The Art of Strengths Coaching

O is for One Day At A Time

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During the 1970s I worked with many people who aimed to retake charge of their lives. Like in many recovery programmes, they started by taking responsibility and clarifying their options. They then chose to focus on a specific opportunity.

A person might aim to live a healthy life, for example, rather than take drugs. Clarifying their chosen strategy, they translated this into an action plan. They then followed the discipline of pursuing their strategy one day at time.

People use this approach in many areas of life. They may apply it to study for an examination, perform in a sports competition or achieve a life goal. Some people simply focus on appreciating life one day at a time.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you pursued an opportunity one day at a time.

Describe the specific things you did to pursue it one day at a time.

Describe the specific things that resulted from pursuing the opportunity.

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Some people see life as opportunities, some see it as full of obstacles. One soccer manager saw each game as an opportunity, for example, whilst another saw each game as an obstacle. Each transmitted these attitudes to their players. Let’s explore the positive approach.

Clarifying The Opportunity

Looking at your own life, what do you see as your opportunities? What are the possible things you can do? What can you do to help other people? Here are some answers that different people gave to these questions.

The opportunities I have in life are to:

Keep myself healthy as I approach 60 years of age … Become a trusted advisor to customers … Help my son, who has talents that are not recognised at school, to find work he loves.

Make a video series about people who have overcome setbacks … Lead a pioneering team that builds a successful prototype … Pass on knowledge that helps other people to succeed.

Let’s imagine that you have brainstormed lots of opportunities. Which opportunity do you want to pursue? If you wish, try completing the following exercise. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific opportunity you would like to pursue.

Describe the specific results you want to achieve by pursuing this opportunity.

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Clarifying The Strategies
For Pursuing The Opportunity

Let’s assume you have settled on a specific opportunity. What are the key strategies you can follow to give yourself the greatest chance of success? How can you implement each of these strategies?

The recovering addict knows how they can stay healthy. They can take personal responsibility for their actions, focus on a positive purpose in life – rather than focus on the next fix – and pursue daily habits that help them to live a healthy and happy life.

The good leader knows how to build a superb team. Great teams implement the right strategy with the right people in the right way. The leader can follow these principles in their own way and enable the team to achieve success.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the things you can control, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific opportunity you want to pursue.

Describe the specific strategies you can follow to give yourself the greatest chance of success when pursuing the opportunity.

Describe the specific things you can do to implement each of these strategies.

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Clarifying The Things You Can Do To
Pursue The Opportunity One Day At A Time

Great workers clarify the strategies they can follow to achieve their picture of success. They translate these into daily actions they can take to reach their goals. They follow these habits one day at a time.

Twyla Tharp, the choreographer, recommends establishing positive rituals. Even in her 60s she started her day at 5.30 am and walked out of her flat onto the Manhattan Street. She hailed a cab that took her to the gym for a two-hour workout.

Twyla believes that it is vital to start the day properly. Writing in her book The Creative Habit, she explains:

“Being creative is an everyday thing, a job with its own routine.

“The routine is as much part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration (perhaps more). And it is available to everyone.

“If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is a result of good work habits.”

People like to achieve success. One approach is to break down a big goal into smaller goals and the specific steps for achieving these goals. You can then keep following these actions one day at a time.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific opportunity you want to pursue.

Describe the specific things you can do that will help you to pursue this opportunity one day at a time.

Describe the specific things you can do to encourage yourself and other people when pursuing this opportunity one day at a time.

Describe the specific benefits – for you and other people – that may result from pursuing this opportunity.

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