I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now. Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
The way forward for Mrs. Lenaire
- How can Mrs. Lenaire move from RETREATING to exhibiting COURAGE on her journey through life?
- How can she begin to ‘open doors to the you’ (use of writer’s coaching model) that she wants to become?
- How can she truly face her fears and break free from the shackles of the past?
- How can she walk towards her fears instead of retreating or looking for a place to hide?
As stated by Kris Belfils, my fears…were like the big “elephant in the living room” syndrome. Everyone sees [that] you have a big elephant in your living room…taking up all the extra space and prevents persons from sitting down and fellowship with you. Yet, you have no clue that the elephant is there (www.krisbelfils.com).
Mrs. Lenaire felt that persons were preventing her from moving ahead with plans on which they all agreed. Other persons were seeing her elephant and showed that they are the authority on what needs to be done.
a) Is Mrs. Lenaire ignoring the obvious?
b) Is she accepting that she retreats when situations become difficult?
From her response to questions asked during the coaching sessions, she does. However, she consistently blames others for her inadequate or non-performance. There are times when Mrs. Lenaire’s elephant gets so big that it has to share everyone else’s space.
As Mrs. Lenaire’s coach, my role is to support her in her desire to move from the ‘state of retreat’ to one of finding courage to go forward on the path she wants to take. What can the coach do to further assist Mrs. Lenaire?
Self awareness is an important factor in the change process. Mrs. Lenaire is aware of where she is and where she wants to be. She has started the journey – she now likes herself; how can she move from liking to loving herself? She can take the positives from this experience to build courage and to ‘work through’ other issues as they arise. She gave permission for the coach to share some reading material with her about loving self; some of which were discussed in the sessions.
Mrs. Lenaire is fearful of failing at her job, and is of the opinion that others are contributing to her failure. She takes little responsibility for the situation in which she finds herself. As stated by Gay Hendricks (2009) many of our fears are based on the workings of the ego, the part of us that’s focused on getting recognition and protecting us from social ostracism. He posits that the goal in life is not to attain some imaginary ideal; it is to find and fully use our own gifts (The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level (pp. 17-18). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition). What are some gifts that Mrs. Lenaire has identified? She stated that she sees her main goal as advocating on behalf of others and to continue her online business while seeking another job to allow her to fund the business until it becomes profitable. Hendricks further posits, that each of us has an inner thermostat setting, that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure. Unfortunately, our thermostat setting usually gets programmed in early childhood, before we can think for ourselves. It prevents us from living in the ultimate destination of the journey— our Zone of Genius. (Hendricks, Gay (2009). The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level (pp. 17-18). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.] Is this a factor in Mrs. Lenaire’s situation?
- Underlying beliefs are 'the very core and strength of who we are (Notes ICA module). They can move a coachee forward, or keep them in their present position. The aim of the coaching relationship is to assist the coachee to identify and maintain positive beliefs or give coachee support to change beliefs that are restrictive/prevent progress. Mrs. Lenaire's first step in changing these beliefs is to become aware of, and explore them, a necessity for the achievement of her goals. She feels that others including her mother are reasons for her retreat. What has she learnt on this journey? Once learning has taken place, it will be evidenced by a change in her behaviour, and a first step on the way to build courage.
- Support Group: Mrs. Lenaire's family and her close friend are important to support her on the journey. Having the support will help the coachee to stay on course. She feels that her mother and herself now have a good relationship (forgiveness has taken place) which she will continue to nurture.
- Building Courage: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear" (Nelson Mandela). Courage is like a muscle; it can be strengthened and developed through consistent training. To become/be courageous is not an easy feat, especially when it has been a part of your character to run and bolt under pressure. It will be to Mrs. Lenaire's benefit to break tasks into manageable proportions. As stated by my coach Iris, 'breaking fear into pieces will reduce its power'. This will also help Mrs. Lenaire to build her self confidence and to feel less overwhelmed. One major action/goal that Mrs. Lenaire wishes to accomplish is to start a business in partnership with her friend. Her development of Courage is necessary to achieve this goal.
