Friday 29 October 2010

Bullied By Life Coaching

Hello Dominique,

I noticed your fear about being bullied with life coaching, so I wanted to send you a quickie to say that coaching is not about telling you what to do. Good coaches will even resist giving you ideas about what you might do.

The coach's job is not to direct their clients, but to find ways to help clients discover what you want and how to get it. You're always in control, but your coach adds the value (and ultimately makes the difference) by challenging your distorted beliefs and thinking, allowing you to see reality more accurately, and so to find better choices for your life.

Something brought you to my website, and so I guess you're looking for help. I hope my assurance above removes your objection because I promise you that it's not well-founded.

In fact, this itself is an example of how coaches work. I hope I've succeeded in removing a FEAR (False Expectation Appearing Real) from your mind, and if I've done that, then you are now freer to see the world (at least this part of it) more clearly.

But if I haven't, then this may evidence a kind of rigid thinking we call "mistaken certainty".

Human beings often try to protect their self images in the face of life's hammer blows in a variety of ways. One of those ways is to build a world-view which supports our self-image in some way. Sometimes, in order to bury an uncomfortable truth, it feels necessary to describe how things are in a certain way. That description is a distortion, but we prefer it to reality, because it hides something we don't like. This whole process is not done consciously, but it IS done.

Examples of common distortions I see often are:

  • "All women are treacherous - I'll have no truck with them" - this one usually buries "I was hurt terribly by a woman and I'm afraid of enduring that again". The cost of maintaining the distortion is a life without love.
  • "The rich get their money by abusing the poor" - which hides "I'm poor, and I feel like a failure". The price of this distortion is that its owner will not strive to be all they can be, and they'll hate the un-just world they live in all their lives.
  • "I was not meant to succeed" (AKA low self esteem) - which hides "Putting myself out there risks failure and humiliation and the confirmation that I really am not meant for success". The price of maintaining it is that your low self esteem feeds on it's own tail and deepened causing depression and other symptoms, which also paralysing the client from taking the opportunities which life offers.
I hope that makes sense, Dominique. It's big stuff.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

I Have No Vision For My Future

Hi Will,

A good place to start is to think about your current reality and invert it.

So - think about your life as it is today, and ask yourself what you don't like about it. Chances are you'll have a few items in that list, but let's work through one item. Let's say it's:
"I have no social life".
Now invert it to become:
"I have a socal life".
- not quite rocket science yet, but we have just made a negative into a positive, and at least, it turns our attention from the problem to a goal.

But the goal isn't well-defined, so the next step is to polish your goal. What kind of a social life do you want?

Now then. People often stall here; they don't want to play because their pessimism swings in with something like:
"oh I can see what comes next, but really - what's the point? It isn't going to happen anyway, I mean, I'm X Y and Z ("bad things"), and I've spent this long in abject failure mode, so I can't really buy into the notion of change".
To quote Descarte:
Cogito ergo sum or I think therefore I am

For my coaching purposes, I'm bending that to:
I believe, therefore I do
- and by that I mean that our beliefs drive our behaviour, and that behaviour defines our lives.

If you believe a thing is pointless, you won't do it - or you'll do it poorly. And it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. You did it poorly - it didn't work - it was pointless, and you were right all along. Hah!

The close personal support offered by coaching is what it usually takes to break out of that by constantly challenging beliefs and finding new better ways to think, to do, and to be. But if you're not ready for coaching, then try to press on and polish your goals yourself, setting the little voice in your head to one side.

Who do you want in your social life, where will it take place? How often? How many? fill in the details, and ignore "reality" because you'll be making a new one.

Do that for all the items on your inverted life list and then choose one to focus your work on first, and set about making it happen Again, you are your own worst enemy in this work, but you can probably bring about very worthwhile changes if you can keep the faith long enough to get some traction out there in the real world.

See if you can enjoy that process, then - when you have a great new vision for your life, set about turning that fantasy into reality.

Friday 15 October 2010

Being OK with Being Alone

Personally, I love solitude and I've had a lot of it in my life. When I don't get enough of it, I become agitated, resentful, and I yearn for it.

But many folks aren't that way; they don't like it. They may actually fear it - greatly. And the fear of being alone sometimes forms the walls of a trap - keeping them in a bad situation because the alternative - solitude - seems far worse. They may also apply pressure to others to keep solitude away and this can cause its own problems.

Like most fears - fear of solitude is based on an illustion, but you have to walk into the thing you fear in order to discover that.

If this has been an issue for you, then let the healing begin with this wonderful video about learning to be OK with being alone, by filmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis.

Perhaps you can dabble in aloneness, and unlock a few cages in the process.


How Avoiding Uncomfortable Truths Traps Us

 Hello Andy,

So you want to change where you live, and you lack confidence and you're pessimistic. You may also be far too busy at work and highly stressed; these probably leave you with no time and no energy for planning and making big changes like this outside of work.

It's a trap. The question is - how are you going to get out of it?

I'll start by asking you why you don't like the place you live.

Sometimes, our semi-conscious minds tell us lies to support our egos. For example, if you have no social life, this semi-conscious mind of yours might tell you that that's because your home area is dominated by the "wrong class of people". That version of your world supports your ego by avoiding another explanation for the lack of a social life - that you're shy, or un-confident, and so on.

Another possibility is that - if you blame the area - then you don't have to do that scary stuff which seems necessary to build a social life - and since you are "too busy and stressed" to look at moving you're stuck in a dump.... but you're also SAFE SAFE SAFE - and absolved of blame.

That's all guess-work, of course, but I see this a lot, and I'm showing you how I do my work. You'll be filling in the blanks of course.

It's not always comfy, but seeing it and dealing with it is often the way forward.

I like this:
wherever you go - there you are
 - so if you're submerging real issues under false ones which move you away - you'll take the real ones with you - and when you get there - they'll be too.

Alternatively, perhaps we'd find real, solid reasons why the area doesn't suit you (a country man living in the city, for example). In that case, the pessimism and unwillingness to make stuff happen which you report, will work against you.

Here, our work would entail finding what's at the root of those issues and then dissolving it. That would free you up to see more clearly and to act in your own interest.

There might also be ways we could alleviate the poor fit to help you make the best of a bad job if that's how you wanted to play it.

It's challenging stuff (which is why you find yourself on my website looking for help, of course), but it's nothing we can't crack together.

Best Wishes,

Tuesday 5 October 2010

No Other Options?

Hi Josephine,

I noticed your comment about being trapped by geography.

Henry Ford said:
When you've tried everything - remember this: you haven't

In my experience there are always new options but our believes and fears prevent us seeing them. Most commonly, we want change, but we don't want to change anything - and this bends "there are no options I really like" into "there are no options".

There's usually a price to pay, but it's a short-term price for a longer-term gain. Often, the short-term price is ruled out through fear - and that's how the trap works.

Sometimes, hearing this irritates people - "How can HE know what he's talking about -he knows nothing about my situation!". Whilst it's true that I know little about your situation, I have coached a lot of people, so I know how we blind ourselves to our opportunities.

A few loosening techniques include:

- Imagine you died. Would your presence still be required where you are?

- Are those around you trapped? If not - what uniquely traps you?

- If someone pointed a gun at your head and said "Get out of this trap now - or I'll shoot you" - would you say "Well, then you'll have to shoot me, because there is no way out"?

- If X were in your situation - would they be trapped - or would they escape?
[Replace X with each of Superman, Joe Stalin, President Obama, your hero].

I hope that's more helpful than annoying, Josephine!