Coaching in a Nutshell

Are you ready to wake up and create the life that you want?

Tag: transition

Rock the Boat!

In the 1974 song “Rock the Boat” by the group Hues Corporation, someone in the background is singing “Don’t rock the boat, baby” and “Don’t tip the boat over”.  That voice in the background is like your inner critic telling you to be careful and not rock the boat.  It’s too dangerous.  Something bad might happen.  If you rock the boat, you’ll tip it over and wind up in the water.  It will be your fault.  People will get upset.  Who knows what the fallout will be.  It’s too scary.

Well, I say:  ROCK THAT BOAT THAT IS YOUR LIFE!!!

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

The dictionary definition of “Rock the boat” is “to disturb a situation that is otherwise stable and satisfactory”.  In the report card of your life will you be happy with a satisfactory?  Or are you aiming for a life that is OUTSTANDING??? 

So, I will leave you with some questions:

  • How could you rock your boat?  And what would that mean to you?
  • What are you afraid might happen if you rock your boat?
  • When you’re 90 years old and sitting in your rocking chair will you regret not having rocked your boat?  (Rocking your chair won’t be the same thing, I guarantee it…)
  • Who wouldn’t like it if you rocked the boat?
  • What do you think about people who rock the boat?

“Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life’s currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose, or, better still, jump in the water and swim for the shore.”   Thomas Szasz

Are you ready to rock your boat?  I have received many requests to offer a group coaching program, so I have cleared some time on my schedule beginning this fall.  Stay tuned for more details.

And now, for your listening pleasure and, for some of us, a trip down memory lane, is “Rock the Boat” by Hues Corporation:  http://youtu.be/dndAXxqJbc0

If Life Is A Banquet…

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.”  Rosalind Russell

Are you starving at the banquet table of your life?

What does “Life is a banquet” mean to you?  I think of a massive table stretching off into the horizon with endless possibilities…

Your life banquet – what does it look like?  Are you sitting in the same spot meal after meal/day after day or tasting from only one side of the table?  Are you eating the same meat and potatoes or tofu and beans or spaghetti and meatballs or peanut butter and jam again and again and wondering why you’re bored, frustrated, lonely or unhappy?

Or have you shaken things up lately?  Gotten out of your comfort zone and explored the smorgasbord at the rest of the table?

If not,

HERE’S WHAT‘S HOLDING YOU BACK:

Feeling comfortable can feel so great.  In the moment.  It feels so safe.  No failure.  No anxiety.  No self-doubt.  No uncertainty.  No effort.  No criticism or judgment from you or anyone else.

But too much comfort and safety is boring and deadens the heart, mind and soul.

Ask yourself when you have felt the best in your life, the happiest, the most energetic and the most fulfilled.  I bet it was when you stretched yourself, stepped outside your comfort zone even though you might have felt a little fear (or a lot).  I’m right, aren’t I?

We let our excuses and fears become solid blocks to doing what our hearts and spirits yearn for instead of just doing it (thanks, Nike, for reminding us).  It’s too hot, cold, early, late, difficult, long, complex, scary, unknown… or I’m too young, old, overweight, skinny, uncoordinated, fast, slow, weak, imperfect… or not a good enough cook, artist, speaker, writer, teacher, parent, partner, coach, leader…

And then we wonder why our lives aren’t brilliant diamonds of joy and fulfillment.

I CHALLENGE YOU:

This summer

Do one thing

A week

That scares the

H… out of you

Then pay attention to how you feel and what happens in your life.

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

–Bob Proctor

The Top Two Problems in Your Relationships

Problem #1:  You are right and he/she (your husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, teacher, student or anyone you are in relationship with) is wrong.

It sounds like this to others:

“I know what I’m talking about.”  “The way I see the world is the way it actually is.”

“However the way you see the world is impractical, absurd, ridiculous, idiotic, unreasonable, irrational, crazy and/or illogical.”

What other people hear is:

“My perspectives, beliefs and opinions are right and your perspectives, beliefs and opinions are wrong.  I am the holder of the truth.”

In other words, “I’m right.  You’re wrong.”

