How much change are you capable of?
Often, we seek a complete ‘revolution’ in our problem. We approach getting better with an ‘all or nothing’ philosophy. “I will either be completely fixed or completely broken”. Imagine the pressure this puts upon someone to succeed? When getting past the problem seems like an insurmountable object, can you see how all or nothing thinking can lead to feeling helpless, and hopeless?
Consider a recent client with severe depression. In our interview, it was clear that her impression was that she couldn’t get better. The idea of not being depressed seemed so far away, that it was an impossible dream.
By recognising that change, as much as she would want it, had not been possible for years, and the impossibility of getting better was all she could focus on, we were able to agree on not achieving very much at all. On experimenting with what it would be like to be only the tiniest fraction different.
And by doing that, there was no pressure to achieve anything – so there was space for progress to be made.
In the end, the size of the change becomes apparent only in hindsight. By not having a ‘big’ target, all shifts are possible, acceptable and valuable.
That is the power of small.
This is most often associated with depression, but clients with any issue that they have been trying to change will often have this ‘all or nothing’ approach to their progress.
Sometimes the most powerful thing that we can do is accept that even the smallest change is still a change. Even if you only move one millimetre from where you are, you are no longer where you were. And when it is OK for such a small shift to be possible and acceptable, the pressure to be ‘perfect’ in getting over the problem no longer exists, and whatever change is made can be accepted for what it is –a positive shift.
The power of small.
If it is OK to experiment with moving only a little, then what if we could experiment another millimetre from there? Then we have developed a trajectory. And from there…who knows what is possible.
When you consider a problem that is so big that it seems impossible to tackle, what would happen if you allowed yourself to just experiment with making only the smallest change possible? What would it look like? What would it lead to?
What would happen if you allowed yourself to open to the possibility of the power of small?