A Coaching Power Tool Created by Jessica Lyons
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Something happens in your life that really rocks your world. Maybe you lose your job. Maybe your relationship ends.
It is in these trying times that we are truly challenged by what is happening around us. If we’re not careful we might let these circumstance swallow us whole. Without inner awareness, we let these events become representative of our identity. We take a look at where we are in life and if it doesn’t look the the and we let that determine how we interpret our self-worth.
We let the circumstances and limiting beliefs lodge in our chests which can lead to a feeling of being stuck, unmotivated, or confused.
Dictionary.com defines circumstance as:
a condition, detail, part, or attribute, with respect to time, place,manner,agent, etc., that accompanies, determines, or modifies a factor event; a modifying or influencing factor:
The key word here is “condition.”Life is fluid and changing. These experiences are part of the human experience. But they are not reflective of the core of our being. However, these states do affect the experience that we are having.
A quick dictionary trip finds this definition of identity:
Sameness of essential or generic character in different instances.
Your identity is a collection of sorts making up who you are—feelings, desires, pursuits, joys—that transcend experiences. How you feel when you are aligned? You are an all-powerful being, put on this earth for great creation. So how do we stop our circumstances from dictating who you are? To do this, you have to know your values. You have get clear on your purpose. Meditate on your core desired feelings. Discover these building blocks and you will be able to separate from your circumstance with an understanding that circumstance is about the lessons you might need to learn.
When I transitioned from an elementary school educator to a public relations employee in a non-profit, I suddenly found that my daily tasks looked very different. I was used to interacting with 500 people in a day, and now I was spending time with just my computer. I found the learning curve to be huge. I couldn’t even sit still for an hour, let alone eight hours. I had trouble concentrating.
While I couldn’t tell when I started working at this particular office, it soon became apparent that there was much conflict between other co-workers in the office. I felt like I had much to learn, but I also struggled on a daily basis to be heard, to be seen, and to be perfect in every task that I was given. Most days, I came up short. I made too many mistakes, my boss was angry (because of office politics), and most of all, I missed interacting with children and teachers.
I got lost in the story that I was telling myself. The story that these circumstances weren’t conducive to my success; that no one here understood me; that if I couldn’t love my coworkers the way that I wanted, I couldn’t love them at all. I couldn’t find compassion within myself and I couldn’t get out. A friend actually stepped in at one point and said,
I know you’re going through a lot right now, but Jess. You are taking something that is happening in your life, and making it your whole life.
He was right. But the question becomes, how you accept the circumstances for what they are and bring yourself back into alignment with your identity, your authentic self.
Through the year and half that I worked there, I realized that my integrity, a core value, required that I finish out the project that I was working on which I was able to do with joy. When that project successfully wrapped, I knew that I was ready to move on, opening the door for projects more aligned with my inner desires.
In order to make decisions from your identity and not the reflection of your circumstance, you need to start with feeling the feelings you are having in these circumstances.
1. Practice Acceptance
Set up a practice for yourself that allows you to accept the situation you find yourself in. Before you can make change that works for you, you have to acknowledge what brought you to where you are. You have to accept the circumstances as they are, even as you strengthen your core and acknowledge your desire for change. Rumi’s poem “The Guest House” always helps me to practice this acceptance.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Accepting that you are a spiritual being with a human experience in the first step in being able to recall your true identity or your core.
As coaches, we know that action and movement can be essential to helping a client move themselves from the story they are living in. The first part of this application is to aid your client in creating some space in the circumstances so that you can then go back and explore what they see as their “true identity” or their authentic selves.
Below are a few practices to try with a client and a sequence of questions that move a client from being stuck in their circumstances to being in alignment with their true identity.
Power Poses: A Practice for the Kinesthetic Modality Learners
Try sitting in a chair. Now, slouch your shoulders forward. Put your face in your hands or rest your chin on your hand while your elbow rests on your knees. Think of a situation that you want to try to change. Notice your thoughts. How do you feel?
Now stand up. Roll your shoulders back from your body, standing up nice and tall. Ball your hands into fists, and stand with your hands on your hips, arms bent at the elbows. Head tall, looking straight forward. Now go back to the same situation that you were just thinking about. Do you come up with any more solutions? Notice your thoughts? How do you feel?
Let’s try one more. Now take your hands and put them above your head. Arms up and reaching out in a v! Spread your legs and feet so that they are shoulder width apart. Do you have any other solutions about this situation that you had been thinking about? How do you feel now?
Just by changing our physical structure we can change the emotions in the body. What is happening right now in this circumstance doesn’t necessarily translate into who you are. You already have the knowledge you need within yourself. This process is about uncovering it.
Play Music: Practice for the Auditory Learners
Find a song that picks you up. Put it on in the background. Sink into it. Dance into it. Journal. Sing. Recognize that your cells are doing something with that and DO it. How does that feel? Where do you feel those feelings in your body?
Find a Picture: Practice for the Visual Learner
Find a picture that inspires you. Google. Look out the window. Just picture it. Think of something you saw that inspired you. That made you feel free. Whole. Go there. Rest in that space for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths and notice your feelings. What do you feel in this space?
Hold on to those feelings of excitement or power or peace that came over you with those different practices. It’s time to dive into exploring your true identity.
- What feelings did you have during the last exercise?
- Are there any feelings that feel more aligned with your true self?
- What might you do if you felt those feelings while you living in your current circumstance?
- What structures can you put in place to help you feel more at home in your identity?
- What things are under your control in this circumstance?
- What is not?
It’s recommended that you explore your clients values before using this tool so that you can lean upon them in moments of reflection.
Take a moment to look back over this Power Tool and reflect on the questions below:
- How do you define identity?
- When you do you notice feeling empowered in life when you are acting in your identity?
- What experiences did you recall while reading through this power tool?
- What pieces specifically resonated with you while you were reading?
- Have you had an experience in your life where you felt like your circumstances defined your identity?
- How did you create shift in in your thinking to free you of the circumstances?
- What structures can you put in place to draw power from your identity?