A game of chess

My five-year-old daughter came home from school a couple of months ago and handed me a form for chess classes. I was so excited about this but tried to contain my excitement by asking her some questions about it. I thought she was too little to understand that some people would think that chess comes with its own set of preconceptions. Boy was I wrong…

I was speaking to a few parents about it, and their daughters had also brought home the chess form. When I asked them what they were going to do, one of the mum’s replied that she didn’t think that chess would help her daughter in any way. I clenched my hands tightly and was thinking; what about problem-solving; analysis; strategy; camaraderie etc. another mumma told me that her daughter had wanted to do it but that her husband had talked her out of it, she was just as ropable as what I was. He couldn’t see how learning chess would be useful to his child.

Isn’t it funny how we, as parents have the ability to fire our children up or douse their enthusiasm with cold water? I love Evie’s passion, her wanting to try new things, and I hope it stays with her for a long time.

If you think your child can’t do something, chances are they won’t, not because they can’t but because you didn’t have faith in them, to begin with.

It’s the same with us, if our inner voice gets in the way and tells us that we can’t do something and we don’t shut it down, what are the chances of actually doing that thing? Fairly limited. In fact, Mel Robbins talks about the fact that if you make a decision and don’t do something with it in the first 5 seconds, you won’t do it at all… check out the TED Talk here I totally agree (and I am also thinking about the number of times the snooze button gets hit sometimes!)

I know, as we get older, we get a bit more set in our ways or we put off professional development or learning something new because we are the last ones to invest in ourselves, we are too busy, there are other priorities, but really, if we are not looking after ourselves and our own learning, who is? 

When we don’t look after ourselves in this way we:

  • Become stale
  • Learn zero new skills
  • Feel bored
  • Are boring to others

So, what do we need to do to continue to keep learning and growing?

  1. Manage the mindset
  2. Commit to it
  3. Make a decision
  4. Use the five seconds
  5. Get it done

Managing your mindset is so important. We tell ourselves all kind of crap throughout the day, every minute, in fact, so keeping this in check is super important to helping you achieve your short term and long-term goals but also to make sure that pesky inner voice is managed.

Commit to it – you gotta commit to it, it may be asking a friend to hold you accountable, it may be writing it down, sharing it with your partner, but you need to commit to it (and preferably a timeframe!)

Make a decision about the why and the what. Without knowing why you are doing it, it can feel fruitless. Imagine going to a networking function but not knowing what you wanted out of it (another post for another time). Crazy huh?

Do something in five seconds from making the decision, it can be the smallest step, just making a call to enquire, or jumping online to do some research or booking that spot or telling someone you are doing it, whatever takes five seconds just to move you to the next smallest step you can get to.

Get it done, if you have followed the process, you would be well on your way to achieving that little goal, getting some learning and growing along the way.

So… what will you do with this hour, this day, this week? Will you manage your mindset and commit to learning? Do you just need to make one small decision and then use the next five seconds to commit to it? Not sure where to start? Try jotting down three things that you think would be helpful to learn, and that will get you started.

Love to hear how you go!

I’m Emma, and I’m a business and executive coach who believes wholeheartedly in the potential of women. My coaching philosophy is simple- taking action leads to results- and I love working with women in business and in corporate roles to take their passion and drive and transform their professional and personal lives.

Be enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic, every day.

Em x

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Emma also has a podcast.