“Take One Step to Better”

“Take One Step to Better” – Why I had to take my own coaching advice last week


This mantra is written on a white board in my office. It’s a useful reminder to myself to keep taking small steps to make progress in my business. I also use it as a gentle word of encouragement to my clients when they’re feeling stuck about moving forwards with something. Just one small step at a time is all that’s needed to move towards ‘better’. 


But last week I looked at this in a whole new way. I realised the one step I had to take, was in effect, a backwards step – and it took some real courage to do so. You see, I took the decision to postpone a workshop and in doing so I let down the women who had already booked their place. This totally goes against my values – ordinarily I wouldn’t ever fail to live up to a promise. I would go out of my way to ensure I deliver, even if that’s at my own expense.


Now here’s where the need to coach myself came in. I recognised that, because of recent events, I was utterly depleted and I wasn’t actually going to be able to offer the quality training that the workshop delegates deserved. Instead of pushing on and hoping for the best, like I would have done in the past, I followed my own advice and said ‘No’. This decision came from a place of self-preservation, self-compassion and self-care. Yet it wasn’t selfish. It came from a place of knowing that this was the fairest thing to do, because my clients deserve the best level of training I can provide, not a half hearted job. It came from a place of discernment and trust that, once replenished, I will be better able to deliver the training at a rearranged date soon. 


So what had been going on to make me reach this situation? Well, I have had a pretty rocky year, but like many of us do, I’ve been putting on a brave face and I’ve kept on pushing through without addressing my own needs. I’ve been running my coaching business in addition to another big commitment, which demanded much of my time over a two-year period. On top of this I’ve dealt with my husband’s illness and surgery, the death of my father and most recently surgery for my knee injury. In each case I kept up with my commitments, even planning the workshop despite knowing that it would be just three weeks after my knee operation! Who was I kidding that I would be fit and well and full of energy for this? I was running on empty. This was the tipping point and the past year or so had caught up with me.


I’m trying to balance being kind to myself with the overpowering thought that I should have known better. After all, don’t I coach my clients out of this mire of overwhelm due to over-commitment? 


Overly sacrificing and depleting our energy to the extent that we’re exhausted and approaching burnout, is a common scenario for many women these days. I talk about being in ‘Superwoman’ mode as the root cause of this. We all know that woman who seems to be able to do it all; holds down a high flying job, cares for her family, fits in a session at the gym every morning and still enjoys a busy and varied social life. She manages to be all things to all people, she never says no, she’s juggling all the balls and spinning all the plates … till one day, she isn’t. 


There is a better way; a more sustainable way to be just as effective and yet not reaching that state of overwhelm, exhaustion and burnout. It’s called Soft Power. I had previously learnt how to achieve this, and yet I’ve let it slip over the past year finding myself back in my Superwoman cape! But I have the Soft Power tools at my disposal and I know they work, so I’m taking the time to engage with them again and I know I’ll soon be back on track. Superwoman can go back into retirement!


So, that ‘one step to better’ may have felt like a backward step, but in actual fact it was the first step to creating space, so that I could take a breath and begin the next steps forward again. 


If any of this sounds familiar and you’re struggling with how to achieve balance and maintain your energy and wellbeing, book a call to talk about how coaching can help. As you have heard here, I’m not perfect, I recognise life challenges us with its ups and downs, but I am walking the walk. I’d love to help you take that one step to better.



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© Dr Jo Baldwin   |   Website by The Good Alliance