A message to help you when you don’t seem to be improving

 In Mindset

Last week I was reading an insightful poem contained in a book entitled: Finding Inner Courage, by Mark Nepo (Conari Press, 2007). Here is the poem “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”  by Portia Nelson.

I walk, down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in

I am lost . . . I am helpless

                 It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

                There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

                I pretend I don’t see it.

                I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

                But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.

                There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

                I see it is there.

                I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.

                                My eyes are open.

                                I know where I am.

It is my fault

I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street

                There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

                I walk around it.


I walk down another street.


When attempting to improve how you listen, speak, present, handle and conduct yourself it can, at times, seem like you’re falling into a deep hole again and again. That is, it may seem that you’re making no progress.

However, with IDP (Intentional Daily Practice) with feedback (particularly from other people and from video recording your speaking/presenting and watching the playback) new behaviours will be gradually honed and formed, and those behaviours can translate into fresh results (eg. people act more quickly on what you say) and you can forge a new identity of yourself (eg. of a person who is a memorable speaker). If you persist, it can seem like you’re ‘walking down another street’.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post: In the next seven days change, to a degree, how you speak and present yourself. Shake it up a little. Here are some ideas how you can to this. Talk a bit louder. Start an interaction in a fresh way. Take an article from a newspaper and tie it in to your key message when you present. Be bolder that you normally are. Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.

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