SAGing Into What's Next...

Updated: May 3


"Honor the space between no longer and not yet."

Nancy Levin


As we enter True Spring and the hope, planning, and aspiration that accompanies these longer, warmer days, let us pay homage to the power of Small Attainable Goals.


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We are surfing the tail-end(ish) of prolonged uncertainty, loss, pain, and harm in which the only reliable constant has been unreliability and chaos. The Tridemic of COVID19, Violence and Isolation has disrupted even our most stable and reliable systems for more than a year. And while all of us are yearning for reset and dependable structure, I also am hearing the emergence of two coexistent themes:


1. I Have Big Thinking, Big Dreams and Big Plans

2. I Have Total, Unbearable Stuckness


These themes are accompanied by a universal lament:


I can see where I want to be! I can see what I want to build! I just. can’t. muster. the. energy…there is something wrong with me. I’m broken.


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We shall label this section: “Shea butter for the elbows” OR “if you give a mouse moisturizer…”


(shared with permission)


“I need to lose 50 lbs and overhaul my miserable, failing career. I have GOT TO GET BACK ON TRACK.”


This was the opening statement from a client five years ago at the lowest point of her career and life. She was emerging from a multi-year bout of unexpected, external circumstances that had derailed her professional life and harmed her health. The acute situation had passed leaving her profoundly unhappy with her career trajectory and physical appearance.


A brilliant and creative professional with enormous, powerful, and important aspirations, she was stuck. Vision wasn’t the problem, nor was capacity – she knew where she wanted to go and what she wanted to build. She would set meaningful goals for projects and her health, then fail to get started. Every failed attempt reinforced her exhaustion, and she despaired at ever regaining her previous fire and focus.


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Trauma does this. Big T Trauma, little t trauma; it compounds. In this year-that-will-not-end, we’ve all experienced some degree of this harm.


Big thinking and plans and dreams have their place, just maybe not while we are still exhausted, overworked, overwhelmed, and reeling from uncertainty.


Maybe this is the time for Micro-Moments:


- Microgoals

- Microaffirmations

- Microamplification

- Microresilience

- Microattainment


Small. Achievable. Goals.


We can call it SAGing across the finish line.


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My client and I settled on an experiment in “Thinking Small.”


I asked for one thing she wanted to do to take care of herself in the upcoming week.


Her: Here are 20 things I HAVE to do today


Me: One SMALL thing.


Her: 25 absolutely URGENT THINGS


Me: One.


Her: ALL THE THINGS!


{you get the picture. Fortunately, I have 4 children and can do this all day…}


After promising I would not laugh at her One Thing, she admitted hostility towards her dry elbows and chose to purchase (and use! which is technically two things, but I didn't quibble) a good cream to help them heal.


It worked. She felt better. Then she bought a nice shampoo. Then she went to the salon. Then started walking. Then picked up a book she’d been wanting to read. And cooked a meal. And wrote an email. And took a meeting. And applied for promotion. And, and, and….


Eighteen months, career rebooted, 50 lbs, health restored. It all started with a little shea for the elbows.


See? Give a mouse a "cookie" and ...


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Each of us is at a different point in Tridemic Emergence depending on where we live, how well resourced we are, and how proximate we were to the compounding harm and loss of this year. If you’re feeling a little mired, please know you are not alone.


Re-entry is hard. Reconnecting is hard. We haven’t had ongoing, meaningful time in the presence of close friends – or even family – for far too long. Those connections that always sustained us may feel a little strained and frayed. WE may feel a little strained and frayed.


Patience with process – our own and each other’s – is the greatest gift we can give right now. Aspiration seeds intention, directing our attention and focus. We can be incredibly aspirational about Fixing All The Things, and still remember to begin with a little shea on our elbows…


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Vaccination rates are prematurely leveling off in the United States, and we’re seeing a very concerning uptick in the number of younger COVID patients requiring hospital beds. I am hopeful for fully reopened schools in the fall, and we don't get there without continued vigilance and vaccination. Meanwhile, the disease is on a devastating, unchecked rampage across India and South America, and the global community is racing to send medical supplies, vaccines, and humanitarian aid.


If this year taught us anything, let it be this: we are all far more connected to one another than we knew. There is tremendous beauty in that truth. And tremendous responsibility.


Please, vaccinate as soon as you’re able.


Connect with someone you love.


Laugh. Play. Rest.


And don’t forget to hydrate.


More soon,


Dr. K


#Lodestar #TraumaMitigation #TraumaInformedCoaching #Vaccinate #SmallAttainableGoals

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