Another example could be a woman, Mary, is highly evolved in her career as a consultant for large businesses who are experiences changes, she helps upper management prepare employees for changes in things such as health care plans, bonus cuts…etc…She is in her second marriage of 3 years, has a preteen and a teen, and a new 1 year old baby girl. She has hired a nanny to help her juggle all. All are still adjusting to the new life, as only a few years ago she was a single working mom of 2 preteens in a small apartment. Life is bigger and better…. or is it? She comes to coach because she finds herself wanting to run away from home and rent a vegetable truck and sell vegetables on the road, which she says in jest, but she is serious about her feeling of wanting to run away from all of it…it is too much, working, the new husband and baby, the guilt is overwhelming leaving the baby with a “nanny” every weekday, and sometimes she works from home, can hear them carrying on, and it is very stirring to her. She is confused, feels like she is unappreciative of how hard she has worked to be at this point, yet is overwhelmed and sleepless at night. She feels that she is “stuck” in this life she has created, yet the thought of giving it up sounds unacceptable. A tool the coach could use to help the client would be to help the client identify her underlying beliefs. This could be done by:
Coach: “I applaud you for your hard work, and also looking hard at what success means to you. You came here because you seem to be struggling with the stress your career causes you, and your pull to be with your baby more, and the “noise” in your life with the new family situation.”
Mary: “I love what I do, and I can work from home some now. I like being able to buy nice things for myself and my children, go on really nice vacations with my family, I do not understand why I am not jumping for joy. I have strive for this my whole life, as I have always known that hard work will take you places. I have worked so hard for this for so long.”
Coach: “Can you talk a little more about your hard work for this? Have you always worked hard? Would you say that not working so hard is an option for you?”
Mary: “Coach, that is not an option. I must always work hard. I have never been able to be mediocre or a “b player”; I am a high achiever. I think it is because I am the oldest of 5 siblings, and often took care of things when my parents were in a bad situation.”
Coach: “Do you associate not working hard with letting others down?” The conversation goes on, and it gets to the underlying belief: “If I do not overachieve I am a failure.” Coach then gets the chance to ask the client to examine what would happen if she were to allow herself to let go of that pressure, what would that look like to her, the pros and cons….”
Now we are at the “contemplate/simmer” stage. The homework could be for client to write down her responsibilities, and what would happen if she let go of some of them, what would it look like to not be an “A TEAM LEADER”, and perhaps be a “B+ TEAM LEADER”….and could things be not so black and white? What is the “gray” part of living this life? Is there a middle ground she could land on? She now gives herself permission to think in a way that is new to her….this moves her towards the shift to come, no matter which way it goes. She gets to see herself in a different light. In doing so, she is moving toward action, becoming more aware of how to live the life she really wants to live.
This tool allows a “think before acting” step in so that the action can come from a solid place, perhaps a change in a core belief, an awareness of a new way to see things, a new permission to move in a different direction. The action is not precipitated by a thought or idea..it is thought through and has become a part of the client. Thus the client not only acts on this particular thing, she has the awareness that changes in her thinking can come from a thought and move into an action.
In summary, this tool involves the using the following strategy for a client: help the client to acknowledge her awareness, observe herself in the past, think through what her beliefs are that trigger certain actions, contemplate those beliefs and how they could be thought out and changed to accommodate her new stage in life, examined and “sat on” for a bit, and then let the shift happen. Soon after, she is ready to take action.
- Are there any areas in your life where you are feeling “stuck”? If so, what are they?
- What have you done, if anything, to address these situations?
- What have you done in the past when you felt that you were unable to move forward with a situation? Did it work for you? If so, how? If not, what would you do differently this time?
- Are there people you know that seem to handle difficulties and changes in a way that you admire? Who are these people, and what do you see them doing that you admire?
- Do you believe that it is possible for you to change how you handle difficult situations in a way that is more self serving, as well as possibly helpful to others?
- Write down changes you want to make, where you think you are stuck, and how one change can help you move forward. It can be as simple as “I am afraid I cannot get a new driver’s license, they need too much identification…but I can make one small step. I can google what the requirements are. I can and will do that at 5 30 this evening after work.” After that, can you take one more action step?
- Applaud yourself for pushing yourself even in the smallest way….it just take one step to begin to change an entire universe.