A Coaching Power Tool created by Dawn Falato
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Coaching enables us not only to assist our clients in achieving their vision(s) of the future, but also to better manage their experience of the present. Waiting vs. Enjoying is a tool intended to unlock the power that we have over our moment-to-moment experiences.
We can easily find, in our own lives, examples of times where we are waiting for a certain result (or sum of results) that will lead to our experiencing enjoyment in life. Perhaps, as a teenager, we waited for the person we had a crush on to call us. As older adults, we wait for our retirement, or for the attainment of a certain level of wealth. We figure that once the desired event occurs, we will – at last – be free to ìenjoy ourselves.î We may even plan specific times in our weekly calendars for enjoyment; we go out to enjoy an evening with friends or a special activity with our families.
There is nothing necessarily disempowering about scheduling time that we know will bring us a certain level of enjoyment. In fact, considering quality time as a regular player in our weekly or yearly calendars or in our long-term goals requires a certain level of attention to things that have given us enjoyment in the past, and this attention indicates the presence of self-care to a certain degree.
Where the Waiting perspective becomes limiting is when it shuts us off from enjoying moments that exist outside of these scenarios that we designate as enjoyable.
Within this perspective, the idea that the moment that we are experiencing right now (or any other moment, for that matter) could possibly hold as much enjoyment for us as that family vacation to Disneyworld we are planning for the end of the year would seem impossible – or at least a bit presumptuous.
Enjoying is participating in the enjoyment of our lives in a way that is active, not passive. It is bringing thoughtful and heart-felt intention to the quality of our experience. It is using our awareness to notice all of the places that joy exists for us, including places that we may have neglected to see before.
The Enjoying perspective requires paying attention to how we experience life, moment-to-moment. Once we are better able to observe how we are participants in our experience, we are better equipped to steer our participation towards intentional enjoyment, as opposed to waiting for enjoyment to ìhappenî to us. We may even find ourselves taking steps to alter our surroundings once we start to understand the ways in which we can be responsible for our own enjoyment.
Most of us have heard a friend or acquaintance holler, Enjoy it! to us, in response to hearing that we are about to embark on an activity we have been looking forward to implying that they hope we will be open to the potential joy that this activity could bring us. We may also look at the word enjoy for another interpretation. The prefix, en- can be found to mean ìto bring aboutî (in the same way that encourage means ìto bring courage to something/someoneî). If we were to understand en-joying then, as bringing joy to an activity, then we might be seen as having full responsibility in the matter. It would be our job to bring joy to a given situation instead of expecting it to be delivered to us!
Below are some examples of the Waiting and Enjoying perspectives, presented side by side.
|The Waiting perspective:||The Enjoying perspective:|
|When I have achieved my goals I will be able to enjoy my life.||Life presents us with moment-to-moment opportunities for enjoyment.|
|My enjoyment (and therefore, my emotional state) happens as a result of outside forces.||I am participating in my own emotional state.|
|There are certain things and people in my life that make me happy. I have learned what they are through experience. When none of these things or people are present, I am not likely to enjoy myself.||I have the ability to choose enjoyment in an unfamiliar situation.|
Enjoying creates a virtuous cycle. When we enjoy our experience, we participate in it more fully (because it is more enjoyable to do so). The greater our participation the more power we have over that experience. The more power we have over our experience, the more we endow it with who we truly are and.the more we enjoy it and so on!
Gratitude as a Path to Enjoying
Incorporating gratitude into our lives is a direct way to access the Enjoying perspective: Imagine that you are in a situation where you feel frustrated and powerless. What would happen to your perspective if you looked more deeply into that moment for that which you can be grateful? How might this alter feelings of frustration and powerlessness?
Enjoying is not a denial of negative feelings, or of conflicts that may be present for us in our lives. It is way to see the entire spectrum that any moment offers us. We may not be able to control how we are affected emotionally by a situation, but we can control where to focus our attention. Simply put, if we notice the things that energize us instead of noticing the things that make us feel defeated, we will likely feel lighter and more like the powerful captain of our own ship instead of an unwilling passenger, waiting to reach a desired destination.
In a coaching application, the Enjoying vs. Waiting power tool goes hand-in-hand with client learning around the following:
- Self-awareness that leads to the knowledge that our point of view influences our experience.
- Awareness of what it means / feels like to us to enjoy our lives in the present.
- The ability to accept responsibility our own personal energy level and point of view.
- An understanding of the benefits of using gratitude.
- Hands-on practice inside the Enjoyment perspective.
Bring your awareness to the present moment.
- What is enjoyable about it?
- What can you notice that brings you pleasure?
- What about this moment makes you hopeful?
- What about this moment makes you feel lighter?
Take a moment to experiment with switching between the two ìawarenessesî required to hold the perspective of Enjoying, and the perspective of Waiting.
- What does it feel like to be waiting for enjoyment to happen to you?
- What attitude adjustments do you have to make between these two perspectives?
- Is there a difference in the kinds of awareness required to maintain one or the other of these two perspectives?
Hokusai Says (excerpt)
Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing….
He says everything is alive–
Shells, buildings, people fish
Mountains, trees. Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you…
Except from Roger Keyesi poem, Hokusai says, I printed in Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach