9th January, 2024

The Three-Step Plan for Getting Your Sh*t Together

With Rachel Morris

Dr Rachel Morris

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On this episode

So you’ve got a problem, maybe a relationship issue at work or difficulties managing your workload. You’ve talked about it with friends, but the solution won’t present itself. Often the problem isn’t that we lack solutions, but rather that we haven’t fully understood what the problem is in the first place.

In this quick dip episode, Rachel shares her three-step model to help you identify and address the real problem you’re facing. It involves recognising we have choices, embracing our human needs and limitations, and thinking differently.

If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll continue getting the same results. But changing our mindset can give us confidence and the ability to approach situations from a fresh perspective.

Show links

Reasons to listen

  • To discover how to identify and solve the underlying problems that are driving you mad and hindering your progress
  • To learn why focusing on resilience alone might not address the real issues causing stress and underperformance
  • For a practical model that will help you make the right choices, embrace your human needs, and think differently to achieve better outcomes

Episode highlights


What’s the real problem?


Making the right choices


Be human


Think differently


Putting the three Cs into practice


What language are you using?


The Shapes Toolkit

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rachel: Have you ever had a problem, perhaps an issue with a relationship at work or managing your own workload or something going on that you can’t quite put your finger on that is driving you mad and you just can’t find a solution? And you have conversation after conversation about it with friends and then one day you suddenly realize it’s all become clear because you finally realize what the actual problem really is.

[00:00:24] So many of us think that we can’t solve issues and problems, particularly around performance and resilience and stress, because we don’t have the answers and we don’t have the solutions. But what I’ve observed is often it’s not because we don’t have the solutions it’s because we’re not really clear on what the problem is in the first place.

[00:00:45] This is a You Are Not a Frog quick dip, a tiny taster of the kinds of things we talk about on our full podcast episodes. I’ve chosen today’s topic to give you a helpful boost in the time it takes to have a cup of tea, so you can return to whatever else you’re up to feeling, energized, and inspired. For more tools, tips, and intoo.Hts to help you thrive at work, don’t forget to subscribe to You Are Not a Frog wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:01:15] I have some neighbors whose roof started leaking and it took them 18 months to finally get it fixed. And they had people turning up at their house for days on end fixing it, fixing it, and it was still leaking. It wasn’t until somebody works. At what the real issue was that they finally managed to get it fixed.

[00:01:35] And I have a friend who’s a coach that sets up often, most of the coaching session is taken up by really understanding what the actual problem is. Because once you know that then the solution becomes really pretty obvious.

[00:01:49] And I think this is why resilience has become such a dirty word. People hate it because they feel that they are being blamed. That if things aren’t going well at work, if they’re stressed and under pressure, it’s because their own resilience is at fault and they feel like that is resilience victim blaming going on.

[00:02:07] Because often when we do wellbeing training or you get a resilience trainer in we are solving the wrong problem. They’re just giving people lots and lots of advice about skills. About things that they need to do, which is actually just adding to the pressure, making people feel worse and not solving the real issue. But if we can get this right and delve down to the real issue, then we can have reduce our stress, we gonna increase our performance, we’re going to feel happier and we’re going to thrive at work.

[00:02:34] So, I’m going to present to you a brand new model that I’ve just come up with quite recently because I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been thinking actually, what is it that we need? What is it that can help us actually work out what the real problem is, and address it in a very holistic manner, which means we’re not just solving one problem but we’re getting to the heart of the issue and also acknowledging that there’s other stuff at play?

[00:02:56] And I call this my three C model. And I’m struggling if I’m honest to give it a real title. And actually, I think it’s a three C model of getting your shit together. So sorry for any swearing. But I can’t think of a better title that doesn’t have the R word in it. If you can, email me and let me know.

[00:03:12] So this is how the three C model goes. And it’s fine if you’re listening on audio, but if you want to hop over to YouTube channel, you’ll be able to see this on the flip chart behind me.