It feels like this:

“I’m going to shame you and make you feel stupid for seeing things the way you do.  How could anyone who is smart, confident, successful, a winner, empathic, good at what they do, a thinking person, a caring person, a good teacher, architect, mother, father, sister, brother, CEO, (fill in the blank) think the way you do or say something like that?

This is what they’re not telling you:

“When I was growing up I was criticized for things I said or did and that made me feel stupid, like a failure and ashamed.  On a subconscious level now I always have to be right so I can be sure that I won’t be criticized or feel stupid or that I have failed.  If you don’t agree with me, that means that one of us has to be wrong.  Because I always have to be right, I vote for you.  You must be wrong.  And I’m going to do to you what I hated being done to me, which is that I’m going to criticize you or put you down for being wrong and make you feel small.”

Others see the world through different eyes than you based on their experiences, history, family life, personality, values, intelligence (of which there are many kinds) and gender.

And those different eyes lead to different perceptions and perspectives about the world which lead to different beliefs about life, people and situations.  In many situations, there is not just one truth.  Our differences is what makes life exciting and fascinating.  And takes us out of our comfort zone.

I believe that there is another reason that we have to be right.  Our brain is programmed for survival.  To be wrong is to risk being dead.  Our brain cannot allow us to be wrong because it taps into our deepest fears of not being capable of surviving.  And that really scares us.

Most of us would rather be right than happy.  Right than loving.  Right than connected.  Right than kind (not to be confused with nice).

And when we make people wrong, what happens?  They get defensive.  Or shut down.  They share less and aren’t as willing to be vulnerable.  Who wants to get up close and personal with someone who criticizes us, puts us down and thinks we’re less than?  Over time, intimacy and connection are sacrificed at the altar of rightness (aka “the truth”).

I don’t believe that most of us consciously or maliciously try to make other people wrong.  And that’s the problem.  We do it subconsciously so it’s critical to wake up and become aware of how we treat others.  Only then can we choose to change it.

Clients are always telling me that they want to improve their communication with the important people in their lives.  Start here.   It’s not about either-or.  Either I’m right or you’re right.  It’s about both-and.  Both you and I have a perspective and a) in most circumstances both are likely valid and b) does it really matter who is right?

When people tell me that they want to learn to communicate better, I often think that what they mean is that they want to become better at persuading others of the truth of their perspective.  What I suggest is that they become better at listening.  Remember we were given two ears but only one mouth…

The next time you disagree with someone about something, what would it be like to really listen to their perspective and think about the issue from their point of view?  To not make them wrong?  Even if you think that their perspective or opinion is ridiculous or silly or unbelievable or childish?  What would it be like to discuss it or just say something like “I see it differently” instead of “No, this is the way it is”?

What is coming up for you now when I make these suggestions?  Whatever it is will give you more information about what pushes your need to be right.  Follow those clues.

What would happen if you risked real communication, more intimacy and connection?  Spend the next couple of weeks becoming aware of how often you need to be right.  Then ask yourself what you really want in your relationships.  Being right or truly connecting? You just might be in for a surprise.

Problem #2?  We’ll talk about that next time.  (C’mon, you didn’t expect me to share it all with you right now, did you?  Don’t you have your hands full just becoming aware of when, how and with whom your need to be right rears its self-right-eous head?)

Your Life is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

And there are two payoffs:  1) You live safely in your comfort zone.  And 2) You get to be right.

Your mind is so powerful that your beliefs usually become self-fulfilling prophecies  – your predictions about what will happen in your life.  How does that happen?

Your perceptions about people and life and your beliefs about what’s possible for you and what you deserve drive your behavior.  Your behavior creates certain outcomes in your life and responses from others.  Those outcomes and responses are often exactly what you believed would happen.

It’s really a very simple and straightforward equation:

You believe something → You take action on that belief → Your outcomes are a result of your actions → Your outcomes generally confirm your beliefs.

So you say, “I knew that would happen”.  That’s your self-fulfilling prophecy.  And when it happens again and again – that’s your life.

Here’s an example:  I have two clients, Ellen and Lorraine (not their real names).  Both of them are engineers and were recently let go when their companies downsized.

