The Two Spirals
Have you ever noticed how one little change to your life can result in BIG wins or massive losses? It’s that one little action that starts the momentum towards great success or failure.
I like to think of it as starting to spiral upward or starting to spiral downward.
Spirals are an easy way to think about the power of change. Imagine two spirals, meeting at the their points like the figure below.
The top spiral is your “positive spiral”. At the top are you biggest goals and your highest hopes for your life.
The bottom spiral is your “negative spiral”. At the bottom are your deepest fears.
Spirals operate as if they are subject to gravity. That is, it takes energy to move up a spiral. Likewise, it is easy to slide down a spiral when you stop applying that energy.
Just like a car needs your foot on the gas to get up a hill but will coast easily backwards when you take your foot off the pedal, so, too, do your spirals need daily attention.
Which direction you move on your spiral depends on your actions each and every day.
Most of us have a whole collection of spirals we move on – earning money, saving money, weight, fitness, relationships (marriage, parenting, etc.) and a host of other “goals” that consume our days.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and start to slide down one or more of your spirals.
The thought, “It’s just one day – it won’t matter” pops up when you’re tired and stressed.
But it is that one day that starts the downward momentum. And once in motion, that momentum can ramp up each day, until you dip below the neutral point and begin to gain traction in your negative spiral.
The good news is that you don’t have to push hard every day to make progress on your spiral. You just need to move slightly forward, knowing each day builds upon the last to create massive progress.
Here are a few examples:
As you can see, plotting your spirals can give you a sense of the small changes that lead to big results (or big failures).
Take a minute now to draw your goals and milestones on the spirals. You can download a blank spiral sheet here:
Now make a short list of the 5 actions that drive you upwards or downwards.
For example, with an upward income spiral you might move up by making 5 calls each day, reaching out to 5 LinkedIn contacts, having 3 sales appointments per week, booking one speaking engagement per week or meeting with a strategic partner once a week.
For the downward income spiral it might be spending more than 10 minutes a day on Facebook, taking more than an hour for lunch, doing admin tasks in the morning, not sleeping properly or not planning your day’s activities.
With your new spiral picture plus a handy list of actions to do (and to avoid), you are much more likely to hit your goals. Just focus on steady actions each day and watch the results show up!