exciting, but it may also feel like it’s not you. You may even hear a voice in your head saying things like “What are you playing at? Stop pretending being better than you are! Get in your lane!” and so on. That’s your mind trying to keep you consistent with who you’ve been.
Here’s my practical tip for you.
When you catch yourself acting or reacting in a way you don’t like, pause for a moment and think about where else this behaviour shows up in your life.
Then be brutally honest with yourself and ask yourself: Why do you behave that way? What does it help you avoid doing or facing?
And finally, break the pattern! Think about what would be the first step in changing it, however small. How could you act or react slightly better next time? A tiny step forward every day is better than a huge leap never.
I just got a reply from him:
“Thanks for the phone call. I’m breaking the habit. I’d like to make an appointment for the free consultation one day next week if I can??”
He made the first step towards breaking his pattern.
We’re meeting next week.