A Coaching Power Tool Created by Cinque Parker
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Imagine carrying a heavy log on your back as you go through life, one that serves to weigh you down or keep you stuck. Can you feel the weight of it, the heaviness and excruciating pain along your back and in your shoulders, cramping in your legs and in your feet as you continue to drag? For some, this log is a constant reminder of past mistakes, regrets, or insecurities. For others, you have carried the weight of this log for so long that you have adjusted (“built muscles”) and as a result the log feels just a bit lighter. Interestingly, in some cases you don’t even realize the log exists. Therein lies the potential danger as we are often not aware of the impact this log has over time, but this log can often show up in our lives in very negative ways.
So, what does this log look like? This log can often be disguised as complacency, delay, convenience, entitlement, protocol, pride, disengagement, fear, habits, or dis-empowering beliefs, voices from the past, or narratives that prevent us from leveraging our natural assets. These assets often include our greatest value; our strengths, gifts, life experiences, and pieces of our uniqueness, which we have learned to “box off” preventing us from living our best life. In turn, this causes us to shrink back, rejecting our own value and; thus, our potential for greatness. This log may also show up as a relentless desire to present the perfect “Facebook Life” or assigned labels, images, and/or expectations adopted by us. For example, “the good guy”, “the nerd”, “the conservative one”, “the underachiever”, “the scholar”, “the screw-up“, the “ladies man”, and Ms. perfect”, all labels that show up in major or even small, but impactful ways. The problem with these labels is that they often do not align with the new “world or life view” required to possess the life we really want. To add, this log could also show up as the “if only loop”, a repeated series of question that include the phrase, “What if. If only I was brought up in a two-parent household, If only I graduated from college, if only I had not made that mistake, if only I was richer or more influential, if only, if only, if only? This question is often a distraction, a “smoke screen”, an illusion based on uncertainties that keeps us from moving forward by first “honoring” our current circumstances and then shifting our focus to a present solution for an even better life as we are mesmerized by recreating our past. So, now that we are more familiar with these logs, what are the options?
In examining the log, this lifeless piece of wood, what if you could chop it into smaller pieces and piece by piece begin to release it? Imagine, how much lighter and stronger you would feel as the weight is lifted from your shoulders. Imagine the freedom, clarity and momentum that could be gained as you accelerate towards a much brighter future, as you reposition yourself from being hunched over and out of balance, with your eyes looking down, to standing tall and upright (a more empowering position). How much more comfortable would you be in your natural position as you begin to walk faster and eventually begin to sprint? What would it feel like to see the true you again as you begin performing better, optimally? Now, imagine if you could take it a step further. What if you could take these log pieces, spray them with a liquid accelerant, and light a match to them, setting them a blaze? In this way you could now begin to see the log as a resource to be used as a significant advantage in propelling you forward. This log that has held you down, kept you back, and tormented you for years, what if you were the one that could use it as an opportunity for unparalleled growth and development, shifting the advantage in your favor. How would it feel to suddenly have the awareness that all you need to live the best life possible was already inside of you and that you were born to be enough? Isn’t it all about how you look at it? It is also about what opportunities are being missed in the carrying and getting to a place where you are willing to do the work (i.e. your part) to move forward. Hence, it is essential within the coach-client relationship to explore the impact carrying vs. releasing vs. kindling may have on achieving desired outcomes.
Working with the client to assign a picture to what they are carrying and examining how this shows up in preventing them from moving forward provides an opportunity for the client to assign a tangible mental image to this “bully” that has been rather disruptive in their life, allowing for a 3 staged approach: 1) tagging and getting distancing for an ‘in the mirror” perspective, 2) examining results, to get an understanding of how what the client is carrying impacts his or her current outcomes, and 3) the most difficult stage, facing by either releasing the log pieces or “kindling” them to move the client forward in an empowered way. The goal is get the client to become more aware and sensitive to what he or she is carrying. With this awareness, once the log shows up, the client is able to immediately recall the selected mental image, quickly associate it to the untoward outcome, which can then trigger and allow the client to immediately refocus and move more readily toward facing it. At this point the client must decide to either release it or use it to their advantage. Utilizing the following penetrating questions can be beneficial in collaborating with clients to identify areas of carrying:
C-O-O-O Line of Questioning, Covert, Overt, Obvious and Oblivious:
As an observer, it appears that there may be things that are keeping you from moving forward;
What labels have been placed on you and how do they limit you?
What do you believe about whatever is holding you back (how is it working for you or what do you tell yourself about this thing that makes you satisfied with remaining were you are)?
How does it show up in your life (what is the impact or outcome)?
What did your box look like at age 10, 20, 30, 40 versus now?
Releasing vs. Kindling
Once clients have participated in tagging and distancing and have examined the outcomes to assess how what they are carrying impacts current results, they are then challenged with exploring the opportunities available to them, which could include choosing to either release or “kindle”. Releasing is a commitment to let go of those things that are keeping the client from moving forward or that is serving them in negative ways resulting in untoward outcomes. This requires the client to face directly what is holding them back through acknowledgment and association. Kindling requires the client to establish associations between what they are carrying and their potential purpose in helping them to get to where they want to be and; thus, the unexpected opportunity. The goal here is to assess how strengths, passions, experiences, labels and “what ifs” that are not being fully used as an advantage, how these can be leveraged and used as a catalyst to accelerate a client forward. The following questions can be used to assess a client’s willingness to either release or kindle:
The time is now – Release, Plug In, Reconnect and Kindle
Kindling – From the earth to the pit are easily combustible small sticks or twigs used for starting a fire, but when applied to the human condition can be used to fire-up, stir up, awaken, ignite, inflame, arouse or excite feelings, passions, and wonders in such a way that what is possible is re-imagined. This in turn is the Kindling philosophy and way. This is rooted in the belief that it only takes one spark and a bit of kindling to start an internal fire, one that can result in unprecedented change with implications for the individual, family, corporations, and the community that are immeasurable. The Kindling Coaching Model and this power tool is based on the belief that in order to reach their greatness (a “Kindling State”) clients must first “strengthen their core or foundation” through a heightened sense of who they are and a clear sense of what they desire. This is where sparks begin and where gathering of what appears ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary. Think about it, aren’t we all simply treasures, a harvest, an opportunity? However, before moving forward, often clients need to “shed some old skin” by letting go of an “old world view”, in exchange for something new and higher. Clients need to just take the first step of releasing, then plugging-in in order to do required work. It is only a matter of time before they become kindled.