Small habits, big Impact

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have an unwavering need for an immediate result. In a professional setting, we call this a “quick win” or “low hanging fruit”. My husband calls it my “pressure washer impact”.

There was a day, back in my 20s, when I just needed a win. I was grieving the recent loss of my mom, who battled ALS for 3 hard years. My coping mechanism was to give everything I had to work. I had secured an amazing opportunity for our start-up, dipping our toes into a new market. After hiring additional resources to complete the project, it suddenly fell through for reasons completely out of our control. Even so, it left me feeling deflated and also created a plausible scenario where we wouldn’t make payroll the following month. Welcome to start-up life. Like I said, I needed a “quick win”; something on my to do list that I could not only check off, but also consider measurably impactful. It was a Sunday afternoon, right after my birthday. I remember this because it was Superbowl Sunday and I chose to pressure wash our back porch and fence instead of sit on the couch and eat guacamole.

The smooth, fluid motion of the wand and the hard lines of progress offered me the gratification I needed to feel like I could still accomplish something. The sore muscles the next day and the beautifully bright pine color of the wood reminded me of my hard work and accomplishment.

When we desire change, we often seek out grand gestures and lofty goals. We adopt the “hard work pays off” mentality. I am going to meditate every day for a month; cut out all <sugar, carbs, alcohol, meat> from our diet; get 5 new clients in Q1; quit my job and live off the land.

In reality, hard work only pays off if it’s effective. If you suddenly decide you want to get in shape – going to the gym for 8 hours straight is certainly considered hard work, but you aren’t going to experience the change you desire. We need to seek change that is challenging and also sustainable. After all if it doesn’t challenge you, it is not going to change you. Same is true that if it’s not sustainable, it will not change you.

One change I made last year: incorporated the 6-minute miracle morning by Hal Elrod into my daily life. I knew I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get up hours earlier so it had to be short to be sustainable. The original routine is an hour long but Hal knows there are people out there just like me who need something a bit more…efficient to be effective. Spend 1 minute doing each of the following:

This year, I have adjusted the last “S” to be “Spanish” and use Duolingo in hopes to become a bit more fluent. I will admit, some days I only “SAVE” the day. Other days might be a SAVER or SAVES morning. Grace is my favorite offering these days – to myself and to others. My morning routine goal is to consistently dedicate at least the first 5 minutes of every morning to myself.

The impact my morning routine has had on my life has been instrumental in my growth over the last year. I have become more focused, less triggered by annoyances, more open-minded and patient. It has given me the clarity and encouragement to find other ways to improve myself and my habits. I have done additional work around identifying my core values and defining who I want to be in the world so it’s had a snowball effect on my personal development!

What is a small, daily habit you can put in place that will build a foundation of lasting impact?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Walk around the block 1x a day
  • Reach out to one friend a day to say “hello”
  • Set a “drink water” reminder on your phone
  • Choose a salad instead of fries
  • Daily Duolingo
  • Meet for a park walk instead of coffee chat
  • Stand during 1 meeting everyday
  • Review tomorrow’s calendar as your last item of the day
  • Compliment one person
  • 6-minute Miracle Morning!

Want help with finding ways to build a foundation of lasting impact? You have so much potential (you know that, I know that) and sometimes you need a hand in navigating how to make your desired impact. I am offering that hand to you. If you desire a sincere, authentic, and graceful partner to help you, contact me today to start your journey! Your first discovery call is free!

Published by Empower-Lead

Hello! My name is Karen. I am a mother, a wife, and a Vice President at a strategic consultancy in the non-profit technology space. I desire to seek change in both my personal and professional worlds through empowering positive leadership. I will share my experiences here and look forward to hearing how you empower positive leadership in your life! Personal: My husband, Kyle, and I live in Denver, CO with our two wonderful little girls and black Labrador, Riley. We spend as much time as possible outdoors either hiking, camping, off-roading or enjoying the city of Denver and mountain towns of Colorado. We moved here in 2016 after spending a decade at the beach on the east coast. If we are not in Colorado, we are jet-setting around the U.S. visiting friends and family. Pre-kids, that jet-setting included South America and Europe which we hope to begin again soon! Professional: I have spent the last decade in the non-profit space offering technical leadership guidance and analytical expertise to assist nonprofit organizations achieve maximum impact and efficiency from their technology solutions. What does this mean? I work with senior leadership teams to develop and execute strategic plans that align technology investments and IT services with the needs of national, international and regional offices. What does it really mean? I use both soft skills and analytical skills to assess needs and issues, define business processes, and lead teams in delivering value-driven technology solutions that strengthen the effectiveness of campaigns and operations. Ok, one final try: I work with a bunch of really smart people to help other smart people be better at their jobs by using technology more efficiently and effectively. I do all this for non-profits.

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