A Coaching Power Tool created by Christina Eder
(Spirituality Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Cereal or toast for breakfast? Cash or credit card? Paper or plastic bags? To watch TV or read a book? Those choices are relatively basic decisions we make every day. More than likely, the consequences from any of these situations will not have eternal impact or require a committee meeting to vote for one of those choices.
There are, however, those greater-impacting decisions that challenge us to take a mental or emotional leap backwards in order to extract the best long-term solution. When these situations unfold, the acronyms HALT and PUSH can be tools used to uncover judgment clarity.
HALT, meaning, to postpone your response, when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. When we are in a situation where tension rises and pressure builds, HALTing can be effective before that initial reaction unravels. In anger management or parenting classes, the “counting to ten” method is often taught. HALT provides a similar disengaging time for a quick personal inventory. It gives us opportunity to mentally scroll through these four triggers to assess if we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
If any (or all) of these four factors are contributing to the situation at hand, we are able to efficiently discern if it is wise to make a decision or respond at that time. Many times, caring for the physical element of our body can provide a near-immediate solution to the larger decision that will need to be addressed. After a personal HALT inventory, it is more likely that a person will better be able to make a wiser choice if they meet their physical or emotional needs first.
PUSH, or endure, when we need to Persevere Until Something Happens. There are seasons in our lives when our daily experiences are in optimal harvest mode. These are the intervals when many hours are filled with fresh ideas, a bounty of rest, a positive (or at least neutral) work environment, and the days carry us through somewhat of a coasting pattern. As humans, it’s natural for us to wish for this path all year round. As dwellers on this planet, we know that a constant season of abundant utopia is not realistic.
Perseverance is synonymous with words such as continuous, consistency, stability, tenacity, backbone, stamina. We have a rich history of people and inventions that succeeded by honoring the characteristic of perseverance. The light bulb, power tools, marathon runners, mothers laboring to give birth to their children, mountain climbers, Holocaust survivors, and graduations are all merely a sampling of persistence.
Even as young children, we learned about perseverance in stories such as The Little Engine Who Could, the Tortoise and the Hare, and The Wizard of Oz. Although these are fictional characters, the train, the turtle, Dorothy, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow all demonstrated that they needed to persevere in order to achieve their goal.
Sometimes, the final result may not be accomplished at the pace we expect, but the stick-to-itiveness will produce harvest. Just as a farmer plants his crop, he will not have bounty if he only scatters one seed or plants a small section. In order to attain a bumper crop, the farmer must throw many seeds, in several places, on a large plot of his fields. Next time you sit down to a meal, you are enjoying the labors of many people PUSHing.
Every one of us face those symbolic droughts, fires, floods, hurricanes, and probably question if our internal sweat equity is truly going to build any muscle. Good decision-making provides keys to a happier life. Some of us were taught or born with the gift of solid decision making. For others, poor decision-making has become a way of life or an impediment. Whatever choice spectrum a person operates, each side involves that option to HALT or PUSH, depending on the decision at hand.
Courage, education, age, or spending time with other healthy decision-makers does not automatically develop better decision makers. The consequences you get are the result of choices you make. It’s not about the circumstances that govern our lives, but moreover the decisions encompassing those circumstances. There is always at least one other option. Sometimes choices may be more limited, but there are always options. At times we get into a pattern of either “all good” or “all bad.” This would be an appropriate time to take a quick personal inventory to determine if you need to eat, count to ten, surround yourself with others, or take a nap (HALT) before tackling a solution. If none of these options apply, the situation may lend itself to persevering until something else happens (PUSH).
In the coaching arena, this internal dialogue applies to both the coach and the client. Before a session, coaches can benefit greatly from determining if they can prepare best by a reflective HALT or a PUSH. During the session, a coach can be most productive when they can remove the pattern of “either/or” thinking. “Either/or” thinking presents a risk of producing people who become pessimistic, disempowered, easily manipulated, or depressed easily. Knowing people always have solutions can shift perspective from thinking circumstances dictate their lives to believing that choices can determine outcome.