Updated: Mar 7, 2020
The problem: Andre is starting his own online teaching course as a scalable way of earning passive income. He had become frustrated at regularly not reaching his goals of releasing content on his YouTube channel. Missing these goals became demotivational.
Tracing the structure: Emotional states regarding unmet goals or deadlines are often triggered as a result of beliefs surrounding the implications of failure. As such, my initial hunch, which ended up being incorrect (which is normal throughout the course of a session as I model and remodel what seems to be happening based on new information), was that Andre was potentially drawing inaccurate or damaging conclusions about the situation and even his own self-worth as a result of not reaching deadlines. As it turns out, all that was needed here was better conceptual clarification regarding his feedback metrics for making progress
Option 1: Get a deeper sense of his motivational profile and how that fits with what he is currently trying to accomplish
Option 2: Call bullshit on missing deadlines not affecting his feelings of self-worth and keep trying to alleviate that (calling bullshit is essential in coaching sessions at times)
Option 3: Take a closer look at his pre-determined metrics for making progress. Ensure that he has a healthy relation to them, that the metrics are reasonably ambitious, that tracking the metrics themselves isn’t too much overhead, etc.
Bits and pieces of Options 1 and 3, but mostly something else – We found that Andre’s virtually had only one explicit metric, which was simply the number of videos produced. This said nothing about the quality of the videos, the promotion of the content, or any other factors that could be potentially important. Andre would get frustrated because content creation proved slower than he thought, particularly because he was unsatisfied with the quality of his videos. He would get ‘derailed’ and ‘fall down rabbit holes’ from producing content by having to educate himself on how to produce higher quality content, thus not reaching his quantity-centered goal of producing a certain amount of videos per week. In that sense, Andre was not pricing in the time-cost of taking the adequate steps to improve the quality of his videos. While falling down rabbit holes is one of the many tell-tale signs of aversion to a task, in this case, it seemed as if Andre was considering an important part of the process a ‘detour’ that drained his time and kept pulling him away from his only recognized metric. Another way of putting it – he was holding himself to an explicit goal, while his implicit took him to other places because it recognized the importance of quality content. We worked on getting him to reconceptualize the ‘detour’ as a hugely important part of the content creation process, being careful to build qualitative growth markers and feedback mechanisms as he spent more time on improving quality.