Knowing that clients sometimes are impatient with the process of change, I wanted to give them a vision of how to keep their initiative when pursuing a goal that’s important to them. That’s how I came to use the metaphor of building a brick wall.
Why a brick wall? Because it’s a sizable structure, but made up of separate, smaller bricks that are laid on top of each other and mortared together. Each brick may not seem to be essential by itself; but as you add each one, a strong and sturdy wall starts to rise.
The process of change so often is just like that. It’s a series of sometimes-small choices and actions coming together to make a larger transformation.
You may try to “build” any number of things. For instance, you might want to be sober for a month, or even a year. Maybe you want to repair a marriage that’s in trouble by enhancing your communication skills. Or, you could be frustrated that you don’t handle anger well, and you’ve resolved to take control of your emotions. These all take time, initiative, and perseverance, but just about everyone wants them to happen yesterday, or at least tomorrow. And we want the road to be smooth, with no bumps. If it could only be that easy!
It is important to keep in mind that Dorothy didn’t get anywhere without taking that first step on the yellow brick road, and nobody gave her any idea how far away the Emerald City was. Michael Phelps swam a lot of miles before he finally got his hands on his first medal. Hurdlers have to jump over a lot of hurdles along the way. Dorothy, Michael Phelps and the hurdler could each have given up, and lots of people do when things don’t happen as quickly as they want. Frequently, this is because they lack a practical way to measure progress, and get discouraged before they get to their objective.
This is where we need to go next. We’ll focus on ideas about how to measure success in order to keep motivation going next week.