Julia Fourie | Life Coach Cape Town

Life Coaching Tip: I Shouldn’t Be Sweating The Small Stuff Should I?

Julia Fourie, Life Coach, Cape Town

April 15 2018

As a Life Coach I am often made aware of fundamental questions that we all ponder on. One of these is how we constantly battle with the idea that only big issues are worthy of our attention, that if we are seen to be troubled by smaller challenges then we are not strong enough or a whiner and this belief impacts our world, how we interact in it, what we expect form ourselves and others and how we relate to everything that touches our lives. Lets explore this fundamental question on “Am I allowed to sweat the small stuff?”. I recently came across this Kenyan African Proverb that could start to answer this question.

A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea.

Much like the traditional story of David and Goliath, we are quick to determine that “size of the challenge” is one of the greatest impact in a situation. And so if you are presented with a “David of a problem”, you might find yourself hesitant to deal with it for fear of been seen as a “coward” so to speak.

In the book by Malcolm Gladwell, entitled “David and Goliath” (worth a read!), Malcolm adds an interesting perspective to the story and as he unfolds further data you start to see that actually Goliath had a very slight chance of winning and that the odds were actually in favour of David, by far. Not what most of us expect, right?

So, to answer our question, I shouldn’t be sweating the small stuff should I? I would first ask you, by what criteria did you use to determine if it is indeed “small stuff” or is the small stuff disguised as David – because if it is, perhaps you should reconsider calling it small stuff!

If we spend a moment thinking about our primal instincts, we realise that they are there to protect us and in order to do so, you need to be able to act quickly and therefore make quick assessments of a situation or someone else will succeed. If you become aware of this, you realise it makes sense why we quickly discard the “flea” as not being of significant concern. We should definitely not try to ignore this crucial ability we have to assess situations quickly but rather try to add to it, make the conclusion richer by knowing when to reflect further or when to run from the lion!

Try out this simple technique to help you decide on when to sweat the small stuff!

1. Think to the last time or use this the next time 🙂 .. you find yourself throughout the day focusing on something but not doing anything about it. You find yourself thinking about it, considering your actions, deciding not to do anything about it but then you find yourself thinking of it again.

2. Have you figured out why you are not acting? Have you convinced yourself the issue isn’t significant enough? Take a moment to jot down what your criteria was in deciding what makes the topic insignificant and how this topic met that?

3. Can you see a pattern in how you came up with your conditions?

4. If this niggling issue was in fact David (small but dangerous), what could be the impact if you didn’t acknowledge and deal with it?

5. What could the impact be?

6. Is it worth the risk of this happening? If not, how will you feel if you leave it and the risks materialise?

7. What would you do differently now that you have considered this?

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