A Coaching Power Tool created by Sarah Rogers Nesper
(Life Coaching, UNITED STATES)
The state of being dormant.
- Asleep or as if asleep; motionless through sleep or torpidity.
- Not active; inoperative.
- Not erupting; as in a dormant volcano.
- Marked by partial suspension of vital processes, as many animals and plants are dormant in winter.
- The act or process of growing; advancement toward or attainment of full size or maturity; development.
- A gradual increase in size, importance or influence.
- Something grown or in the process of growing; as in a growth in timber.
These two perspectives each have value; in that there is a time when our bodies/minds/spirits need rest and rejuvenation by being dormant. There is also a time when we must stretch and push for growth towards our highest potential.
Many people strive to be always changing and growing. There may be numerous reasons or beliefs driving this behavior. To understand the benefit of not always being in the growth mode we can look to the plant and animal worlds and learn from them.
Plants lose their leaves and stop growing during the winter months; becoming dormant is natural. That is not to say they are not being productive. Plants gather nutrients from the soil and strengthen their root systems to be ready for a growth cycle in the spring. This in turn helps to support the new heights at which they may attain during that cycle.
We humans are not so far removed from our hibernating animal cousins. Yet, we are disconnected from the benefits of a sleep cycle that lasts longer than eight hours, and most of us get six hours of sleep, if we are lucky. Animals in the wild and many plants know the benefit of having a time of dormancy.
Growth is vital to being fully human. We cheer our children on for learning to walk and talk. At our house we have a wall where we measured our children’s height from time to time to see how much they have grown. There is pride in seeing these changes and it feels good. Education is another barometer of growth. Self-help books are very popular and spiritual growth is promoted almost everywhere. Continuing to develop and grow propels our evolutionary drive. Growth also involves risking changing the status quo.
Some people have a fear of change or growth, a fear that may stem from negative experiences. Repeated failures make it easier to stay in the status quo. This failure to move forward does not necessarily mean they are taking full advantage of their dormancy state, a time for rejuvenation before growth.
A balance of growth and dormancy optimizes our opportunity to thrive.
The two Self-reflections below can be used first by the coach and then with clients to promote introspection and self- awareness regarding the benefit of each cycle of dormancy and growth.
Self Reflections for Dormancy
- When is it important to take a break or rest in my life?
- Do I listen to myself when it is time?
- How do I support those times?
- What does it look like from the inside/ outside to rest?
- Can I see value in taking time for myself?
- Do I have self-judgment around taking time for myself?
- What are my underlying beliefs regarding taking a break?
Self Reflections for Growth
- Are there times I choose not to risk growth out of fear of change?
- Where in my life is growth needed?
- How do these areas align with my life purpose and values?
- Do I always need to know the outcome before I risk growth/change?
- Am I willing to tolerate the anxiety and discomfort of growing?
As coaches, we have the opportunity to help our clients see that both perspectives can have value in their lives. Each client will have different attitudes and beliefs, favoring one perspective over the other, depending on historical circumstances. This power tool, Dormancy vs Growth, illustrates how a client who is fearful of growth and is just waiting for life to happen, can instead gather the right nutrients and strengths in order to make the leap into growth. Conversely, it also shows the value of slowing down to someone who is only comfortable barreling through life.
Impulses for change rarely last. Coaches help capture that impulse in the moment and extend it. Coaches help co-create the right course of action.
Asking clients questions about their new awareness can create movement and commitment to taking action. This may surprise both the coach and the client in that the client’s choice may be to seek out a quiet, reflective time verses moving into a growth phase. Again, both have value. Revisit the above self-reflections for both dormancy and growth for questions to help your client clarify their current state and where they might like to go.
Our human experience suggests that growth is purely positive and necessary for our evolution. Unchecked growth is not necessarily healthful. Awareness of the benefits of dormancy can optimize the benefits of growth, providing important tools for personal growth.
- Funk & Wagnall’s Standard College Dictionary
- Quote from Bill Turpin, tele-class, Action vs. Delay