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Is It True? Or Does it Just Sound Good?
A few years ago I heard this quote:
“How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything”-Martha Beck
It’s one of those quotes that once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your head.
The funny thing is that I can’t get it out of my mind because I can’t decide whether or not I actually agree with it!!
What do you think? Is it really true? Or is it a big exaggeration?
I first heard this quote on a podcast. The podcaster believed this quote 100%.
Here’s what I think: I think it’s MOSTLY true, but not always true.
Example Where It’s True For Me
At work, I’m responsible for doing lots of fine-detailed work. When I finish doing my work and I’m ready to turn in an assignment, I check my work carefully.
I check and double-check. I can check it up to 5 times to make sure there are no mistakes.
Here’s where this shows up in my life:
- After I make a recipe, I re-check the ingredients list to make sure I didn’t accidentally leave out an ingredient. This double-check has saved me many failures, trust me!
- Before I send an email, I usually re-read it a few times to make sure I don’t have typos.
- After I edit a podcast, I listen to it just one last time to make sure I didn’t miss anything that needed editing.
In this example, you can see how I double-check my work in the office reflects how I double-check everything in my life. Everything! From small to big I double-check.
Example Where It’s Not True For Me
But I also have examples in my life where I’m not consistent.
Let me give you an example.
The inside of my kitchen cabinets are incredibly organized. Every time I open my cabinets, it’s like I hear the angels sing.
I have containers for my dry goods. They’re all the same kind, all clear containers with purple lids. And the item in each container has a neat label indicating what’s in it.
My spices are on lazy susans and are very easy to find. It feels so efficient!
But I don’t have other places in my house that are like this. Sure, I have a few, but most don’t look like this.
I would LOVE for my whole house to resemble these kitchen cabinets, but it doesn’t always work out that well.
Here’s Why I Think the Rule Doesn’t Always Apply
As a coach, I’ve learned that everyone has mental blocks around things. These mental blocks can be limiting beliefs, messages that you learned as a kid, assumptions, etc.
These limiting beliefs can get in your way so that while you SHOULD be the same in all parts of your life, but sometimes you’re not.
My limiting belief is that kitchens are easy to organize but other places in the house are harder. See, it’s not necessarily true, but I believe it. So I’m able to make my kitchen dare I say “perfect” but I have this message (that doesn’t serve me) that keeps me from believing I can do this in the rest of my house.
Noticing Your Limiting Beliefs
I think it’s important to notice when you’re different in one area of your life than you are in others.
This is a great message for you. This message can help you be aware that you may have a mental block somewhere.
And once you know it exists, you can start working on examining it (and hopefully banishing it!).
The Quote SHOULD be True
See why I love this quote? I believe this quote SHOULD be true if life was optimal.
If we didn’t have mental hang-ups.
If we didn’t’ have bad experiences both as children and adults.
Because it makes sense that how you do anything should be how you do everything.
But when it’s not true, perhaps there’s a reason.
It can work as a flag.
When you start noticing that for example, you’re able to easily be social with strangers while in one setting, but not another, what’s going on here?
It’s a great invitation to look at yourself, understand yourself better, and change things or get help where you need it.
Does this make sense to you?
It’s almost like we’re saying that “how you do anything is how you do everything” SHOULD be the case. And if it’s not, it’s showing that you may have some work to do.
I love how our minds help us out in this way 🙂
Agreeing with the Quote
Now, let’s talk about scenarios where the quote may be true for you, where how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Let’s do a fun example of this.
Let’s take buying ice cream as an example.
You go to the store for ice cream and you see a million different brands, flavors, frozen yogurt, popsicles. Ohmygosh!!
How you react?
Are you excited? Wow!! Look how many options? This is going to be so much FUN! And so yummy.
Or do you get overwhelmed by the numbers of options and flavors so you just FREEZE!! (that was a total pun, by the way!)
How are you like this in life?
When you have a lot of options, does this excite you or does this make you panic? How does this play out in other areas of your life?
Personally, I’ve learn that too many options in ANYTHING are not good for me.
Applying the Lessons
Let’s talk about using this information to apply it to different parts of our lives. Since I freeze up when I have too many options, I’ve learned to limit the options in my life.
So for example, knowing that I don’t like multiple options, I keep a limited wardrobe of only about 12-15 items each season. This way when I go to get dressed in the morning, I’m not panicked like I would be in front of 10 cases of ice cream. I’ve got a few outfits and it’s easier for me to choose.
See how you can apply the things you learn about yourself to help you in life, be more efficient and less stressed?
How to Apply the Lesson if it ISN’T Showing Up
Let’s talk about what to do if things aren’t consistent. If we’re different in one part of our life than we are with other parts.
If it’s not showing up in all areas of my life, to me it’s like a red flag showing me that I have some kind of inner block. Something I need to work on.
Maybe we should change the quote to
“How I do anything is how I SHOULD do everything!”
Let’s apply this to your life in two ways:
1. Start Noticing Differences
First, start noticing when you almost always behave or react in a certain way, but in just a few situations, you’re different.
For example, if you’re always organized, why aren’t you organized when it comes to, let’s say, grocery shopping?
Could it be that you think your spouse should be the one doing it and you feel resentful that you have to do it all the time?
Start noticing when the pattern is broken.
A broken pattern is very telling. It’s some of the best information you can get about yourself.
If there’s a break in the pattern, something is going on. Something you probably need to deal with and fix.
2. Start Noticing Patterns
The other thing for you to do is notice when you have a pattern. For example, my pattern of being overwhelmed by choices shows up everywhere.
Start noticing. And then take the pattern into account to make your life easier.
For me, this would mean to start limiting options so I can move forward without going overwhelmed or procrastinate.
Whatever your pattern, be it positive or negative, start noticing that it IS indeed a pattern, and this will give you the ability to start changing things and making improvements and tweaks for your life.
Recognizing Your Patterns is Powerful
Recognizing your patterns has some powerful implications, doesn’t it?
It can help you spot problems and also prevent problems.
I love what I learned about myself thanks to Martha Beck’s quote “How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything.”
How will you incorporate this into your own life?