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Walking the tighrope – or not falling off?

This arrived in my inbox today, so thought I’d share it – it’s very appropriate!

Entertaining some friends recently, we retired to the lounge where my friend’s son was playing a video game. The game involved his character ‘balancing’ on a tightrope and crossing a chasm between two buildings. His character was operated through a ‘balance board’ at his feet. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before the ‘grown ups’ in the room eagerly stepped up to ‘show’ the boy how it should be done! What soon followed was a series of disastrous attempts to cross the chasm, each with increasingly elaborate ‘explanations’ and ‘reasons’ for our lack of success. Time after time, each of us replicated exactly the same mistake – as our character teetered to the left, we countered this by leaning over to the right. Rather than regaining our balance, what typically happened was that our character would lean over at exactly the same angle, this time to the right. By imagining the worst case scenario (We fall off the left side of the rope), we over-compensated to get ourselves as far away from danger as possible and therefore placed ourselves in the equal and opposite place. This radical swinging from one problem to another is something I encounter frequently when coaching.


“Every problem was once a solution to a previous problem.”

That same evening the national news had the now familiar focus on economic doom and gloom throughout the UK. Typically, the news article was followed by interviews with people describing how they will need to work longer hours or get second jobs to make ends meet. Seeing these stories reminded me of the tightrope walk. Hearing news of economic hard times, people visualise the worst case scenario and over compensate. We withdraw our money from financial institutions (further adding to the problem) work longer hours (increasing stress levels and fatigue) and make radical cost savings within our organisations (again adding to national statistics.) Think back a few years to the first mention of fuel shortages. Petrol forecourts become inundated with people panic buying precious fuel – only adding further to the supply issue.

 What’s needed? Focus. This was the difference in success between the grown ups and the boy. Our focus upon not falling off the rope lead us to overcompensate whilst, the boy’s focus upon staying on the rope lead to an entirely different outcome. And truth be told, it wasn’t the thought of falling off which most scared the grown ups, it was the thought of how falling off would make us feel which caused most anxiety. So, a couple of questions for you:

What are you focussing upon now?


? Not losing your job?


?Not having enough money / time etc?


?Not having something / someone special in your life?


And is it a genuine fear of the event happening or the fear of how you might feel should that become reality?

For example, most of us would be concerned at least with the thought of redundancy. Ask yourself “Am I more scared of ‘being made redundant’ or of the feelings of inadequacy, failure or loss that redundancy may bring?”

Now in our current economic climate, cutbacks, longer hours and even redundancies may be the answer, but before you head over that side of the rope, stop and ask yourself how much of this is genuine intelligent focus, and how much is over-compensation?

Today’s lesson from a boy aged 5 ½:


Notice when things are out of balance for you




Regain your balance by realigning with your outcomes


Move forward


Call to action

Regain your balance!

Take time today to focus and realign yourself. Re-commit to what’s really important to you.


If you could redesign your life/career, what changes would you make?


What could you do today, or better still what could you do RIGHT NOW to get you one step closer to your vision?

Take action!

Need Some help? Would you like to discuss any of these issues in confidence and start your focussed tightrope walk? Give us a call for a chat +44 (0)7832 340407walking the tightrope

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