[00:03:21] I know that through my own journey of working as a GP, as being a mum with very small children, trying to juggle and manage it all and feeling like I’m dropping hundreds and hundreds of balls. That this stuff is really difficult. And I did a bit of a career change. I got some coaching. I found some tools that really, really helped me. But it was a lot of different things that helped me, not one thing at a time.

[00:03:46] And we talk about these all the time on the podcast, the first thing. Is to help us make the right choices. We need to be able to know what. Options are so many of us just feel trapped. And we feel that we don’t have any choices. Now you can use the zone of power, which we’ve talked about in other podcasts to work out what’s in your control and what’s not in your control. Because if we focus on the stuff that’s out of our control, we’re just going to get stressed, there’s nothing we can do about it. But if we work out what’s in our control, we can work out what our choices are.

[00:04:16] Now, we don’t always like those choices because they might be difficult. They might be hard. They might have serious consequences, so we need courage to make those choices, but at least once we know what they are, they become very, very clear.

[00:04:28] I also found out through my own journey that I am a human being and I have human limits and I crumble under too much pressure. And I cannot withstand many, many nights without sleep and I need human connection and exercise and to eat the right food. I know that I am human and I have human limits.

[00:04:45] And what small other people are human too. And when I don’t express my own human needs to other humans in a way that they can understand and get behind, that’s when the problem can occur. So there are some skills I need to be able to do all of this stuff.

[00:05:01] And finally, we need to be able to think differently about all of this stuff, because if we carry on doing what we’ve always done, we’re always going to get what we’ve always got and it’s not going to go well for us.

[00:05:10] So how does this three C model work in practice and what it’s for? Well, I suggest that if you find yourself with an issue or you’re talking to someone else, who’s a bit stuck on something you use this model.

[00:05:22] So let’s think about wanting to get home from work at a decent time. If I can’t get home on time, is it that I’ve got too much to do? Am I not managing a workload properly? Is it that I feel bad about leaving? Is it that I have to stay? What choices do I actually have? So firstly, we need to look at what choices we’ve got and what’s in our control about leaving on time. And these range from just walking out bang on time and leaving everything to everyone else, and of course there’s consequences to that, to actually having a conversation with someone and saying Actually I’m going to come back and see my work and other time, or managing our workload differently, or reducing our work or changing, I don’t know, there’s all sorts of things, but there are choices and we need to know what is in our control.We then need to think about, well, okay there’s all these different things I can do. So maybe one of the things I need to do is to be able to prioritize my work much better. So I can work out what’s important and what’s not. And make sure I’ve done the important things before I go out of the door. But that doesn’t mean I’ve got to say no to other people.

[00:06:25] So we can think about the human skills that we need to do. Skills like being able to give feedback to someone whose behavior is a little bit difficult. Maybe I need to say to that person that keeps disturbing me just as I’m trying to walk out the door. You know what? I can’t have this conversation now. Can we have it tomorrow?

[00:06:44] But often we find that we know what choices we’ve got. and we’ve worked out what we should be doing, and we’ve got the skills to do that. But something still stops us and we feel stuck. If we’re feeling stuck, what we need to do is think differently so that we don’t feel so guilty if somebody else has inconvenience or we can’t give them exactly what they need.

[00:07:06] Because here, the problem is a lack of confidence in saying what we need or we wants to do in case we offend other people. So changing our mindset will give us increased confidence.

[00:07:17] But what happens if we recognize that we are human beings that needs certain skills and abilities, but we’ve got the right mindset about saying no. We know that in the longterm, if we get home regularly on time, that’s going to be good for everybody else. That’s going to prevent burnout. But we still feel responsible for absolutely everything. What’s happened is we haven’t, what’s how what’s in our control or not. And we don’t know what choices we have and we’re just going to feel completely overwhelmed.

