Trip hazards and how to avoid them

Charlotte Sheridan
4 min readDec 5, 2022

Hello and welcome to week nine of my Advent Calendar of Change; 12 bite-sized exercises from my new book Swim Jump Fly: A Guide to Changing Your Life.

Someone once wrote, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” This contains two helpful notions — 1) that change is hard and 2) we need to watch out for trip hazards along the way! In Swim Jump Fly I mention 14 such hazards. I’ll cover seven this week:

1. Own Goal

If you don’t know your football (Soccer) from your football (American), then you may not know about own goals. It’s when a player accidentally kicks the ball into their own net. An own goal in a change project is the same; you’ll create one if you don’t set the right objectives. If you find your project isn’t going well maybe your goal was off. Perhaps you’ve had nagging feelings that the focus wasn’t right? If you’ve been ignoring these doubts, then maybe it’s time to review what you really want to achieve.

2. Running away vs. running towards

From a distance it’s hard to know why someone is running. Are they fleeing from or racing to? To the casual observer they look the same. It can be equally baffling to the runner. Some of the interviewees for my book were running to. But many were running from. It takes distance and time to figure out which.

When people suddenly quit their jobs or jump too quickly into something new, they can end up in a different place that’s just as bad. In escaping they’re creating a false start. Why not check whether you’re running away from something you don’t like, or running towards something that you do?

3. Overly Ambitious

Have you bitten off more than you can chew for this change project? Ask yourself whether you have the time and energy to do this. Are you too busy? Will your life help or hinder your change project? Perhaps you’re making this project too complicated? Psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote a book called The Paradox of Choice: why more is less. Too much choice produces paralysis rather than liberation. Are you making life difficult for yourself? Could you cut back on some options?

Charlotte Sheridan

Psychologist, coach, writer, photographer… juggling them all but often dropping balls.