A Coaching Power Tool Created by Jordana Read
(Workplace Coach, UNITED STATES)
Now: at the present time or moment. Forever: for all future time; for always.
Power Tool Evolution
The now vs forever power tool has evolved from my own continued interest in and cultivation of mindfulness.
To be powerfully engaged in this present moment, four things are required:
physical energy, an emotional connection, mental focus, and a spiritual alignment with a purpose beyond your own immediate self-interest1.
If one of these things is missing or out of balance in your life, it can be challenging to show up, experience, draw meaning from and savour this moment exactly as it is.
When we connect with the inherent power of now, we can appreciate the benefits it can bring to our lives. We can see a deeper truth in what we are experiencing, and clearly and calmly choose how to integrate it into our life experience.
Experiences that we perceive to be challenging can trigger a disconnection with our physical, emotional, mental or spiritual energy; and over time if we continue to engage with the same challenging experiences, we lose our ability to be present. For change to occur, something has to shift on one or more of our four levels of being.
Forever thinking can show up when we have fused with a series of thoughts that don’t serve our own growth and have developed into a belief and show up as a life experience. For example we might find ourselves living in an unhappy personal relationship or dissatisfying job and believe that there is nothing that can be done to change the situation.
The telling of ‘forever’ stories has been happening throughout the ages. Think of one of the many classic children’s stories that end with a
happy ever after.
It is not surprising then that we can sometimes find ourselves stuck, thinking that this is
our lot in life
and nothing will change.
‘Forever’ stories can set up an inner conflict on a mental and emotional level; usually experienced as frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, and much mental restlessness as a result of the dissonance between current life experience and inner expectations, dreams and wishes, which maybe not yet fully understood or expressed.
If we live in the ‘forever’ we are detached from the inner power that we discover in the present moment.
Context for the use of this tool
The now vs forever tool is used to help broaden a client’s perspective from a narrow, focused one to a wider and more expansive perspective.
It would typically be used with a client whose language during a coaching session may indicate that they are telling themselves a ‘forever’ story. For example, a phrase such as,
My boss is an idiot, but I just need to suck it up as I don’t have any other options
If I could just win the lotto, then my money worries would be sorted and I wouldn’t have to work at this job I hate.
This tool is used in a trusting, gentle and non-judgemental space with the client and often requires time and space for it to percolate and become effective. It is important to acknowledge that although a client may be experiencing inner tension, over time the feelings and experiences of the inner conflict has become a known (which can offer comfort) so providing a safe and trusting space for a client to test and experience a different reality is crucial for this tool to be effective.
When a client shifts to a ‘now’ perspective and connects with the present moment, they can establish the capacity to understand their personal truth in a calm and mindful space, and can re-connect with personal values and make choices that support their own growth and fulfillment.
How the tool is used
A multi-faceted approach is used to bring about a shift from ‘forever’ thinking to ‘now’ thinking.
Coaching space – a consistently calm, safe and trusting space is established to allow the client to slow down and start to experience the inherent qualities of space such as peace, clarity and safety. The session may begin with a series of deep breaths. In addition, questions are asked at a slow pace and silence is cultivated during the session.
Questions – Questions with the intent of connecting clients with the present moment are posed throughout the session. Each client has a different thinking and communication style and the language used in the question would be adapted to suit the client’s style. Examples include:
- Tell me how this experience makes you feel?, or, Tell me what thoughts arise when you think about this situation…
- When you leave this session today, how do you want to feel (or think) about yourself (and/or the situation) that you don’t feel right now?
- What things within your control can you realistically change?
- What is one thing you can do to support yourself?
- What may you say or do, to make peace with this situation and move ahead? What keeps you from saying/doing this?
- What is one small step you can take today to help this become a reality?
Small experiments – At pertinent times, we’d create small, contextualised experiments suited to the personality and interests of the client to help cultivate mindfulness in their life. For example, at work, when your boss is being an idiot, take a breath and notice your initial reaction to the situation. Take a minute to write about it. We would then spend time exploring the meaning the client drew from engaging in this experiment.
When the now vs forever power tool is used, over time, the client learns how to connect with the subtler truth in any situation and their own inner power. It is at this point that the client can make conscious choices that sustain and support all four levels of their being.
1 Loehr, J and Schwartz, T, The Power of Full Engagement, 2003, Free Press, New York