Leadership and performance coaching

What I Learned About Myself by Building a French Drain…

January 29th, 2021 Posted by Life Coaching, Performance Coaching

Happy New Year!!! Over the holidays I spent a few days building a French Drain. We bought our house about nine years ago and the back garden has never been right. Because of the position of our neighbours property and the slope of the ground, when it rained, we always ended up with a completely waterlogged back garden. Well after nine years I decided to do something about it. It was pretty hard going and took hours of digging and preparing a trench. What I found most interesting was that, in the beginning, the digging was relatively easy. Getting through the top soil was a breeze and I was making great progress but then I hit a layer of rocks and stones! Every time I drove the spade into the ground the vibrations of metal hitting rock sent shudders up my arm and then it hit me, the rocks weren’t single big rocks but loads of smaller stones tightly packed together. If I could get the angle just right and leverage out just a couple I could gain greater leverage to get under this layer and excavate a whole spade full. So how is all of this relevant to you?

Well, quite a bit actually! The back garden performs fine during good weather. Even if the weather is slightly off, it still performs pretty well. It’s only after persistent heavy rains (think stress) that problems bubble up to the surface and makes things unpleasant. Of course, stress, like heavy rain, is only natural and therefore building the drain gives it some outlet so it doesn’t cause a problem. If you don’t already have a drain for your stress it’s likely you’ll have to build one. This can be easier said than done because no doubt, just like me, you’ll end hitting a layer of rock, a layer of little things we haven’t dealt with over the years that often lies under the surface and prevents us from performing at our best. It’s this layer that inhibits the natural flow of things causing problems to bubble to the surface, especially when we’re under stress. Rarely does this layer consist of immovable boulders but of many small stones that, with the right leverage, can be removed with relative ease.

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe. ~ Muhammad Ali

The first step is recognising that, although they’re under the surface, these stones exist (awareness is always the first step in making a change) and then coming up with a plan to remove them and implement a more sustainable solution that allows you to perform at your best no matter how hard it rains!

Of course, the French Drain is a metaphor for chronic problems that exist for you, your team or your organisation; those things that lie under the surface that haven’t been addressed and cause ongoing problems. What’s your plan for dealing with these as we kick into 2021? If you’d like to explore options for how you, your team or your organisation can perform at a higher level this year, drop me a note or give me a call; we can sit down for a coffee and discuss strategies to take your life and your career to the next level.

If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.

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