A Coaching Power Tool Created by Eli Rivera
(Transformational Coach, UNITED STATES)
At some point in our lives we find ourselves asking two very important questions:
- “Why am I here?”
- “Am I truly happy here?”
Often times throughout life we get caught up in the “busy work” and fail to take the opportunity to really connect with ourselves. Our 9-5 job, raising a family, being a great husband/wife, purchasing our dream home and saving for our retirement, all distract us from truly feeling what we’re feeling about our lives in the present moment. These external challenges and expectations often cloud our connection to our spiritual core and prompt us to forcibly seek to attain these external goals. In our quest to conquer life, we forget that we are meant to be participants and co-creators in Life’s Journey and not it’s Master. Our personal goals and aspirations become fueled by society’s expectations and our Ego’s need to feel significant. This often clouds our judgment and alignment with our Authentic Higher Purpose, which in turn creates the need to forcibly engage in actions that may not be truly aligned with our personal/spiritual values. These choices often lead to a feeling of incompleteness even when goals are achieved. When we are able to align ourselves with our True Purpose in Life, life becomes filled with greater satisfaction, less urgency, and opportunities begin to naturally unfold. Life becomes easier and more satisfying as we allow ourselves to flow in its currents…
What is EGO?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Ego as the following:
- The self, especially as distinct from the world and other selves.
- In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.
Dr. Wayne Dyer
Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book The Shift shares his own personal insight into Ego:
The ego-idea has been with us ever since we began to think. It sends us false messages about our true nature. It leads us to make assumptions about what will make us happy and we end up frustrated. It pushes us to promote our self-importance while we yearn for a deeper and richer life experience. It causes us to fall into the void of self-absorption again and again, not knowing that we need only shed the false idea of who we are. (Dyer, 2010)
Here he shares some beliefs that contribute to this state of mind:
- I am what I have.
- I am what I do.
- I am what others think of me.
- I am separate from everyone.
- I am separate from all that is missing in my life.
- I am separate from God.(Dyer, 2010)
The description given by Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a wonderful explanation of this discovery:
Two people have been living in you all of your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to. (Rinpoche, 2002)
He refers to this hidden spiritual being as our wise guide.
CASE STUDY: EGO – Forcing
As a child Martin truly believed that he wanted to be a doctor. Whenever someone would ask Martin what he wanted to be when he grew up, he always responded with “a doctor”. When asked why, he would state because doctors are important and his mommy and daddy wanted him to be a doctor because doctors make lots of money and with lots of money you can afford to have a big house, raise a family and live a happy life.
In high school Martin excelled in sports, particularly baseball. When Martin played baseball it was effortless. He felt as though the ball was coming to him in slow motion and was able to get on base almost all of the time. His pitching was already almost major league speed and teams often struggled to get one or two hits off of him. He knew he had a gift that he not only enjoyed, but brought great joy to others as they watched him play. Martin was offered a full scholarship to the top baseball university in the nation and was sure to be a top Major League Baseball prospect. Martin was torn between playing the sport that he was passionate about and keeping his promise to become a doctor.
Martin ultimately turned down the scholarship and enrolled at a local university with a great medical program, but no baseball team. He completed medical school, became a successful doctor at the local hospital and eventually married a fellow doctor.
Almost every night Martin would have dreams about traveling the country playing baseball and could feel the joy and excitement that came with it. Yet, every morning he would wake up and walk through his home to his front deck and wonder what it would be like if he had followed his passion. Sure he had a beautiful wife, enormous house and a Porsche in the driveway, but for some reason he had emptiness inside that was not being filled.
What is Soul?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Soul as the following:
- The animating and vital principle in humans, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion and often conceived as an immaterial entity.
- The spiritual nature of humans, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state.
Author Gary Zukav describes Soul as:
The immortal part of yourself that existed before you were born and will exist after you die. (Zukav, 1989)
CASE STUDY: SOUL-Allowing
Vanessa was a brilliant student and everybody knew it, including Vanessa. For her, memorizing daily school lessons came with no effort at all. Everybody expected Vanessa to attend an Ivy League school, graduate at the top of her class and go on to a well-respected career as a doctor or lawyer. What people didn’t know about Vanessa was that she would spend all of her free time in her room drawing in her sketchbook or painting with watercolors. Her art was remarkably beautiful and unique. But most importantly, it provided Vanessa with a deep sense of peace and connectivity with life itself. Every morning Vanessa would wake up at 5am and walk to the nearby park and paint trees, birds and anything else that might have inspired her that day.
