Dear Friends and Clients,

When Sandra started the coaching process, she had been doing the same work in the same way for years, and she was long overdue for a promotion. She was bored and disengaged at the office, and yet she was reluctant to change anything. She refused to try anything new because she feared that one false step would push that promotion back even further.

Although Sandra was resisted change in her approach to work, she recognized that she needed the kind of energy that positive change can bring. So our plan was that she would look at other realms of her life, and would find options for making changes only indirectly related to her day job.

Sandra looked at the patterns in her social life, her fitness regimen, her wardrobe even her spiritual life. And she identified small modifications that might yield a big impact in her routines. She started really moving when she recruited a friend to launch a similar change process. Working together and supporting each other, they cleared out closets; found new clothes and hairstyles; tried new hobbies; and explored different kinds of networking activities.

As Sandra moved forward on her personal mini-makeover, she found that work was becoming less tedious and that she was less afraid to experiment. One day her bosses congratulated her on her new enthusiasm and her refreshing willingness to consider alternative ways of doing things. They told her that they had been reluctant to promote her because she was so set in her ways, but that her recent burst of energy was giving them a better sense of her potential.

Sandra did get that promotion. And along the way she found that if you can’t see how to move forward in one aspect of your life you can stimulate movement by making changes where change seems easiest. And that is what I’ll discuss in this issue.

Warm Wishes, Bev

Boxed In At Work?
Break Out of the Box By
Changing Other Parts of Life

August 4, 2009 * Number 108

A famous coach once told colleagues that when a client is bogged down at work an easy way to get him moving is to have him clean his garage. Explanations vary, but many experts have observed that if you can stimulate change in one sphere of your life, the process tends to spread, leading to change even where you don’t expect it.

What if you want to stimulate that healthy change process but don’t know where to begin? A good way to get started is to identify key areas of your life, and then find at least one change target in each area. Look for low hanging fruit. In other words, examine your routines, seeking small modifications that might yield big results.

For example, you might look at different parts of your routine and decide that, for a month, you will (1) walk at least a mile every day, (2) set up at least one lunch or other social date each week, and (3) meditate for five minutes a day. At the end of the month, evaluate your experience and consider whether to continue the program, expand upon it, or try some other innovations.

You may have your own way of visualizing your life, breaking it into different sectors. But if you aren’t sure where to begin your search for easy changes, consider this outline and series of questions:
  • Health, fitness and grooming.
    • Do you have an exercise routine? If so, how can you make it more effective? If not, what would be an easy way to get started?
    • Are you overdue on any routine medical checkups?
    • How is your nutrition? Is there one food like French fries that you’d be willing to give up forever?
    • Are there areas where you would like to learn more about how to take great care of yourself?

  • Physical environment.
    • Is your home or office bogged down with clutter?
    • Are there things that should be repaired?
    • Is it time to redecorate or reorganize?
    • Can you buy or make something that would make your space more enjoyable?

  • Money.
    • Are your finances well organized?
    • Are you saving at a good rate?
    • Are there other ways to save, earn or effectively spend money?

  • Social life, family and community.
    • Do you want to broaden your social routine? Would you like to meet new people or deepen relationships you already have?
    • Are you ready to broaden your circle through new groups or activities?
    • Is it time give back by volunteering or mentoring others?
    • Would new rituals add fun or depth to your romantic life?

  • Learning, fun and adventure.
    • Is it time to plan a vacation? Or even a great weekend getaway?
    • Are there courses you’d like to take? Or books you want to read?
    • Is there something that you have always wanted to try, like act in a play or climb a mountain?

  • Profession.
    • Is there one small thing that could make this career more satisfying?
    • Would little changes increase your productivity?
    • Is it time to start preparing for the career after this one?

  • Spiritual life
    • Do you have a prayer, meditation or other routine that helps you to feel grounded and connected?
    • Do you feel in touch with your own values?
    • Is there some aspect of your life that is not aligned with your core beliefs?
    • Are you taking responsibility for being happy?

Want more ideas for managing your career? In addition to providing executive coaching, Bev is available to speak about a broad range of issues related to your work life. Visit her website at or email to Bev directly. Bev is associated with Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates.

Bev’s Tips for a Better Work Life is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month by Beverly E. Jones of ClearWays Consulting, LLC. Bev is a lawyer and former executive who now coaches accomplished executives and other professionals to bring new direction, energy and enjoyment to their work lives.

Copyright ©2009, ClearWays Consulting, LLC & Beverly E. Jones

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