My client sighed heavily as he took a seat in the office lamenting over the multiple projects needing attention and his lack of motivation to tackle anything. I nodded as it was not unusual in my practice to have clients voice that particular frustration. Certainly we all go through periods of diminished energy and experience feelings of not being “up” for the challenge. Long ago I learned a partial remedy for combating inertia is, as Woody Allen so aptly expressed it, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”
The fact that the young man did arrive for his scheduled coaching session was indeed a start. Reminding him of this fact, I also shared the story of a baseball player who developed a system to pull himself out of a lethargic funk and ready both mind and body for a win. This pitcher developed a routine that consisted of jogging back and forth on the field, stretching hips and hamstrings, throwing some light warm-up pitches from the mound and then heading back to the dugout. He diligently performed these sequenced movements prior to every game. The routine not only succeeded in getting his body warmed up, it also coaxed out a positive attitude resulting in his pre-game focused mentality.
Most of us do not bound out of bed with the enthusiasm of a four year old at the beach. Our mind and bodies often need a little prodding to get the message that there is work to be done. As adults, establishing a rhythmic series of steps helps inspire action. A friend of mine jumps out of bed and into her running shoes to convince her feet that sooner or later they are heading to the gym. I go through an orchestrated dance when arriving at my desk each morning strong cup of coffee in hand. Rather than immediately diving into a complex project I warm up by reviewing my schedule, reading an inspirational blog or two and then attending to some mundane administrative tasks. The process takes about twenty minutes and by that time I am alert and ready to take on the day.
There are those who may dispute the utter simplicity of just showing up and going through the motions. But just as a prima ballerina warms up at the barre with a series of plies and ronds de james prior taking the floor,
or a chef preps food before creating a gourmet entrée, we all need a little windup routine before we can knock one out of the ballpark.