On Writing Daily Coaching Tips (#674)

(Michael is away on vacation, so today’s tip is from the archives. You can access over 600 of Michael’s tips as a member of the Solutions Cafe!)

While this may seem a bit recursive to those who have only recently joined the DCT, some of your brethren (and sisteren? 🙂 have been gamely reading these mini-tomes since January, 2000, and the single most frequently asked question has been this:

How do you come up with a new tip every single day?

There are really two questions hidden in there, and they are both worthy of an answer. The first question is a request for methodology, a literal “how do you do it?” The second, which I suspect is the more common question, is “how do you sustain the desire/creativity/discipline to come up with a new tip every day?” I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’ll share those thoughts with you now…

I’ve always been an avid devourer of all things personal development. My bookshelves are lined with over 500 books and tapes devoted to the subject, and this is notwithstanding the nearly 1000 books and tapes I left behind in Britain when I crossed the pond! While I have taught and coached thousands of people over the past decade, I have never considered myself a teacher so much as an explorer – someone in pursuit of the secrets of happiness, success, and well-being so that I can live them in my own life and share the best of what I have learned with others.

I think it’s also important to point out here, and my wife will back me up on this one, that I do not consider myself to be a remotely “disciplined” person. That is, I’m terrible at “getting myself” to do what I know I “should” do. However, it is in compensating for this supposed character flaw that I have discovered what I believe to be the secret of self-motivation:

Don’t give yourself anything to rebel against!

Far more than any monkey, we humans most closely resemble Dr. Doolittle’s mythical “PushmePullyou”, always pushing against our boundaries, imaginary and real, in an attempt to experience a true freedom that is probably already ours if we could only overcome our fears and let go. This is the unique human dilemma – when we are pushed, we push back, yet what we resist, persists. Now I have no idea how active the “rebel” in you is – but I score at about a 10 on a scale from 1 to 5. Consequently, if I want to do something, I need as much as possible to not give myself anything to rebel against. It was only when I convinced myself that I really could be happy living alone that I felt able to propose to my wife, and I’ve been grateful for that decision for the past eleven years. Similarly, the day I gave myself permission to fail as an actor, my career rocketed to the next level.

In writing these daily coaching tips, I have made no commitment to anyone, including myself, as to how many I will write. If one day I wake up and realise that I not only have nothing new to say but do not want to say anything at all, nothing “bad” will happen to me – i.e., there are no particular real world consequences to my not doing this. Therefore, when it is 11PM and I have not thought of anything to say, I do not nor can not rebel against my deadline, because there is no-one to hold me to it that I can resist. I either do it, or I don’t. I have a simple phrase I use nearly every day with myself, my family, and my clients – a guiding principle for everything I do in the field of human motivation. If you like it, feel free to use it yourself:

You’ll either do it or you won’t – no pressure, no fear, no guilt.

As it happens, today, I’ve done it again… 🙂

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