A Coaching Power Tool Created by Hanna Kero
(Mindfulness Coach, FINLAND)
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross~
Are you living a comfortably numb life, spending your days routinely repeating the way you do things from the moment you wake up until you fall asleep again? Have you been staying in your comfort zone for so long that you no longer realize it’s a cage you’ve locked yourself in? Are you following someone else’s rules of how your life should go, trying in every way mould yourself into someone else’s idea of who you should be? Or have you been faced with such adversity that you feel you are merely surviving life instead of consciously creating it?
Life can deal us unexpected blows. They have the potential to bring us to our knees, break us down and tear everything we know to be true in to pieces. As the late Randy Pausch has said, we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. At one point or another we will all face setbacks in our lives, but it is how we respond to those challenges that will determine whether we are going to collapse, stagnate or grow and be transformed.
I have created this power tool in hopes that it will help you and your clients to find the courage to not only go through the unwanted or unexpected obstacles life has thrown at you, but to grow through them. My desire is to help you find the nerve to do more than just go through your life on an autopilot and instead break through the darkness into the bright light, where your life truly begins. It means saying YES to the calling of your Soul and understanding that no matter what your circumstances are, you have the choice to either go or grow through your life.
Just think about it:
- You can choose to learn Life's lessons this time around so they won't have to be repeated to foster your understanding.
- You can choose to be broken open instead of broken down.
- You can choose to explore your edges, live consciously and wholeheartedly each day.
- You can choose to thrive.
- You can choose to no longer let your life slip by and your most meaningful dreams slide silently to the side while you're getting everything else done.
- You can choose to be present and not worry about your future or regret your past mistakes.
- You can choose freedom from the belief that you have to lead a life of duty and what is expected of you by others.
- You can choose forgiveness and let go of the pain that comes from the stories of how you have been done wrong by other people, the universe or God.
- You can choose happiness.
- You can choose freedom over your fears and limiting beliefs that have, up until this moment, drawn the boundaries of your life.
- You can choose to consciously live instead of unconsciously survive.
Today can be the day you finally wake up to your Life. You can take the first step into growing towards the wholeness of you are. You don’t need to have a clear vision of the road ahead. All you have to do is to wholeheartedly commit to the Journey of Growth and Transformation. You will also have to face the greatest fear of all, the fear of the unknown. Choosing whether to embark on this journey or not, will be the most important decision you will ever make. Choose wisely.
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.~ Karen Kaiser Clark ~
2. Illustrative example
I am personally fascinated by people who have overcome unimaginable adversities, turned their lives around and become wise souls who, while living a fulfilling, rich lives, also help others to do the same. These people know that nothing in their lives has been wasted. No matter how difficult it may have been. When they look at their lives’ journeys, they see lessons learned instead of mistakes made, divine guidance instead of wrong turns. They know, that each experience they have encountered has been precisely the right preparation for what was yet to come. More than that, they know that each of us is exactly where we need to be in life. They discover blessings in challenging circumstances and always remember that they have the power to choose how they respond in any given situation. They choose faith over fear and live lives defined by continuous growth. Now, I’d like to introduce you to a woman who is all this and more, and whom I’m proud to call a dear friend or
part of the same clay
as she would put it.
My friend, who is now in her 60’s is someone who radiates confidence, love, wisdom, acceptance and fierce life-energy. She is a devoted advocate for ecologically sustainable development and has served as a volunteer in all corners of the world. She is also a mother of two, a daughter, sister, lover, friend, student, dog-owner, gardener, poetry writer, an artist and someone who has a great eye for aesthetics. She has an over-flowing passion for adventure and exploration and has travelled in all continents of the world. She is someone who radiates the kind of light and positive energy that makes you feel more alive by just being in her presence. Her life journey has taken her through myriad soul-transforming experiences which have all shaped her into the glorious, wise woman she is today. She has lived through the highest peaks and deepest valleys that life can offer and through it all, found her true essence.
Here are a few examples of life events my friend has been through.
- Molested and raped continuously throughout her growing years
- Being physically and emotionally abused by the people that were supposed to care for her
- For several years, suffered from a difficult illness that couldn't be healed by traditional medicine. Healed herself with a combination of mind and body practices.
- Divorce from the father of her children
- Found her amazing and more-than-she-could-have-ever-imaged soul mate, moved to live with him across the ocean to another continent... and then lost him right away.
- Financial setbacks
- Death of a loved one
My friend’s life journey is exceptional, not as much for the trauma and misfortune she has been through, but for the way she has been able use these experiences to her advantage. She is definitely one of those “beautiful people” that Elizabeth Kübler-Ross has spoken about (see the quote in the beginning of this power tool). My friend has much to teach us that can be applied to our lives and our coaching practices: most importantly, that we have a very special ability to choose how we respond to whatever comes our way and to find courage, determination and faith in the midst of our darkest times. We have the ability to develop inner freedom from desperation and do much more than just barely survive. My friend is a living example of the kind of a woman who has learned from her experiences but does not allow the misfortune she has faced to define who she is or how she lives her life in the present moment. Today, she is living by her own light and confronts life with courage, determination, passion and pure authenticity.
3. Coaching application
The topic of growth is at the heart of every coaching process. Adopting a growth mindset is ultimately a spiritual process that will transform your clients life. Many times, the transition process from living a comfortably numb life to waking up to one’s full potential and to the richness of life, can raise a large variety of reactions and emotions. Once your client has come to the realization that she has spent all her years just going through the motions of day to day life, there will very likely be feelings such as pain, regret, rejection, anger, grief etc. It is important that you, the coach, will not push your client forward too fast and instead allow her to fully confront and process all that arises. Holding the space for your client is all about emphasizing with her experiencing at the same time as you, the coach, are acting as a “process-midwife” while your client is giving birth to her True Self. Allowing the client to slow down as she is making the shift from “going to growing” will paradoxically enable the process to move quickly from the superficial level to different layers and thus become deeper and sustainable.
Once your client has made a wholehearted commitment to continuous growth, it is important to help her distinguish real growth from inauthentic pursuits of fixing or improving herself. At this point, you may want to have a thorough discussion about what real, authentic growth means to your client and how she can learn to distinguish genuine growth from the illusion of it.
Here are some examples of what I personally think real growth is (and is not) all about:
Real growth has nothing to do with…
- Ego-based pursuits
- Should/would/could -thinking
- Becoming more popular, lovable, rich, successful etc.
- Improving and fixing oneself (or others!)
- Fixing a problem
- Becoming an expert and adding to one's list of accomplishments
- Knowing it all
- Competition + outdoing others.
- Not being enough
- Becoming immune to pain, imperfections and life's setbacks.
- Past or the future
Real growth is all about...
- Making the evolution of one's consciousness the first priority
- Discovery + insight
- Compassion + forgiveness + authenticity
- Sense of purpose
- Recognizing that one has a choice in how to react and respond in each situation
- Deeper connection with oneself, others and the world as a whole
- Being able to connect with one's Wise Self and emotional intelligence
- Accepting one's moment to moment experiences
- Possibility thinking instead of positive thinking
- Process instead of destination
- Finding gifts in imperfection
- Conscious living
- Present moment