We use this phrase in coaching fairly often, and about half the time I completely get it; the other half I’m mystified to make it work in my own life. So when I saw a workbook with that exact title by Cheri Huber, I decided to pick up a copy to see if it helped me unlock that mystifying half. To my surprise, it did, within the first five exercises, and then suddenly I “got” the concept and how to work with it on a deeper level. I think you might enjoy playing with this as a tool for understanding and change, so I wanted to share it with you today.
If you have not heard the phrase “how you do anything is how you do everything” yet, here’s my take on it: whatever happens in our lives, we are the constants within it. So whatever patterns of behavior and thinking we might have in one area, they will likely be reflected in every other area of our lives. You might be skeptical about this, thinking things like “but! The way I handle money is totally different than the way I handle my career.” And I completely understand where you’re coming from if that is what you are thinking.
Stay with me, though, because I think there is something to this for everyone. Let’s try this in the same way that I did to begin, by starting with two exercises from Cheri Huber’s book. Grab a blank sheet of plain paper and some drawing tools and do the following:
- Draw a picture of yourself at work. Describe this person.
- Draw a picture of yourself at play. Describe this person.
In all honesty, I didn’t even draw them out – I got a mental visual for each, and the way I described myself in both of these scenarios was bored. Yikes! Bored at my day job! Bored at my dream job! Bored even at play! And suddenly, that realization brought a lighting flash of understanding this tool, and how to use it to change any area of life in order to change another.
So let’s play with this.
Martha Beck talks about using metaphor as a tool in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by using the question, “how is this like that?” While this is a great idea, I could never get into it. Random pairs like “how is this jar of salsa like my financial situation?” didn’t light me up. (Maybe I didn’t even get what she meant!) When combining it with “how you do anything is how you do everything,” I fell in love.
Here are some random questions to play with, but the options are endless:
- How is the way you approach cooking like the way you approach sex?
- How is the way you handle your finances like the way you handle car maintenance?
- How is the way you approach your work like the way you express your creativity?
- How is the way you grocery shop like the way you take care of your emotions?
- How is the way you deal with email like the way you connect with the Divine?
- How is the way you decorate your home like the way you engage with physical exercise?
(I would love to hear any questions you come up with in the comments.)
Now for the fun part – can you change one element and see if it changes the other? Maybe taking excellent care of your car will spill over to excellent care of your finances…after all, how you do anything is how you do everything. I would love to hear your experiences with playing with this tool.