Focus on the Millimeters

I can’t teach about overcoming self-sabotage without using the word MILLIMETERS.

Yesterday, I was talking with a client who needs to let go of some people who do not treat her the way she deserves to be treated in her business. There doesn’t need to be drama or a huge blow up, just a simple, clear end to the relationship.

It’s a real risk. She earns income from them. They aren’t going to be happy. There is no guarantee there will be new, more appreciative life-giving clients who will fill the gap. But the cost of keeping them is a colossal drain on her energy and resentment and frustration at their disrespect. It is, simply, too high of a price to pay. And that high price meant that she was literally frozen in place, unable to move forward.

As we talked, I had a few questions for her:

  • How many people do you need to release?
  • Instead of thinking about ALL of them, what is a number you can start with that doesn’t feel so overwhelming and scary?
  • What is the tiniest step you can take toward having conversations with only two of those people?
  • What is a reasonable amount of time to give yourself to have these two conversations?
  • If you focus on just 2 conversations instead of 10, could you move forward without so much resistance?

When you aren’t doing something you KNOW you should do (In this case, actively teaching the world how you will be treated by creating healthy boundaries that protect you.) many times, it’s because your brain is making the task HUGE instead of focusing on the MILLIMETERS.

This client doesn’t need to have ten conversations tomorrow. She just needs to have one this week. She needs to take one tiny millimeter step. And then breathe and recover. And then take another tiny millimeter step.

Changing too fast will freak you out too much and often cause full-blown retreat to unhealthy habits.

Tiny steps.

Break it down.



  1. Lisa Ellstrom on November 4, 2022 at 11:20 AM

    One of the most quoted lines from Bruce Lee is “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” This refers to the power of practice and focus on a small precise scale as the first of many steps to mastery- even when that mastery is having the first of 10 conversations that builds the new habit of honoring your time and energy. Your client’s example is much more relatable and useful than 10k kicks for most of us, but the concept holds up. Starting with little kicks/smaller steps is much less ‘scary’ and presents itself in that way as do-able. This example is very inspiring for those of us who have some big changes in our future 🙂

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