My executive coaching clients often ask how to translate their new insights into regular practice so that the benefit of the coaching is integrated into their lives. This is crucial, since the adult executives I coach have well established and largely successful habits that are expressed automatically.
How do we make new strategies and methods just as habitual? One of my favorite techniques is the traveling pennies.
Is there a practice you and your coach have developed that you want to make a part of your life? Perhaps you choose to center three times per day, express gratitude more often, or ask a clarifying question before responding to a inquiry. Here’s how to “operationalize” your good intentions.
Each morning for the next few weeks place three coins in a frequently used pocket or on your desk in a visible location where they normally would not be. When you feel the pennies in your pocket or notice them on your desk, remind yourself to find an opportunity to do your practice, perhaps immediately. (No time like the present!) Each time you take the promised action, transfer one of the pennies to a different pocket or location.
Remember the bonus exercise:
The most transformative time to do your new practice is exactly when stress, time pressure, dread, or excitement make stopping to center, express gratitude, etc. seem like the last thing you want to do. These are the best times to just do it!
No muscle gets stronger doing easy, familiar movements. You get stronger by attempting tasks that are beyond your current capacity–repeatedly.