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Staying on Track: It’s Harder than You Think

Image of railroad track

It’s harder than it sounds– “plan your work, work your plan.”

Early this week, I was looking over my garden and saw that it was time to prune, weed, and clean up storm debris. Putting on gloves, armed with natural bug spray and wearing long pants, I grabbed my garden tools and began with the day lilies, deadheading and trimming browned and dying leaves. When I looked at my watch, an hour had passed yet somehow, I had rambled into the shed and found myself with a broom, sweeping the floor, picking up the bucket, and putting away tools left at the side of the path.

What happened?

Staying on track is tough. It requires focus. This is the ability to resist being lured to other things when what you’re doing becomes boring. When I think back, there was so much to be done, I could have started anywhere.

Life is like that for me. Often, because I love what I do, I feel myself pulled from one thing to another, each important and tantalizing (though pulling slugs from under the leaves may not appeal to everyone!). Yet if I looked around, I had ten unfinished projects in front of me. Half the windows washed. Half the garden weeded. Half the shed organized. Half, half, half.

I will get everything accomplished…eventually.

I do have ways of keeping myself on task. Some of the many tools in the office supply stores help; the willingness to forgive myself when I lose my way is better. I know when something is really important to me, I follow through. My health, my spouse, my family, my coaching career, the world I live in, and the environment around me. All this matters to me. Each day is a study in gentle discipline. Calling myself to the task, forgiving myself if I wander away, and celebrating the ability to know that I choose what I do and I do what I choose.

When I can food it’s quite different. I know when I start there is no turning back. I never leave the kitchen. I make sure I have everything before I clean whatever is going into the canning jars. I know from experience that if I get distracted, the food will rot and come January, the wonderful, lovely fruit won’t be on the shelf. I see the impact of being distracted right in front of me as the harvest begins to wilt and brown.

Recently, I hired a writing coach to help me move forward with the book. It was amazing the difference there is when working with someone who knows what they are doing. Her confidence was inspiring to me and for the first time I thought, “I can do this.” I will benefit from her coaching and support. Staying on track sometimes requires help. Apart from the writing coach, I also decided to hire a young man to help with the garden.

Consider the image in this article– a railroad track, for the train’s use. To keep it on its path.

Without the track, the train would go nowhere, getting derailed and falling on its side, or refusing to move in the gravel. The track helps. Together the track and train equal success.

The writing coach is my track. What’s yours?

I’m Lou and this is my perspective.

Lou Ness, M. Med., ORSCC
Co-founder, Living Forward™



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    Staying on Track: It’s Harder than You Think
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Living Forward, LLC is a coaching and training company founded in 2006, that "inspires lifelong learning". Our qualified coaches specialize in workplace communication, change readiness, and performance improvement. We also offer individual coaching, group coaching and conflict resolution/mediation.


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