Dr. Noelle Nelson

Practice “Maximum Effectiveness”

Apart from writing, my dogs, and life generally, my great passion is Ballroom dancing. A totally off-the-wall pursuit, no doubt, but one that truly lights me up. In addition to my primary instructor and competition partner, I have the privilege of a second instructor, a lovely and talented woman, Sue.*

Sue was sipping her coffee one day as I slipped on my dancing shoes, and dang! The aroma of her coffee was exceptional.  I asked Sue where she got it, and she told me she always made her own and that she started with buying just the right beans, grinding them herself every morning, so on and so on. Sue commented that her coffee was particularly tasty because, in her words, she tends to the “maximum effectiveness of each component.”

That’s exactly how Sue teaches Ballroom dancing. Nothing gets by her: feet, hands, head, every body part must be placed and move so as to assure “maximum effectiveness of each component.” That approach makes Sue an astonishingly effective instructor.

Approach Problems Differently. What could this possibly have to do with you? Well, let’s take a really simple issue: you want to get a good night’s sleep. You climb into bed an hour earlier, thinking that should do it, but no. You toss and turn, wake up 3 or 4 times in the night, and end up decidedly not refreshed. If instead, you looked at each component that might be contributing to your sleep or lack of, you could approach the problem differently.

For example, you might consider the temperature in your bedroom, the PJs you wear/don’t wear. If you watched the news last thing before lights out or rehashed that troublesome moment with your partner. If you ate dinner late. If your neighbors are habitually up late and noisy. There are at least a dozen components that may impact your sleep quality, not even mentioning your partner/pet’s behavior in the same bed.

When you take the time and make the effort to look at each component separately, you will find that you can most certainly maximize their effectiveness. You can experiment with the temperature in your bedroom, your choice of night clothes, consider soothing music or watching light-hearted comedy before bed, having dinner earlier or wearing earplugs so not to be disturbed by noisy neighbors.

It may seem laborious to do all that just to assure a good night’s sleep, but think about it. You do this sleep thing every day of your life. Surely that is worth the investment of a little time and thought. especially given the impact of a good night’s sleep on how your day goes.

You can use the same approach with anything you want to improve in your life. Whether it’s how to go about getting a promotion at work, dealing with your teenagers, or playing pickleball. The subject matter is irrelevant. Any time you take a close look at how to get maximum effectiveness out of every component that plays a part in whatever it is you want, the more likely you are to have a successful result.

“Maximum effectiveness of each component.” A great way to lean into success.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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