The Howells Group Blog

Small Steps to Bigger Changes

Me walking the labyrinth at The Grotto, Portland, Oregon

“Every change starts in a small step.”  Ron Stolero

Every week my session with my coach makes me grateful I have one; especially in this season of transition.  As part of the master’s degree in leadership and coaching I’m pursuing, it was strongly encouraged and it’s required to get my ICF certification (International Coaching Federation), which is also part of my program.  And given the amount of time I coach others as part of my business, it really is a priority to keep my skills sharp and stay on the “growing edge”.

I notice when I turn the tables and I’m the PBC (person being coached) I’m consistently struck by the value in every coaching conversation. As an extrovert “thinking out loud” with a skilled guide on the other end of the line helps me unravel my thoughts when they get jammed up insides my head –kind of like a tangled ball of yarn. Other times, having my coach act as a non judgmental but accurate mirror – reflecting back to me a continued theme I’ve not noticed … well it really does brings insight. And often, as in my last coaching session, it provides accountability. I have been talking about making pacing and scheduling changes for years –yes, that’s right – years. Sigh. And my coach reflected that back to me. It was hard to hear and it was perfect that he said it; “When will you decide to take action? What will it take to move you forward from wishing to changing?”Sometimes you need time to sort things out. Sometimes you need a plan or just a friend. And sometimes, like many of us, you need a skilled guide who is completely committed to YOUR agenda. If you have considered the idea of finding a coach to walk with you on your journey, you may not know where to start. Here’s a check list to use if you need guidance. Finding Your Best Fit in a Coach”.

In these last few weeks, I have made some changes. Not every step I need to take – not in every area. But in several that made a difference. And by taking these small steps shows me I can change, walking towards a new, refreshed version of my life.

  • I wrote my first few blog entries. (ok ; this may seem small, but small can prove significant!)
  • I added “decompress time” to my daytime schedule – sometimes just 10-15 minutes
  • I kept my weeknights free to just have “space” after the wild wedding season we’ve had
  • I’ve begun to share that I’m making some changes
  • I asked for input and coaching from a trusted colleague and friend ( thanks, Richard)
  • Probably most importantly, several times I consciously stopped myself from doing that “just 1 more errand, appointment, activity” that throws the day into overload & ramps up stress

This last one is big for me. When I catch myself saying to myself “I can probably squeeze that in here” I know I’m in trouble. It’s a habit – and a well practiced one at that. And it’s a little thing that creates big problems for me.

So small steps can create big ripples, right? And I‘d love to hear from you what small steps you’re making toward change! And while I think of it, here’s a couple of resources for you to check out, whether you want to change a habit, career direction or your life.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, Parker Palmer

Working Identity, by Hermina Ibarra

The Not So Big Life, Making Room for What Really Matters, by Sarah Susanka

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, by James Hollis, PhD.

And here’s to the progress possible by stepping in the “forward” direction!

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