The Trickiness of Stickiness 

Every 90 days or so I like to do a mini review in the hope of keeping myself and our business aligned with the things that matter to us and our plan for the year. I seize the quieter moments to reflect while I have a bit of space. This year has been all go, which makes it feels harder to make the time and also even more critical that I make the time.

I ask myself three questions,

  • Am I being true to my aims (and these include how I want to feel as much as what I want to achieve)
  • Am I showing up for the people and things that matter to me
  • Am I on the right track or do I need to course adjust.

The answer (as it often is) is both yes and no, I’m impactful, I’m on the right track and I’m being true to what I believe in. I’m also distracted, busy, and surrounded by obstacles. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it reflects the human growth story. We set our intention or goals and then life gets in the way, how we handle that determines who we become.

Like many people at the moment, I feel my life and work are evolving in the wake of the Covid, both the personal and global impact have given me a sense of urgency around the work I do, and I suspect I am not alone in this feeling.

The word that reflects my year so far – stickiness.

 Why? Because playing beyond your comfort zone is required. I find myself in sticky situations where I don’t necessarily have all the answers, I might feel like an imposter – which is a good thing in my view, and I’m called to think bigger, play bigger and be bigger.

I’m currently working through Rachel Rickett’s book ‘Do Better’ which is an uncomfortable journey – and one I totally recommend. It also brings me to the second bit of stickiness, which is sticking at something. It’s all too easy to give up on the hard stuff because in our noisy world there is plenty to fill our time.

The hard stuff is rarely pleasant, but usually worth the effort – think getting started on a new exercise routine – hard at the beginning, and it’s tempting to quit before you get any reward, stickiness is what gives you the win.

Transformation of any kind meets resistance in the form of habit, time constraint, being busy, excuses, and expectations – your own and other people’s. It’s often easier to settle, keep doing what you do and kid yourself that you are doing your best.

Holding on to where you are going – being clear about and true to who you are and the contribution you make, certainly help; so does celebrating the milestones and little wins that track your progress. But mostly, it’s stickiness that makes the difference, or more precisely, whether you chose to stick with where you are or stick with the, sometimes uncomfortable, journey towards human growth.

Let’s use my current kitchen refurb as a metaphor for human transformation.

I started planning this back in 2019, and finally put it into action in January 2022! After much indecisive exploration, financial consideration and a pandemic, I finally committed to what I wanted to achieve, who my dream team were – a trusted plumber who I’ve known for over a decade, a neighbour who is a kitchen designer – who knew, and a carpenter & electrician recommended by him. What could possibly go wrong?

Like with any transformation, you have to let go of the old to make space for the new, which for my kitchen was a combo of storing, repurposing and recycling, skipping only the bits we couldn’t do the former with. This was a surprisingly emotional process – there was a lot stored up in what has been the heart of my home for the last fifteen years. Letting go was not as easy as I expected – even though I really want the new kitchen.

So with stage one complete, the kitchen ripped out, the transformation – by way of plumbing, electrics and a lot of plastering, could begin. It’s messy, but sticking with the vision makes it worthwhile. Then comes the first big challenge, the kitchen bits we were all expecting we very different to what actually arrived, things didn’t look right, they weren’t going to fit in the space right, and the company were less than helpful and my dream kitchen was looking a bit ragged around the edges.

We had two choices – we could circle back, compromise on the original plan and rebuild my kitchen in a useable way, or we stick with the vision, ride out the discomfort and do the work needed to get it right. Which of course is the route I’ve taken. There’s been obstacles, diversions, delays, and very little feels in my control.

This, of course, is not true – plenty is in my control. I chose to persist; I choose how I behave towards the other people involved in the project, who because of the relationships we’ve built, particularly with my plumber, who has gone out of her way to help me experience the disruption in the best way possible. I choose the attitude I bring to the inconvenience of not having a full kitchen – luckily, I’m an adventurer and have plenty of experience of camping out and making do.

In the end my kitchen is just a kitchen – even though it’s consuming energy and time right now, it will get sorted and the results will be worth the stickiness endured.

It is a great metaphor for human growth though – we have a plan which has sometimes been a long while in the making – particularly when it really matters to us. As soon as we embark on the plan things get in the way to test us, to see if we really want it and critically if we have the commitment to see it through.

Often, we don’t, we circle back; maybe with a small upgrade and a lot of post hoc justification of why we’ve made the right choice.

Stickiness, for me is about having the courage to go for the things that really matter to you, being able to sit in the discomfort of uncertainty or not knowing in order to grow, and being tenacious enough to hold vision and grow into the person you are here to be.

 As the world reboots itself, evolves, and settles, I believe we each have a narrowing window of opportunity to do the things that matter to us, hence my own sense of urgency.

I hope you choose the version stickiness that feels right for you now, whatever that is, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences of stickiness or word for your year this far.

With love