Progress Stalled Out? Here’s How to Reach Your Goals Faster (Without Burning Out)

 

In all of my research into productivity, personal and professional growth, and coaching, I’ve found two general schools of thought when it comes to making progress on something: 

 

  1. Slow and steady wins the race. 
  2. Go Big or Go Home. 

 

But the more I work with my own coaching clients (and honestly, the more I experiment with and tweak my own methods of reaching goals) the more I have come to realize that there is a (forgive the “overused in 2021” term) Hybrid option that yields better results. 

 

It’s in this in-between space that the magic happens. 

 

 

You see, for a lot of people, if they take the slow and steady approach, they will waste their time on all of the tiny, inconsequential things first. Making them feel like they are moving forward, when, in fact, they are still treading water. 

 

  • When you spend an entire day designing and ordering business cards instead of getting on the phone and getting your first client. 

 

  • When you buy new workout gear, but don’t have time to stop at the gym.  

 

And then some clients go for option no. 2 before they have any kind of long-term vision or clarity. 

 

  • They buy ALL the tech equipment–most of which they won’t end up needing or using

 

  • They join a gym for the first time and sign up for 1-hour personal training sessions 5 days a week right off the bat. 

 

  • They quit their job thinking they’ll figure it out later because they have to–The “Burn the Ships” mentality. 

 

The first group is never going to get off of 1st base, and the 2nd group is going to burn out before the end of the 1st inning. 

This magical unicorn of a 3rd option? 

 

THE MINI-LEAP 

 

 

The first step is to lay out what you want to accomplish. That’s the easy part. [Editor’s note: if this is where you’re stuck, there’s a worksheet for you at the end of this post that will help you gain that clarity!] Once you have that, write down the top 3 things you need to have in place in order to succeed. These are Big, Giant Things. 

Let’s take me writing a book as an example. What do I need to have in place for my book to be a success? 

 

  1. I need to write it. 
  2. I need to have a way to publish it. 
  3. I need to have people who will buy it. 

 

None of those are tasks I can do quickly, but if I move too slowly in any of those areas, the project will never launch. 

The next step is for me, right now, from where I am, to ask myself: What is the immediate next level up in each of these areas? In other words, what would take me significantly closer to those 3 goals in say, 1-2 weeks? 

 

  1. Decide on the structure of, and write the outline of the book
  2. Reach out and have conversations with 5 people in my network who have published books, and ask them how they did it. Decide which way I want to go. 
  3. Create a new lead magnet to add the names of new-to-me folks who are interested in the general topic of my book to my email list. 

 

I can break each of those into smaller bite-sized tasks. But they all have a clear goal and deadline attached to them. 

2 weeks later, I ask myself what the next leaps will be: 

 

  1. Write the introduction and first 3 chapters
  2. Hire a literary agent/coach (depending on which I decided to go)
  3. Promote my new lead magnet via social media, interviews, podcasts, etc. 

 

And repeat.  

 

 

If I went with option 1 (slow and steady) it might be YEARS before I make any worthwhile progress at all. 

But if I went with no. 2, I’d probably write the book overnight, (only to be unhappy with it later) spend WAY too much money on the wrong kind of coach who promises me the world, and when it’s out there in the world, not have anyone around to buy it. 

Using The Mini-Leap Option, I have put myself out there. I have had to do things that felt scary and outside of my comfort zone, but I did them one thoughtful and purposeful step at a time. 

 

I didn’t get ahead of myself, but I didn’t stall out. I pushed myself, but I didn’t burn out. 

 

This works for every aspect of your life, and it works with loose deadlines and with fixed deadlines (like an audition!) 

Part of my work as a coach is to help my clients learn to figure out what their next mini-leap is–to help them find the balance of too much vs. too little, and of course, to be there, holding a space of encouragement and accountability for them. 

What about you? What’s your next leap going to be? Where are you going to be in two week’s time? 

-Kate

P.S. Is it that very first step that you’re getting stuck on? Not knowing exactly what you’d like to do? Grab this (free) worksheet that will help you gain clarity around what you were meant to offer the world and who you’d like to serve.

 

P.P.S. Are you enjoying these blog posts, and want more? Join my mailing list and get my Friday morning newsletter with additional tips, tricks, things to think about, and each week there is a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I have been enjoying.  

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2 Comments on “Progress Stalled Out? Here’s How to Reach Your Goals Faster (Without Burning Out)

  1. Kate: A friend of mine gave me this poem years ago…Thought of your mini leap!

    The Trapeze of Life

    Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I am either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I am hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

    Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of- the-moment. It carries me a along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I am in control of my life. I know most the right questions and even some of the right answers. But, occasionally, as I merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging towards me. It is empty, and I know, in that place that knows, that this new trapeze bar has a name on it. It is my next step, my growth, and my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar to move to the new one.

    Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I will not have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time I must hurtle across space before I grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It does not matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing I have always made it. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on some unseen rocks on the bottomless chasm the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is o longer on the list of alternatives. An, so, for eternity, those can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, future is not yet here”. It is called transition. I have come to believe that this is the only place that a real change occurs. I mean REAL change, not the pseudo-change that only last only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

    I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing”, a no-place between places. Sure, the old trapeze-bar was real, and that the new one coming towards me, that is real too. But the void in between? That is just scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

    And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving us permission “hang-out” in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing us dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening, in the true sense of the word.

    Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly!

    • Oh, I love this analogy! That is it completely. Especially this part: “I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.” Thank you for sharing!

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