How Just 1% Better Can Change Your Life?

life changingI have always loved a story I heard once about a European airline company that was failing in the 1980’s. A new CEO was brought on board and he turned the company around in less than a year. When interviewed, he was asked what he did to turn the company around. He replied:

“Well, we didn’t do one thing, 100% better. We did 100 things, just 1% better.”

Brilliant! The idea of taking on one major task and doing it 100% better sounds far more intimidating than looking at a few areas of my life and seeing where I can make small shifts that collectively add up.

This CEO was clearly most interested in what best served the company to make change happen. Certainly, when we can show off the big-boom-A-ha moments, they feel pretty glitzy and get lots of attention. To transform some area of our lives, literally overnight, is a sexy idea. It’s appealing and it’s what most people are selling because we live in a culture that asks for instant results (the bigger, the better).

But when we get attached to the glitz, we miss the 1% changes along the way–the small, moment-to-moment choices that we can make that add up to the same sort of change, and that are likely to be longer lasting.

These 1% changes are rooted in one really amazing question:

Is this serving me?

By “serving me” I mean: “Is _____ supporting me, furthering my growth, nourishing me, or helping me step into my vision for my life and business? Will it support me, further my growth, nourish me, or help me step into my vision for my life and business to ___?”

Some questions to consider:

  • Is my attitude about ___ serving me?
  • Is my belief about ___ serving me?
  • Are my habits around health serving me?
  • Are my routines in my relationships serving me?
  • Is this relationship serving me?
  • Is this job serving me?
  • Will it serve me to spend this money?
  • Will it serve me to say what I’m about to say to this person?
  • Will it serve me to make that choice?

Here’s a big one: Believing that negative internal chatter does not serve you.

However you are approaching sinking into who you BE, that inner critic voice that tells you your dreams can’t be had or change can’t be made is a fear-based voice (and sometimes that fear shows up as anger”¦and other times as a seductive saboteur, telling you to relax and take a load off and ignore your goals).

The Inner Critic is a very real aspect of our personalities (because it’s been conditioned into us at this point). Simply repeating affirmations isn’t enough to “make it go away” (in fact, I think the desire to “make it go away” only gives the inner critic voice strength).

It does not serve us to quit on ourselves because the inner critic says that we might as well/should/no point anyway/this is too hard/who are you kidding? /maybe this goal doesn’t matter to me like I thought it did.

It does not serve us to act based on any message that is not loving.

How do we know if a message is loving? When we distill anything down to its essence, it’s either love, or it’s fear.

Love feels good in your body. Love lifts you up. Fear does not feel good. It’s a signifier that something is up.

A few questions to guide you as you explore this:

  • In every moment, we choose from two basic places: Love, or fear. What do you tend to choose most often?
  • When you speak to someone who has upset you, from what place are you speaking?
  • When you go into a job that you dislike, from what place are you making that choice?
  • When you don’t take care of your health, what’s that about?
  • In what areas of your life are you most likely to choose love, and in which areas are you most likely to choose fear?

About the Author: This article is written by Kate Swoboda, aka Kate Courageous. Kate Swoboda is a Life Coach, speaker and writer who helps clients to lead unconventional and revolutionary lives through practicing courage. She’s the author of The Courageous Living Guide, and creator of the Courageous Play and Create Stillness retreats-as well as The Coaching Blueprint, a resource just for Life Coaches. When she’s not writing, coaching, or leading retreats in Italy and San Francisco, she can be found sipping chai in libraries, buffing up on her Italian, training for her next road race, or getting all bendy-stretchy on the yoga mat. You can find Kate at