O, by the way….

oh, by the way

What’s causing the smoke?

People call because they need support in planning or completing a project, to brainstorm solutions to issues, or to create an accomplishment plan.  Sometimes it’s to arrange for help in organizing their information (think paper clutter, backlogged email chaos), or to assess their workspaces and habits for more effectiveness.But as varied as their needs are, there are a few common features.

One is that they are stuck, and nothing helps you get unstuck like asking for help from a trusted associate or a professional.

The other is what I call the “by the way….”

It’s what surfaces while we’re working through the issue at hand. Sometimes it’s a surprise to the client, and sometimes it just takes time to bubble up. But it’s always important.

For example, a client wanted help with setting up online banking and organizing financial information for the estate planner. After 4 sessions, we had 7 years’ worth of paperwork (which had previously been stored in a number of large laundry baskets), organized into an indexed, easy-to-use filing system. In addition, he had a summary of all investment and asset information ready for the lawyer. Complete?

Not quite.  Halfway through our second work session he announced, “Oh, by the way, I am preparing to divorce my wife of 30 years.”  That added another dimension to our work.

Another client wanted help creating family shopping and meal planning templates. Her quiet and somewhat ashamed “by the way” was a recent ADD diagnosis. Our work then included ongoing coaching around how that affected her responsibilities and expanded into creating easier systems at work.

Whether you ask for help or not, moving your “by the way” from the smoking mountain in the background into full view will change your focus, give you some relief, and make your improvements faster and more accurate.

One Response to “O, by the way….”

  1. Amy Says:

    We all have an “Oh by the way” but we do not recognize it as the simmering volcano it is. When in the midst of getting through the details, we lose sight of the greater challenges that go unacknowledged. That’s where the help comes in. A simple conversation with a trusted listener, can expose the shifting plates behind the symptoms of feeling overwhelmed. Once the source of the tremors are acknowledged can the plan of action come into shape. It’s like an illness with no diagnosis. Feeling of despair are not too far behind.


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