Perseverance Pays Off
Coaches expect their clients to be learners. And they are. Curious experimenters who are ready and willing to break through barriers in themselves, their work and their lives. We challenge our clients to engage in practices to strengthen new muscles and experiment: trying new things, not knowing what the outcome will be. Being a recipient of coaching is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, perseverance, trust and more.
I know how it feels.
For the last several months (and years) I have been going through a process of growth and learning. I’ve been asking for feedback, making shifts and receiving coaching. The practice that is guiding much of my learning is writing. And I’ve been doing it a lot.
Writing can feel like a chore. Especially in the beginning when it’s awkward.
Other times less so.
After sticking with it, I discovered two reasons for writing:
- Writing is a conversation with myself for myself.
- Writing is a conversation with others for them and for me.
Writing for myself…is an opportunity to reflect, synthesize, distill and clarify my own ideas, impressions and feelings. Writing is strategic. It’s proactive. It helps me set the tone for my day, my week, my month. It also helps me digest or process past conversations or situations that were difficult thus freeing me up to move forward.
When I share my writing…it becomes an invitation for conversation. Posting strings of words, and woven sentences on various platforms or by email sets the stage for conversations I want to have. I’m proactively setting the table and choosing the topic for discussion. Taking the lead in conversation is much different from listening to or responding to conversations that others have initiated.
The by-product of initiating the conversation and sharing the writing is I become an author. Authors are inevitably known for the topics they write about. Author = Expert. This makes it more likely that others look to me to engage on these types of conversations.
As with all practices, there are challenges and obstacles along the way.
“Why am I doing this?” This thought can persist, especially in the beginning when no clear reward is there.
Lots of blah blah blah…dribbles out over the page. (so be it!)
The way you articulate your thoughts may be clear to you, less clear to others.
If you share your writing with others in a noisy world, it can be difficult for others to even see, let alone engage and converse with you. I’ve written many things that I thought were brilliant yet nothing but crickets when I posted it online. This is part of the practice of writing. Not to be discouraged or to stop just because the world isn’t responding the way you want them to.
I have been writing for about 12 years, maybe 15.
7 years ago I decided to write a book. The book is still in progress. This is why the title of this post includes both words: perseverance and practice.
The Payoff in Short and Long Term
You might choose to write for personal or professional reasons.
For me, the personal benefits of writing came quickly. My morning writing ritual of writing three full pages created a healthy boundary for “me time”. Time to go inward and reflect. Writing helped me increase my EQ: identify difficult emotions I wasn’t aware of, naming them, better digesting my day. As I let my hand scribble across the page there might be gibberish and there might also be moments where I connect the dots and gain clarity for how I wanted to spend my time. Over time it also helped me increase my somatic intelligence (SQ) as I observed patterns in my body and how they correlated to thoughts and emotions.
For my clients who use writing as a practice, in two weeks they started seeing benefits like “feeling more grounded” or “clearer priorities.”
Within a month of writing the benefits started to bleed into professional benefits:
Because I spent time reflecting and going inward before engaging with others, I became more thoughtful and purposeful about the conversations I would have that day and how I’d need to frame those conversations, what context would I provide, and what questions would I need to come in with. I would spend time thinking about what the most important goal was for the day or the week and in doing so would get less sidetracked by emails or requests for my time that weren’t the greatest or highest use of my energy.
Over the years, the primary benefits of my writing practice have been clarity, focus and calm.
As I continue to write — because yes, I’m still practicing! — I’m interested in writing for credibility, community and conversation.
If you are considering writing as a practice, which of these would be the reason why?
- Do you need to be more proactive rather than reactive with your day?
- Do you need to have better boundaries and get clear on what your needs are before everyone else’s needs pile on?
- Do you need a tool to help you process and move through tough emotions? Do you need to increase EQ?
- Do you need more clarity, more focus? Do you need to be more strategic about your time and energy?
- Do you need to gain credibility in your field?
- Do you want a wider audience to have access to the knowledge, experience, or perspective that you offer?
- Do you want others to connect with you based on your particular areas of knowledge or expertise?
If you answer yes to one or more above…
And if you choose to start, would you be willing to do so with out any immediate reward?
How long are you willing to engage before any or all of these payoffs are realized?
Writing is a powerful practice. It requires almost no investment other than time and consistency. For those willing to persevere in a practice of writing, the rewards are plenty. If you are brand new to writing I encourage you to read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way and start doing morning pages each day.
#executive coaching #emotional intelligence #somatic intelligence #writing practice #leadership #perserverance #creativity