Shifting Another Story: Towards Balance
One of my unhelpful stories about myself is that I am lazy.
It is not a story without some foundation, as well. However, it is unhelpful, as it can both make me feel guilty, and give me an excuse not to do things... So it is one that I am working on. And one way I have found really helpful, in terms of loosening the grip, is to track how I actually spend my days.
I am using Toggl to do this: it is easy and it generates nice summary reports, as well as retaining all the detail of how I have spent my time. I have only been doing it for three days so far, but one thing that it makes very clear already is that I do spend a lot of time doing non-work things like walking the dog, practicing music, reading, meditating and so on. (I should, perhaps, point out that not all of the 18 hours of 'other' on the chart is non-work: it also scoops up a lot of different client projects.... - he said defensively...)
And it is these that feed my story that I am lazy. Yet when I look at each of these activities, I recognise that they are all things that I choose to do with good reason; indeed, they are all things I would encourage a coaching client to continue doing, if he or she were under pressure: they are valuable activities.
Which makes my realise that my Lazy Andrew story is fed by a deeper and more insidious one: that what really counts is work. And that is not a story I consciously believe, but it is one that it endemic in our culture.
So that is the story I want to take a stand on: I don't believe that work is the only valuable activity. Indeed, I believe that people who think it is are mistaken, and risk causing themselves, and others, much grief. So my more helpful story about the fact that I skive off to take the dog for a walk, to do some piano practice or singing, to read, or to meditate, is that I am striving to lead a well-balanced life. And that's another story I can take a stand on: Towards Balance.