Develop Physical Courage
…One cannot schedule circumstances in which to show forth physical courage; however, one can prepare oneself before such an event occurs (Art of manliness- Developing manly courage ). Mrs. Lenaire will be supported to get herself in the best possible physical shape. She is a cancer survivor, and a single parent who takes care of her son – that’s a display of courage. Coaching is aimed at supporting her to nurture and use that fact to revisit when she felt courageous – what did she do, and how did she feel? This will assist her to learn to discipline and train her mind. When her mind is focused, she will get rid of fear and become more self-focused.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Psychology today-basic: mindfulness
Develop Intellectual Courage
The first step to developing intellectual courage is to become an avid reader. History is full of examples of the display of intellectual courage (Art of manliness – Developing manly courage ). Mrs. Lenaire’s love for reading was nurtured by the gift of a book from her coach, (permission sought from coachee before).
Develop Moral Courage
Moral courage can be defined as the power and determination to follow what one believes to be right,
regardless of the cost to oneself, and irrespective of the disapproval of others. One example of someone who displayed Moral Courage was Gandhi. What Gandhi lacked in military and economic strength, he made up for in moral courage. Moral courage thrives on empathy and compassion, the ability to understand the needs and hurts of others (Art of manliness – Developing manly courage). Mrs. Lenaire wants to advocate on behalf of persons who she views as unable to do so on their behalf. Before doing so however, she will be assisted to stand up for herself. What are her ethics and principles? What will she learn from herself in the decisions she makes on a daily basis? These learnings will help her to build moral courage, to do what is right for herself and others in the life situations she faces.
Finally, Mrs. Lenaire will be supported to reexamine her goals as necessary. Goals should be SMARTER:
4) Time-bound (how much time each will take – it will be necessary to explore facilitators and inhibitors that may impact time)
5) Extending-Challenging, and
6) Rewarding – what’s in it for Mrs. Lenaire, what benefits will she receive? Mrs. Lenaire resigned her job that she was unhappy in. It is hoped that she will interview for a new job and start a new page on her road to developing courage.
The more fears she faces and overcomes, the more her courage and confidence will grow. She will be supported on her journey of change – being aware that the only thing constant is change. The caterpillar, if it doesn’t change into a butterfly, will die. Mrs. Lenaire is determined to advocate on others’ behalf. That is good; however, before she can help others, she must be able to help herself or she will not have the strength, courage or the energy to reach out to others. She is willing to change, and still fears the journey; however, if she focuses on what changes are necessary, believes in herself, and works at achieving her goals, with her family and friend’s support she will be successful.
Life is daily work! The many experiences we encounter each day, and the way we think and believe about these experiences, either contribute to us retreating, or support us in becoming more courageous. What are some pertinent questions (in addition to others mentioned earlier) that I or anyone taking this journey will need to answer to move from a situation of Retreat to one of Courage?
- What role does fear play in my life?
- How can I recognize and understand fear and its effects?
- What is the foundation of this fear?
- How can I commit to courage and face the fear?
- Have I overcome any other life obstacles? If yes, What from this courageous action am I taking on my journey?
- How can I then reframe my perspectives on life?
- What would life be without its challenges?
- How has helping my father turned the tables of my life from Retreat to Courage?
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the strength to be who and what you are– despite the fear! (4 KEYS to Developing Your Courage).
Victor Frankl stated:
Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.
Frankyl believed that people are primarily driven by a
striving to find meaning in one’s life and that it is this sense of meaning that enables us to overcome painful experiences . The Rebbe and Viktor Frank
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again. Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay
Coelho, P. (2009), The Devil and Miss Prym. Coelho, Paulo (Mar 17,
Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/566.Paulo_Coelho
Coelho, P. (2009). Veronika Decides to Die. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/566.Paulo_Coelho
Coelho, P. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/566.Paulo_Coelho).
4 KEYS to Developing Your Courage (n.d.)
Hendricks, G. (2009) The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level (p. 16). Pub. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition).
(n.d.). Retrieved from ).
(n. d.) Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/5156-i-learned-that-courage-was-not-the-absence-of-fear
(n.d.). Retrieved from www.krisbelfils.com
(n.d.) Retrieved from www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retreat
Nin, Anais (2009). The Art of Manliness. retrieved from http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/02/08/developing-manly-courage/.
Roth, E. (n.d.). The curious case of Benjamin Button screenplay . Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/change
What is Mindfulness? (n.d.) http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness