I’ve mentioned over the last few months that I feel very lucky to participate as a fellow in a global coaching program, which includes working with a leadership coach. For the first time ever, I’ve been on the receiving end of guidance, and it’s been amazing. The coach I’m working with is phenomenal. Her professional experience is over the top, but even better, her personal perspective is just as valuable. As someone who is a decade ahead of me, she has been able to share some insights I wasn’t able to see yet.
Recently I was laying out my plan. My BIG plan. The one where I tie together the work that I’m now doing at American University with the growth of Her Corner with some policy work down the road that will help impact the overall growth of women’s businesses. And you know what my coach told me?
To lower the bar. I almost fell out of my seat. Really? What in the world was she talking about?
What she shared really changed my perspective. And I realized that what she was saying made perfect sense.
As women, we’re often used to making big leaps. Setting big goals. Achieving more and more. Throw us a spouse and a couple of kids, and we’re still like “Bring it – we can do this!” (Well, on most days anyway.)
But, in fact, it is getting harder and harder to set and meet these enormous goals. Our businesses are growing and demanding more at the exact same time that our personal lives may be getting more complicated (children, aging parents, all contribute to the complexity.) It is getting harder to make the big leaps. We have bigger decisions with more impact to make. And so I was being told that when you lower the bar, you can be more consistent. More consistency means smaller goals with smaller steps. But the smaller the steps, the farther you can go.
Think about it: When we (and I am definitely in this camp) set very high expectations of ourselves and commit to lofty goals, we often give up. We get frustrated, we feel defeated, we feel like we’re not making progress. We feel so disappointed that we haven’t gotten to where we wanted to go that we just stop.
So perhaps we need to lower the bar. Just a little. And perhaps we need to make fewer plans so we can be more consistent. And perhaps we need to believe that we will go farther if we quit fewer times along the way.