Monday 9 August 2010

Doing What You Do... Being Who You Are...

Hello Helen,

I noticed your comment: Doing the right things but never moving forwards - and thought I'd send you some thoughts on that.

One of the reason human beings - the smartest creatures on the planet - find living their lives difficult and changing them even more so - is that we cannot be confident in the quality of our thinking when it comes to our own lives. There are two main reasons:

  • we see things through the distortions of hidden beliefs 
  • our emotions, in trying to protect our self-image, create further distortions

- and so coaching is quite a bit about helping clients to see things more clearly.

In your case I would ask you to reflect on why you feel you're doing the right things, when they are not delivering the progress you're looking for in your life. Unless you haven't been doing them long enough, then they are - by definition - the wrong things. Don't be disheartened - there's no such thing as failure - only feedback - and it's valuable feedback if we can listen closely to it.

Let me show you how the two mechanisms above come into play here.

Let's say you want to start your own business - something a lot of my clients want. Often clients will say that first, they need a shiny new PC, or a qualification, or to wait until X or Y is done. Something comfortably expensive or far away. Why? Because they're managing fear. But they don't necessarily know it - they believe their own lpropoganda. They are really putting distance between themselves and the scary things they know they will need to do to get their business off the ground. That's how emotions distort our world-view.

Now consider someone who had a poor upbringing, and a father who resented wealth in others. Chances are, that person absorbed a good deal of their father's wealth-aversion - they may believe that wealthy people got there in unattractive ways. That's a belief, and they may not even realise they have it (a hidden belief) yet it will make it very difficult for them to see things clearly - and they may find themselves ruling out all kinds of wealth-giving strategies because of it.

Pessimism coupled with low self esteem is an almost universal kind of belief. "What was I THINKING - me? Rich? Pah!". This leads us to fail to commit hard enough or for long enough to get difficult things done, or to suppress our creative minds under a cloud of stress and angst. 

Of course, I'm looking through a keyhole in your case, but hopefully you can take those ideas and re-assess your strategy. It's tough because, by definition, you can't see what's hidden from you, but you may well be able to find a way forward.

Good Luck!

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