Monday 2 December 2013

Living in Ignorance?

I coach by email as well as by phone, Skype and in person. It's a different experience entirely, with strengths and weaknesses (more here).

Clients often find themselves bewildered or afraid when I show them a world of possibilities and they don't know what to do with them. It can be very unsettling, and people tell me this is one of the top reasons they decide not to have coaching.

Here is an extract from an email I sent to a client this morning which might be helpful to some of you.
[being bewildered and upset] is not unusual.

There is some comfort in certainties - even of you are certain of continued misery.

Familiarity and a sense of predictability about the future is important to our sense of security - one of the lower level needs as Maslow pointed out.

But if you want change, then you have to undergo change. Also, we often find it uncomfortable to admit "I just don't know!" - but that is also normal, and in fact, accepting ignorance is the beginning of a journey to better things.

There is a scale of ignorance we move through in life as we get older. Younger people are certain of everything because they are ignorant of their own ignorance! They're wrong about most things, but they're happier because they have certainty.

As we get older, we find deeper insights about ourselves and the world we live in. These insights dissolve our previous "mistaken certainties" and we can find ourselves adrift - with the wrong husband, the wrong career, the wrong hat - and so on. Some people call this "midlife crisis". Most of us go through it - me included.

Smile. Relax. It's OK not to know. And accepting that you don't know is ultimately far more sensible than pretending that you do!

The mind map work should give you a sense of how your current life fits with your values and drives. Perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that you largely are in control. I can show you options, but you will decide what if anything to do, and that is as it should be.
So - try to find the courage to see things clearly. The truth, whatever it is, is generally a solid foundation oon which to build your life.

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Monday 19 August 2013

Outside the Box

During a walk around Bedford river this morning I saw a lady rummaging in the grass with a plastic bag on her hand. Since she had a dog with her, I assumed the obvious.

But later on, I saw her again and it became clear that what she was doing - was tidying up litter. She looked "normal" - well-dressed, affluent and her Scotty-dog was well-groomed.

I thought about why she was doing what she was doing. Honestly, I don't know what her reason was, but wouldn't it be great if her reasoning went like this:
"Well, I'm out walking the dog - we both need exercise. I don't like to see the litter in this lovely area, so I thought - why not get even more exercise on my walk and clean up the litter - for me and the world in general?".
Common responses to that idea might be:
  • Litter!" People are so ignorant
  • Not fair - why should I pick up other people's litter?
  • I pay taxes so other people can pick that stuff up
  • Ewww - that is demeaning!
 - that's all "normal" thinking - the like of which we all do most of the time.
But this lady's approach (as I have invented it) is different.

Often our internal lives - the ones in our heads - are so full of blaming and excuse making that we're too busy to see the real opportunities in front of our eyes.

Challenge your own thoughts - try to get our of the box more often.

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Wednesday 3 April 2013

Other People are in Charge of my Life!

Hello Jane,

Thanks for your insights about why you're not hiring a life coach. I was particularly interested with this comment:
... there are no guarantees of success only more knowledge as it all comes down to other people driving the situations.
Two things there. 

Firstly, on the guarantees of success item - you are correct - there are none. However, I go a long way to removing this risk for my new clients in these ways:
  1. You can get an initial consultation for only £10, and if you hire me, that's refunded. This is your chance to sound me out ans see how life coaching might work for you before you invest. Also I will be assessing my chances of helping the client. If I don't think those chances are good - because of their situation, their expectations or their personal characteristics, I will not take on the client. So if we did move forward, the chances of success are good from both perspectives.
  2.  I offer a money-back guarantee on all sessions (and in fact, on everything else I sell). If you feel a session was not helpful, just email me for a refund.
  3. You can see more than 300 testimonials at my life coaching website. They are all from people like you, and are completely genuine, of course.
  4. You can read my articles on my life coaching website. They tell you a lot about me, my approach and my skills.
Your second, and perhaps your main comment, is also very interesting. You say it all comes down to other people driving the situations. Certainly other people have hire/fire decisions to make, but that does not mean that you do not have any influence on things.

Often when things don't go our way, we become despondent. And when DECADES roll by like that, our view of the world becomes stiffened and pessimistic. "What's the point? Nothing works anyway". Often life coaching is about finding the wisdom to recognise the flaw in this thinking and then finding the inner resources to fight.

The flaw is that pessimism is self-fulfilling. If you think you'll fail, you probably will, because you won't invest your best efforts in making it succeed. Having recognised that, the second part is to claw your way through your pessimism into doing what's needed to give you the best chance of getting what you want.

That's what life coaching IS. I don't expect you to change your personality or wear a super-hero cape. I expect you to continue to be who you really are - which is probably tired, sad, defeated, reluctant to work hard for something you don't really think you can have, and perhaps a little afraid. And I'll work with THAT PERSON to keep you on track and well-motivated for long enough to get you the traction you need to take over on your own. 

I hope that's helpful Jane. Do let me know if you have any questions.

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