The day finally arrived for Vanessa to choose a college. She was already set to graduate as high school valedictorian with the greatest academic career of any past student at her school. As expected she had several college offers, including three Ivy League schools and the top art school in the country. Why an art school was interested in her was a great mystery to many. As it turned out, while applying for college, Vanessa had the urge to include a few of her paintings with her applications. Ironically enough, one of the Ivy League school counselors was so impressed that she showed the paintings to a colleague who in turn shared it with a curator friend of hers. This curator shared it with another friend and before anybody knew what happened she had an offer to the best art school in the nation.
It was finally time for Vanessa to choose what University she would attend. As she weighed all of the possibilities of an Ivy League education, the doors that would open up and the successful career that would inevitably follow, she couldn’t help but feel that none of these thoughts excited her and gave her the sense of joy that painting did. So Vanessa decided to follow her intuition and accepted the art school’s offer.
Today Vanessa lives in a small cottage home on a lake where she spends her entire day painting. She lives a simple life that is supplemented by selling her artwork at trade shows and over the internet. Vanessa has a peaceful glow around her face and a twinkle in her eye. Whenever she is asked about the past opportunities of an Ivy League education and a professional career she states that she could not imagine anything better than living the life she currently lives.
Here are a few examples that challenge us to decide whether we are basing a decision on our Ego’s need to “force” or our Soul’s desire to “allow”.
|Situation||Ego View||Soul View|
|Child choosing school clothes||Will my child look silly?||How important is nurturing free will?|
|Choosing a job||Will I make lots of money?||Will my job fill me with joy?|
|Getting married||Can we be successful together?||Will this relationship promote spiritual growth?|
How can we understand what our next decision is based on? Is it through Ego-Forcing or Soul-Allowing? The next time you are about to make a decision, ask yourself: “Is the decision I’m about to make based on the approval of my peers or the fear of losing something? Or, is it based on altruism, positive intention and a true connectedness to the moment at hand (gut feeling)?
Have you ever frozen in a moment where action was required because of the fear of how your choice might be perceived by others? Concern over the judgment of your choice by others is an Ego experience. Living a life based on playing out every potential scenario that our decision may have will result in a state of constant stress and exhaustion. But, when we choose to align ourselves with our Soul’s intention: a pure, altruistic and loving position, we will live a life that is free of doubt, judgment and hesitation. This leads to living a life that flows with more fluidity from moment to moment, since every opportunity is directly aligned with your conscious choice of following your Soul’s direction.
So take a breath the next time you find yourself at the crossroads of a major life decision. Allow yourself to notice if the decision you are making is coming from the questions simmering in your head, or if it is coming from your heart and the pull of the Universe is guiding your decision….
As coaches we constantly face the temptation of wanting to “fix” our client by sharing with them what appears to be the “right” solution for them. This is a belief deeply rooted in Ego, for how can we truly know what’s right for somebody else, given the various circumstances of their lives. A Coach should never rely on one single answer as the solution and should never expect a specific answer or response or they may try and “lead” a client rather than accept whatever the client is feeling in the moment. If our coaching intention is based on service to our client instead of the desire to fix them, we will be coaching from a perspective less attached to the outcome, thus providing a greater opportunity for the client’s higher purpose to shine through. A Coach must remember that no knowledge is as valuable as it is in the precise moment it is intended to manifest for the client.
A session that is devoted 100% to the client will command setting aside reflective time for the coach to remind him/herself that the session is about the client’s needs and not the coaches “success” during the session. Coaching skills will develop organically over time as the coach becomes better at listening to the client without any pre-conceived expectations or attachment to any specific outcome. By remaining flexible to a client’s needs, we are able to provide a free flowing environment, conducive to a deeper connection to the client’s expression and needs.
- When might you ask: “Is my intention for my client based on their need for guidance or my desire for a successful coaching session”?
- During a session, why might a coach find themselves mentally drifting ahead to find the next question?
- What questions might you ask to find out if the clients’ current perspective is coming from Ego or Soul?
- What questions might you ask a client to find out if they are ready to make the shift from one perspective to the other?
- Do you believe that anything you say to the client that is based on pure/positive intention, at any given moment, will help birth an authentic response from the client?