Tag: mindfulness


Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” Is the Best Career Advice

You may remember my blog post on the lesson of mindfulness. It was a lesson I learned when I went to the new Adventure Park Nashville ropes course.

It was all about how important it is to focus on the moment instead of always thinking and planning ahead (something I’m guilty of).

Well, when I returned to the ropes course and took a friend with me, it was obvious there was another lesson I needed to share with my readers.

This one is based on the old adage,

“KISS: keep it simple, stupid.”

Keep It Simple, Stupid

This time around I did some courses that were higher off the ground and more challenging. But what I noticed is not every element was as challenging as they first appeared.

While applying the previous lesson of focusing on only one bridge element at a time, I’d arrive at a new element and would study its configuration to figure out the best way to maneuver across it.

Upon first glance, most of them looked very complicated.

But instead of thinking too much about how to get across, I would just take the first step onto the element.

Once I did, it suddenly became clear that what looked like a real obstacle requiring a lot of thought and energy to maneuver was really very simple to get around.

We as a society, myself and my clients included, often overthink things when instead we should keep it simple.

Start by Starting

I see this especially in my clients who are thinking about changing careers or starting their own business.

They view the challenge in front of them and immediately start asking a bazillion questions about how they should start.

My response:

“You start by starting.”

I usually get a funny look from them as soon as it comes out of my mouth.

I explain to them it doesn’t matter how or where you start, as long as you take one step to start. There is no certain order you have to follow.

For someone looking to start their own business, it could be something as simple as securing a domain for your future business’s web site for less than $10.

Or it could be first reading Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money.

For someone looking for a new job it could be as simple of a step as updating your LinkedIn profile.

Or it could be reaching out to one person in your network.

One Step at a Time

When a client asks,

“How do I make this big change?”

It’s just like the phrase of advice on how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time!

Of course the idea of changing careers or starting a business seems very overwhelming at first when looking at it as a whole.

But when you break it down into smaller steps, it’s not as complicated as it first appears. Each step is more simple than the process as a whole.

And once you take the first step, you gain the confidence you need to take the next step.

Before you know it, your steps have added up to a really big dent in your goal.

It’s as simple as that!

To learn more about how to break your goals and obstacles into more manageable steps so you’re not overthinking things, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary copy of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

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keep it simple stupid

Mindfulness: How to Be More Successful By Living In the Moment

I was all harnessed up and clipped in to the cables at the new Adventure Park Nashville when it was time to step out onto my first tree-to-tree bridge element.

I paused for a second and thought, there’s no way I can do this. It seemed not only uncomfortable, but also scary.

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In the past I’ve had no fear learning how to climb at various climbing gyms. I’ve never minded the heights and always loved getting to the top for the sense of accomplishment and so I could repel down (my favorite part!).

But this was different.

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Instead of looking at the holds right in front of me or looking up to where I was going, I had to look DOWN to see where and how to get my footing. This made me realize how far off the ground I was. Also, when climbing walls or rocks, they don’t sway and move like the bridge elements do.

This was a whole new experience for me.

Trying Melts Away Fear

I was tempted to turn back before I’d even started. But, I knew I would not be happy with myself if I did.

I had to at least give it a try.

Besides I’m always preaching to my clients about doing things that take them out of their comfort zone, and I also live my life that way as much as possible. This was another reason why I couldn’t turn back.

After taking the first step, my fear melted away and I completely forgot about the distance between the ground and me.

I just took my time and put one foot in front of the other.

When I reached the end of the first bridge element, I became a little more confident. I did it!

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Mindfulness: Learning to Live in the Moment

Even though there were several elements ahead of me, I had to take each of them one at a time, asking myself what’s the best way to get across without losing my balance.

My confidence grew and grew after successfully completing each element.

While working my way across one bridge, I couldn’t think about the next bridge. I had to stay focused on the moment. It’s the simple practice known as mindfulness.

This was an unexpected lesson, and also the biggest take away from the experience.

I never went into it thinking I’d learn mindfulness. I just thought it’d be fun to do something new and to be outside in nature.

But it was a lesson I really needed because I’m the type of person who’s always thinking ahead and planning ahead.

For instance, I eat dinner with the question bouncing around in my head, “What do I want to make for dinner tomorrow night?” instead of just enjoying the meal right in front of me.

I need to practice mindfulness and live in the moment more often.

Not only for my own benefit, but also because I want to serve as a positive example for my clients.

Avoid Thinking Too Far Ahead to the “What ifs?”

So many of my clients are facing career changes and life transitions.

They know they have some bridges to cross, whether it means moving from one career to another, moving from working for someone else to working for themselves, etc.

For them moving from one stage to the next can seem scary and nearly impossible at first.

The path to get from one stage to the next can appear very unstable. It may not be clear to them how they should proceed or what step they should take first.

They often start thinking ahead to the “What ifs?”

Instead of focusing on what’s within their control at this very moment, they’re asking:

  • “What if I don’t fit in with the people at a new company?”
  • “What if I’m not as successful in a new industry?”
  • “If my business idea fails what will I do?”

Gaining Stability in Your Career Transitions

What I quickly realized with each bridge element was what appeared to be “unstable” was actually very stable, especially when I did my part to make things more stable.

I wasn’t going to be able to keep the elements from swaying and moving. But, if I:

  • slowed down and focused on one element at a time,
  • kept a light grip on the cable so my hands could easily slide as I moved,
  • put one foot in front of the other while positioning my feet in a way that kept me balanced,
  • and shifted my body weight so it was working with the movement of the elements instead of against them,

I was able to get across a lot easier.

And if I happened to slip or lose my balance, my harness would keep me from falling.

It would’ve been a small failure, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

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How to Get to the Other Side Successfully

If you’re facing a career transition and it seems scary trying to cross over to what’s next for you, remember these four things:

1. Embrace mindfulness and learn to live in the moment.

Embrace your current situation no matter how scary, uncomfortable or unstable it may appear.

Relish this time to re-evaluate your approach to things, to try different strategies, or to learn something new.

Don’t rush through this stage to the next one just because it’s uncomfortable. Doing so could cause some slip-ups that will likely slow you down instead.

Just stay focused on the present as you put one foot in front of the other.

2. Keep a light grip.

Instead of keeping a tight grip on your idea of how you think things should be or should work out, loosen your grip.

You’d be surprised at how much easier you’ll be able to navigate through your situation when you allow some flexibility in your results.

And you’ll be open to opportunities you otherwise would’ve quickly dismissed.

3. Be willing to make a shift when necessary.

If you’re stuck, be honest with yourself and admit you’re stuck.

Then, take steps to shift your approach so you can become unstuck.

This may mean asking for help or hiring a career coach to point out any blind spots or to show you a more effective way of getting across your bridge. A career coach can also teach you how to work with your unique challenges instead of against them.

4. Rely on your support system.

These are the people who aren’t going to let you fall even if you slip up or lose your balance. This can include your family, friends, professional network, career coach, etc.

If you need help with any of the above, feel free to reach out by completing the paNASH intake form. Click here to get started.

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Click here for tickets and more info on the Nashville Adventure Park. It really is a lot of fun!

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