Haven't posted anything in a while. Read this quote this morning that inspired this post. It got me thinking about being present in one's life. There's probably lots out there (from way smarter people than me I might add) on how to be present in your life. From my experience in medicine - one of the common fallacies I encounter is the myth that being more physically present at work will make you more effective at what you do. Sure, in many disciplines you need to get your reps in, but if you're plateauing or hitting a wall - chances are you need to attend to the life-side. So I pose the question: "How are you showing up in your life?"
Celebrating Inner Brilliance
Got a nice surprise from the internet today - a note from a former client who was enjoying a quiet moment by a lake and was feeling very grateful. Her life, while of course not perfect, seemed so much better than before and this person felt that they owed me a debt of thanks for coaching her back to her path in life. She was able to reminisce with humour on many 'partial combustions' (tears and emotions) during our coffee-shop conversations.
Yes -it pleases me greatly to hear those words (as it validates me as a human trying to be good). It also provides me motivation to continue to change the world the only way I know how - by empowering every person I meet - perhaps tipping the balance towards global wellness in medicine.
BUT the lessons here are:
I was re-reading some notes from my coaching studies manuals and came across these thoughtful paragraphs. I was unable to cut n' paste and so began to type them out for myself. During the process I ended up changing some of Roszak's words to suit my bent. I hope that Roszak wouldn't mind and hope that fellow coaches out there find this useful - enjoy!
You and I we meet as strangers
Each carrying a mystery within us
I cannot say who you are
I may never know completely
But I trust that you are a person in your own right
Possessed of a unique ingenuity. Possessed of value
So I make this promise to you
I will impose no identities on you, but will invite you
to become yourself without shame or fear
I will hold open a space for you - a crucible of curiosity
and allow you to fill it with an authentic vision and purpose
For as long as your search takes, you have my loyalty
- my adaptation of Theodore Roszak's Coach's Manifesto
Allowing for Quiet Success
Photo credit www.clss.qc.ca
A poignant thing just happened - my son Hudson took his first steps. It happened quietly and softly [while I was distracted watching the Olympic games] but the implications are huge!
It's a massive milestone not only for him, but for us and what it means in terms parenting a child that will now want to walk everywhere! It made me reflect on how this massive achievement came quietly and almost imperceptibly. I've watched it building up for months with pulling himself up, insisting we walk him around to-and-fro holding his hands and (in the last couple of days) intentionally holding only one of our hands.
This massive success came from many small achievements that were rehearsed and practised. It was a process that took the last few months. And then without thinking "I am going to take my first steps now" - this little human just did it. He allowed it to happen. This incredible feat came gracefully and without pomp and ceremony.
What this teaches me is that we can achieve really big things in life if we focus NOT on the achievement itself, but by breaking it down into it's components and rehearsing THOSE things. If we simply trust the process and ALLOW success to come naturally - we may surprise ourselves by achieving big things quietly and with grace.
Thought for Today
I came across this wisdom reading a Forbes article on the ROI of Coaching. Thought that I'd share it. [The picture free use from the internet]
Imagine yourself living a new life - where you don’t need to justify your existence. Where you are free to be who you really are. You have permission to be happy and to really enjoy your life. You are free of internal conflict and conflict with others … What do you notice? What do you feel? What do you see? What might be different?
Image free use from Pixabay
A Just finished reading Don Miguel Ruiz's book "The Four Agreements". There are some great pearls in this book for coachee and coach - as it deals with mostly self awareness around belief systems. So I would say that it is prescribed reading for all involved in personal transformation. In it (albeit with a rather religious bent to it) he walks the reader through the Four Agreements:
The biggest pearls that I took away from this book are not only the statement on personal freedom above, but also the following:
The "Awareness > Transformation > Intention" spectrum
Although not explicitly stated this way - I took away from one of the final chapters that clients will exist in one of these phases of their coaching journey. Even coaching sessions can be structured around first generating awareness, then understanding what it will take to change and lastly creating intentions and purposeful actions. Pure gold!
The First Agreement - Be impeccable with your word:
Ruiz describes how we acquire beliefs and an inner critic that enables endless self flagellation and people-pleasing behaviour. Ruiz also contends that ALL humans seek truth, justice and beauty.
The Second Agreement - Don't take anything personally.
Ruiz shows how our beliefs create a perception about the world we live in that doesn't reflect the truth. We all essentially live in a perceived reality that we have created for ourselves. Our perceptions become facts. This sets us up for emotional reactions when other's ideas conflict with ours.
The Third Agreement - Don't make assumptions:
Ruiz illustrates how an in-born need to explain and understand things and a fear of questioning things sets us up to make assumptions. These assumptions usually conform to our belief systems so as to mitigate the inner conflict that has arisen.