[00:07:47] And when we’re feeling overwhelmed. What do we need to do? We need to focus on what is in our control and know what our choices are. So if you know, what’s in our control, we think differently and get the mindset right, we feel calm and we feel confident. But what if just to be starting to try and get out the door because we know what we’ve got to do, we know why we’re going, someone asks us for something and we just respond really badly or we do it in a very clumsy manner, or we’re offensive and we don’t handle situations very well? Well, here we need to think about the skills and there it’s great skill in saying no well, and in giving difficult feedback and being able to challenge other people, being able to look after yourself, being able to prioritize and manage your time and attention. All these are human skills that we need to learn.

[00:08:38] And I personally find it very, very helpful when people share with me tools and models, which just help me navigate difficult situations and get a better outcome. Because if we don’t have the right skills and tools, then what happens if we are ineffective, even if we’ve got the right mindset and we know what our choices are. If you get the right tools and skills, then you will be capable.

[00:09:01] So it’s a really have your shit together. You need to be in the middle of these three circles. You need to feel calm, confident, and capable. It’s not enough just to know what choices you’ve got and to get the skills and tools. You’ve got to have the mindset. It’s not enough to have the right mindset and skills if you’re overwhelmed because you don’t actually know what choices you’ve got and you’re tackling the wrong problems. And it’s not enough to have the right choices and mindset without being able to actually execute what you need to execute.

[00:09:31] So when you are feeding like you just don’t know what to do, have a listen to some of the language you are using to describe how you’re feeling. Are you feeling stuck? If you’re feeling stuck, you probably need to look at your mindset. What am I thinking? What’s blocking me here? Why is it that even though I know what to do, I just can’t do it? Nine times out of 10, you’ll be telling yourself a toxic story. Like I should. I should be there. I shouldn’t go off. I can’t. What will they think? And then once you’ve identified that you’ll be able to work out how to change your mindsets. And of course, we talk about how to do that all the time on this podcast.

[00:10:10] If you find that you’re just feeling so overwhelmed and frazzled, but you’re not clear on what your options are. You’re not clear on what you’re in control of. And I find that as soon as you’re clear on what your choices are and you can take action, the stress seems to just dissipate. Even if nothing has changed.

[00:10:29] Side note, I spent a couple of weekends quite recently, just hiding at my office, filing all the paperwork I hadn’t filed for about two years, putting into practice some of the inbox, zero stuff that Graham Allcott talked about on his podcast, really, really, really helpful stuff around that.

[00:10:45] But once everything was clear and I was able to go what I’m dealing with, that I’m not going to deal with that, I’m going to let that go, what’s in my control, what’s not, I felt like a different person. I was no longer overwhelmed because I had looked at what I was in control of and what choices I had.

[00:10:59] But if you find yourself then thinking I just don’t know how to do that, I totally know it’s the right thing to do, but how would I even start? Well, that’s when you’re feeling ineffective and that’s when you can think actually what skills and tools are there out there? What do I need to learn how to do? Because if you’re encountering this problem, then. Hundreds of people. Thousands of people will have encountered that before.

[00:11:21] And for all this, I find that the Shapes really helped me. So I’ve already mentioned the zone of power can really help me choose. I love the drama triangle when it comes to mindset. That really helps me identify from fitting in a real victim position. Or if I’m feeding light and the rescue and how to fix it for everybody else. And the in the corner shade helps me think well, when I’m feeling backed into a corner, What stories am I telling myself? And when I need to get some skills to do a bit of self care, I think about the vortex of busyness and what am I giving up when I become too busy? And how do I prioritize using the prioritization grid?

[00:11:56] So next time you’re feeling like, oh, I’m never going to get to the bottom of this. Ask yourself am I feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or ineffective? And if you’re talking to someone else and they’re starting to use the words of stuck or the language of overwhelm. Or the language of just not failing to be able to really execute stuff and things yourself, which circle is missing? Where do we need to go to what’s the real problem here? Once you’ve identified the real problem, you can start getting to the solution. And that’s what will help you feel calm, confident, and capable. And I don’t know about you, but when I’ve got my shit together, I feel great.