Productivity Coach’s Corner: Never Waste a Crisis

Over the last two years, our world changed. What are you motivated to change in your life as a result of this crisis and how will you do so?

When I told a retired general about how we evacuated our home for 67 days due to the wildfires ravaging Southern California in 2017, he said, “I’m glad you’re safe. Those kinds of experiences can really change people. Motivate them to live differently. Never waste a crisis…”
Those last four words stuck with me: “Never waste a crisis.” I still remember the motivation I felt to do something about what we experienced. And I’ve learned that motivation is more than going to workshops, watching inspiring videos, and reading popular self-help books. Motivation happens when we take action and change.
We stand at a crossroads in history. Over the last two years, our world changed. We limited our exposure to people outside our bubble. We practiced social distance. We worked from home. We washed our hands more than ever. We got vaccinated.
So what are you motivated to change in your life as a result of this crisis?
As a certified executive coach, I have worked with people over the last 20 years who have told me they want to change. They want to be better. More productive. More present. They want different results and are willing to take necessary action.

“Because” vs. “So that”

Imagine we are in a coaching session together. Let’s say you told me you want to work on your communication skills. Our session might look something like this:
Me: Tell me about a goal you’d like to achieve.
You: Well, I know I interrupt people a lot, and I want to stop that.
Me: Tell me about what happens when you realize you’re interrupting someone.
You: [words, words, words… you will tell me as much as you want…]
Me: OK, next, I’d like you to answer the “Why?” question two times. Ready?
You: OK.
Me: First… Please tell me why you want to not interrupt people as much, and start your answer with “Because…”
You: I want to not interrupt people because… [words, words, words…]
Me: Second… Please tell me why you want to not interrupt people as much, and this time, start your answer with “So that…”
You: I want to not interrupt people so that… [words, words, words…]
The first response, “Because,” transports you from the past to the present. Use these answers to clarify your automatic “Why?” This is where most of the contemporary literature stops. Keep going. As you reflect on (and write!) your answers to the second prompt, your list of “So thats,” you move from the present into your future. These inventories are different. Use THESE answers as a magnet to pull yourself from today into tomorrow.

Share Your “So thats” with People You Trust

Are you ready to get motivated? Think about a goal you’d like to work on. Journal at least seven responses with the “Because” prompt and an additional seven for the “So that” inventory. Your first few responses for each will be easy to think of. The answers that follow may have the deeper wisdom to motivate you to maximize the behaviors to truly make the most valuable changes during this crisis.
Oh, and my best advice? Don’t share your “Because” list…no one can change the past. Instead, share your “So thats” with the people you trust. Ask these people to help you as you change the future based on what you see in your mind.
I hope you are well and motivated to live your best life. Let’s make the most from the crisis we experienced.