It’s to use examples in your content.
A while back, I decided that I wanted to let go of this habit of immediately reaching for my phone after waking up. I mean, I couldn’t even see clearly, my eyes were barely open, but I would immediately want to check social media. This felt off to me. Like something that was no longer on the same page as me but I was still doing it out of habit. Kind of like a discrepancy in the frequency.
I was feeling this sense of yucky neediness and like someone else was in control of how I was going to feel the rest of the day. Which was completely subjective anyway.
I looked at the habit. Understood the needs it was satisfying. And I decided to satisfy those needs differently and change the way I was starting my day by choosing to read and walk in my living room every single morning, which I did.
Felt so proud throughout and this feeling reinforced my choice. Now, I can’t wait to wake up in the morning to read some more and walk. I make sure I know exactly what book I am going to read so that there’s no way I’m going back. And this desire to learn from the books that I am reading is free to build up overnight.
What do you do first thing in the morning? Besides the obvious human stuff.
The very first day, I read this thing about how one ingredient in emotional intelligence is recognizing the feelings that others have. They went on to explain that this meant expressing empathy for others, giving as example the fact that this meant noticing the signs of what someone might need or want.
And that was the example they were providing. I was like whaaaaat?! That’s not an example. It was basically the same thing just said in a different way. Not really an example.
In that moment, my arm holding the book dropped and a huh type idea began to take shape.
That’s how the idea for this piece of content was born.
That said, here’s what to do to avoid doubt and lack of clarity: use examples in your course. Especially if you’re providing multiple options.
For instance, I worked on a course for one of my clients and she had this huge list of questions that she wanted her clients to go through to create the image of their future self. She told me it felt off to read all of those questions, it felt repetitive and boring.
I got you, I said. I took that script, which was actually part of the free sample that I was providing. And I went through all of those questions, painted a vivid picture of having met with their future self version. Bringing it into the present moment. With clear examples of what to look for when connecting with that future version of themselves.
The truth is it drew my client in. She was thrilled about those examples and the way that scene came to life. She even said: “And that’s how it’s done!”
Imagine that you ask your clients to describe their morning routine in the future. Wouldn’t it be more inspiring to add an example of how you’d do this exercise? As opposed to just telling them what to do?
And I know, I know, sometimes we want our clients to come up with their own examples. But if they don’t have any, if they are not clear, if they keep trying to figure things out, they might get frustrated.
That lack of clarity can quickly turn into the excuse they’ve been waiting for. Because most of us want to fall back to being comfortable, especially when we’re really close to getting the results we want. And if there’s a way out, no matter how small, we’re more likely to take it.
Of course, not everyone is the same. But the people who do the work, they still benefit from those examples. Because they can see things from a different perspective and those examples that you provide can trigger all sorts of other ideas in them.
Not only do examples clarify concepts, ideas, action steps, but they make everything more interesting, easier to retain, and they create the sense of possibility. Because examples easily turn into evidence when we use real life situations.
I like to draw examples from my work, my client delivery, and my life experience. Trying to paint a picture of ‘it’s possible’ and ‘here’s what it looks like’. A clear scenario or event that helps with visualization, creating a clear image in our mind.
Imagine it like driving on a foggy road – this is before you get the example. You might reach your destination, but it’s slower. Or you might even decide to stop until the fog clear. Or even to go back and give up. As opposed to watching that fog lift with every example that you share and seeing all the way through.
And then it clicks… ah, I see how that works!
You know how sometimes we spend a lot of time being ourselves and with ourselves that we start believing everyone else thinks the way we do and knows all the things that we know and we believe everyone thinks the same way?
We all have such a unique way of looking at the world and experiencing it that, of course, it feels like it couldn’t be any other way for someone else. But even with all the beliefs and lessons we’ve been taught, we are the only ones who hear our thoughts and experience life being ourselves. So, if something is clear for you that does not mean it is for others. And you can never go wrong with exemplifying the concepts you’re teaching.