Embrace the experience
Clients explore acceptance on two levels
- Clients are encouraged to embrace themselves through honest exploration of their values, beliefs, priorities, assumptions, and self-regard.
- I invite clients to embrace the entire situation. This can be accomplished by becoming aware of judgments and labels, such as right-wrong and should-shouldn’t (As in, “This shouldn’t have happened in my life!”) This takes the resistance out of the situation, so clients see their challenges as a natural part of life. It also invites them to embrace the things they are responsible for.
Assess resources and act
Often in great transitions, clients dwell on the resources they have lost. I invite clients to explore the resources they still have and identify resources they have gained from their new situation.
Clients are also encouraged to assess how well they are taking care of themselves through rest, nourishment, and breaks for recreation and support. This creates the stamina to act.
By this point in the process, action steps are often self-evident. I support the client in laying out realistic plans and taking incremental steps that align with their vision.
Look for lightness
As clients begin to act, I invite them to look for lightness in their lives. This lightness can show up in a variety of ways. Clients have experienced lightness when they:
- Let their children lead them.
- Let go of feeling they have to know all the answers and always be in charge.
- Let their children show them how they want to connect.
- Look up from their own struggles to consider others who have gone through challenging times. By looking up, clients see that challenges are a part of life — and that resourcefulness is part of every human. Seeing this resourcefulness in others will inspire.
- Look for lightness moment-to-moment through their senses: When do they feel physically or emotionally uplifted? Is it a sunny day? Is it when they hear children laughing? Is it the smell of coffee brewing in the morning? No source of lightness is too mundane.
- Look for the ways their small actions tie to the long-view of their lives.
Self-sacrifice leads to resentment and burnout. Tender self-care leads to sustainability and lightness.
I invite clients to be aware of how they care for themselves. Are they OK with giving themselves good things like eight hours of sleep and a walk on a sunny day? Do they speak kindly to themselves, even when they fall short?
Do they seek out people and communities that uplift their spirits?
Can they view setbacks or a lack of progress with loving-kindness?
Do they celebrate their accomplishments?
This coaching model would not be possible without the contributions of many wise teachers. I wish to acknowledge Eckhart Tolle and the late Stephen R. Covey and Viktor Frankl for teaching millions how to hold a vision. I thank Carol Hendershot and April Hadley, my teachers at the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness. Last, I thank all of my instructors and fellow students at the International Coach Academy.
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