The Fourth Agreement - Always do your best:
Ruiz shows that our "best" is dependent on many things and will actually vary from moment to moment and context to context. The act of simply doing one's best enables self-acceptance.
A Powerful question:
Although not explicitly state as a pq, this jumped out at me so I thought that I'd share it (and feel that he really should have started the book off with this) :
I want you to imagine yourself living a new life - where you don’t need to justify your existence. You are free to be who you really are. You have permission to be happy and to really enjoy your life. You are free of internal conflict and conflict with others … What do you notice? What do you feel? What do you see?
I hope that you've found this post helpful. Comments welcome as always.
Dealing with Stagnation
As a novice coach I found that I came out of "Coaching School" with many ideas and a bucket load of motivation. Then life happened. The unfortunate result was that I have found it difficult to really lean into my coaching. I found myself grappling with growing sense of listlessness and unease as my credentialing has stalled out. I believe that this is something many may identify with.
Here's my cure:
Set a goal! [Roll on floor and laugh out loud]:
You don't have to be on the client side of the equation and set goals. One small step breeds momentum. Just like the wind - it picks up. My small goal is to record some sessions - I can then use these for feedback for my next level of credential.
Get a wingman:
Surround yourself with motivated people. Meet with them – so that they may give you a spark. Ask that they keep you accountable. Watching my buds Kyle and Steve achieve their credentials is motivating me to emulate them.
You MUST continue to work on your craft. The credential doesn’t make you an effective coach – it gives others the illusion that you are an effective coach. Only through working reflectively on the craft do you improve. I am grateful that I have been able to keep at least one client on my roster throughout these doldrums - it has allowed me to practise. But still - every conversation is a coachable moment! Use these to listen deeply and ask 'the next' question.
Take clients wherever they may come from. Building your brand means that you continue to hustle and never give up on a lead. I plan on using a couple of pro bono clients to record my sessions.
If you really care about coaching – even having ONE client that you can help is an immensely rewarding enterprise! Don’t give up the tawny bird in front of you while chasing the brood of peacocks in the bush. Savour it and give everything to that tawny bird ... you never know they might just end up doing some amazing things.
[Image free use from Wikipedia]
I came across this wisdom today. Thought I'd turn it into a photo using a free-use pic from the 'net. There are many dysfunctional thoughts that impede our success. Most of the time in the coaching world we deal with the negative "I do not deserve more". The fear of success is a very real impediment to winning in life. However the thought that "I deserve more" may be equally dysfunctional. Notice when you feel this way. Ask yourself "Do I really?". "What does having more give me?". "How much of these things do I have right now?". You can then choose to accept, reject or modify this thought. The simple act of noticing and examining your beliefs empowers you to choose. Awareness and choice is how you live life on purpose. If you wish, you can check out the source of this wisdom here. Comments welcome.
A majestic tree as a metaphor
A large, majestic oak tree is a useful metaphor for a whole human being:
Underneath the surface are the roots that ground you - these are your core values - that allow you to find your place in this world. You as the gardener must nurture them. What you water will grow - so it is crucial to nurture and foster the roots. These in turn develop a strong trunk [Coaches and mentors can be seen as the fertiliser and sheers that help to nourish, strengthen the positive aspects and prune away the negative aspects in your life so that you can achieve abundance].
This is your truth. This is the “one word” that you need to discover - that encompasses all that you represent. The one word to live by. It is impervious and strong, but continues to grow and expand. The rings inside represent your life’s journey. Live what you represent.
These represent the different areas of your life [e.g. your finances, your spirit, your relationships etc]. Naturally some are bigger than others. Why not make them all equally solid?
These represent the possibilities for abundance. They soak up the sunshine and feed your soul.
The benefits of majestic trees:
There are so many great benefits that a large mature tree confers to its environment - shade, shelter, a home for birds and animals, a plaything for our children to climb, prevention of soil erosion and cleaning the air or simply a majestic being to be admired.
I hope that this metaphor can help you to be the best parent, guardian, friend, collegue and person. Comments welcome.
Currently reading Williams and Menendez' work Becoming a Professional Life Coach. The second chapter discusses the language of coaching. In it I discovered these five powerful questions [which I have paraphrased] and what they represent. I believe that if you can answer these, you're on your way to winning at life.
Why are these are powerful questions? The first gets at how a person sees themselves. It allows one to reflect on the past - crucial for insights on how to handle the future. The second two questions get at potential threats to winning - unfinished business that needs closure in order for one to achieve clarity. The fourth plants the seed of self-care - again crucial for future success. The last allows one to imagine a different reality for onself.
As a Coach
These are my reflections as a professional coach