Recommended: Anne Lamott’s Great “One-Inch Picture Frame” Strategy

In her entertaining, down-to-earth writing guide, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott describes keeping a one-inch picture frame on her desk. She does this, she says, so that when she feels overwhelmed by a writing project, she’ll remember that she’s not setting out to write a whole, finished piece in one sitting. She likes to remember to focus on one small, one-inch picture frame-sized write-able section at a time. This general principal–when you feel overwhelmed, break the overwhelming-seeming work into small, manageable parts–is one of the great Learning Skills Strategies every student should know about!

I thought it would be interesting to ask our colleagues in the Career Centre if the One-Inch Picture Frame Strategy is useful in their work with students.  Team Facilitator/ Career Counsellor Karen Carrel Rice shared the following thoughts with me:

This concept is very applicable when thinking about the career planning process. Many times students feel overwhelmed with the idea of planning ahead for their future, knowing where they will go after university or even thinking about the transition from school to work.

All of these are big steps for many people, and can sometimes leave students feeling overwhelmed. When working with students one on one in career counselling, we encourage them to break down the process that they are working through, and think about taking small steps towards whatever the goal is that they are working on.

For example, before you can make a career decision, you need to know what your interests are and how they connect to the world of work, so the first step would involve working with a career counsellor to assess your areas of interest.

It is important to make each of the small steps things that will be attainable for them, and that once they complete each step, they acknowledge their accomplishment.

All of the small steps together help to pave the path to achieving their goal.