Ellen believes that it will be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to get a good job as an engineer because the economy is bad and people are struggling to find good jobs.  (This is her prophecy.)  So what does she do?  Ellen’s belief directly affects her behavior so she puts out little effort, isn’t persistent and doesn’t follow-up which leads to no job.  Her belief (that she won’t find a job) becomes a prophecy which she fulfills by her behavior (little effort, no follow-up or persistence).

Lorraine, on the other hand, looks around and sees that there are lots of people who are finding jobs, making money and enjoying their lives.  She believes that she will find a great job as an engineer doing the kind of work she loves.  Because of her belief that she will find a job (her prophecy), Lorraine is persistent and works really hard to find work as an engineer (her behavior).  And of course she is successful and finds a great job (her self-fulfilling prophecy).

I am not suggesting that we create everything in our lives by our beliefs.  That is up to you to decide.  I know that our subconscious is immensely powerful and that our beliefs (our prophecies) about how things will turn out are often correct.  But it’s not magic.  It’s how our beliefs and perceptions affect what we do in our lives and our relationships and the outcomes we get as a result.

What would you do differently if you believed differently and how might that change your results and your life?

Are you willing to try something?  Pick a situation in which you’re not happy with the results you have been getting.  What are your beliefs about that situation?  What action do you usually take?  What is the typical outcome?  Then ask yourself what would happen to your results if you changed your beliefs and then did something different?  Or, if you’re really brave, just do something different in spite of your beliefs.

Step outside of your comfort zone.  Change your belief (your prophecy).  Change your behavior. See what happens. Different beliefs→ different behavior→ different results???

Let me know……

Something new:  I love speaking with people who have great ideas about how to live an extraordinary life so I will be starting an ongoing interview series.  Twice a month I will interview interesting and inspiring people who are challenging us to live boldly and courageously.  Most of the interviews will be only 30 to 40 minutes so you can find time to listen in your busy life.

Our first interview, on Valentine’s Day, is with a Los Angeles Matchmaker who will talk about how to have more love in your life.  I’ll send you all the details next weekend about the live interview and the replay.

Talk to you next weekend.  I hope you’ll join me on this next leg of our journey together.

Put Your Hand Up if You Like Transition

Change is the only constant.  Heraclitus

What? I don’t see any hands going up…

It never fails.  When I’m working with a client who is going through a transition of some kind – whether it’s divorce, the death of a loved one, getting married, giving birth, retirement, the empty nest, menopause,  moving, going back to school or changing careers — they don’t understand why they feel so discombobulated.  So uncomfortable.  So nowhere.

When you’re going through a transition you are in nowhere land.  You’re no longer where you were, which was a place that you knew.  Even if you didn’t like it much, it was familiar territory.  You knew the lay of the land and how things worked.  And you’re not yet wherever you’re going. That’s new and unexplored territory so it can be scary.

We usually want to get out of nowhere land as fast as we can because it’s so uncomfortable.  So undefined and therefore unnerving.  We want to be somewhere.  Anywhere but in the unknown.

The time of a transition is similar to a field that a farmer has left fallow for a season.  It doesn’t bear last season’s crop nor is it yet nurturing next season’s harvest.  The fallow period allows the soil to replenish and rejuvenate so that it can again be fertile and bear future crops.

So it is for us.  Transitions are an opportunity for us to replenish and rejuvenate. They can be a time of dreaming, of assessing where we have been, of going deep within and deciding where we want to go.  To determine what we have learned and what’s next for us. A time to stop rushing and to let our souls and spirits breathe before launching into the next phase of our lives.

The biggest mistake we can make is to try to rush through a time of transition so that we don’t have to feel that sense of nowhereness and confusion.  Actually, I just realized that “no-whereness” can also be “now-hereness” which is the best thing you can do during times of change.

Be present.  Ask yourself what you have learned.  Have compassion for yourself.  Be aware of your fears and uncomfortable feelings.  And remember to breathe.  Deep breathing floods your body with endorphins, the feel-good chemicals produced in the brain.

Stay tuned. I’m developing a program for sailing through transitions. I’ll tell you all about it in my next newsletter.

As always, let me know how I can help you create the life of your dreams.