A Coaching Power Tool Created by Jimena Durán
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
How often have you heard or said the following?
I don’t know where to start
I feel stuck, and I don’t know where to begin
My life is a mess at this point
I need to gain clarity
I am not sure what’s wrong with me lately
How does clutter affect you and your life?
Clutter: ’to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.’*
Clutter not only makes it difficult for us to see-things around us, but also to move forward. We are not only talking about physical clutter – there is also social, emotional and financial clutter that can leave us overwhelmed and feeling stuck.
Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self’ – Eleanor Brown
People who live in a state of chaos are prone to procrastination and an inability to commit to work or relationships. They feel anxious and overwhelmed with change and usually give up before they even begin a project. Their finances and time are wasted; they feel helpless.
Clutter: ‘Anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living’ – Peter Walsh
How does clutter limit us? When we are in a place of clutter, we can’t see our options or possibilities. Many times we can’t even recognize what is wrong with in first place, what is causing this feeling of ‘stuckness’. Emotional clutter typically occurs when we are under stress or feel emotionally fatigue. In these occasions it’s hard to discern what’s stopping us from moving forward, and it becomes nearly impossible to think of our own strengths.
When asked what would be the one way that I’d like to shift the thinking or beliefs of every client I coach, the first thought that came to mind was for them to keep moving forward. This implies helping them reach new levels of awareness, and helping them identify and understand their own emotions, feelings, strengths and options. In other words, by de-cluttering. When their level of clutter has been reduced, the client will be more likely to create new ways of thinking and create actions.
I’d like to share with you the following situation based on a real case with one of my clients:
After 13 years with her current organization, Mary was no longer feeling satisfaction or happiness (and she had been feeling this way for quite some time). The company’s culture had shifted for the worse, and her energy levels were extremely low when thinking about staying. However, even though her role was no longer exciting or challenging, it was a safe space for Mary. She was afraid of failing, afraid to make the wrong decision and possibly find herself in a lower position. She was very indecisive when talking about this option and she even said, “I can’t think straight when trying to figure out this.”She still hasn’t been able to solve this situation. There are too many thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and possibilities going through her mind.
From Clutter to Awareness
Many times I find myself feeling that I need to speak out loud to be able to gain clarity about a situation. Very often we don’t speak our minds because we are too concerned about saying the right thing, not looking silly or tying to be sensitive to what we assume the other person thinks/ feels about the topic. One of the most powerful outcomes of the coaching process is to gain awareness of all these filters that feed that feeling of ‘stuckness’.
As our awareness increases, our control over our own beings increases. This is the first step towards change. Awareness brings clarity to our lives. Exploring the potential of any given situation is really important to shift the client’s perspective and move them to a more positive place. Helping them gain awareness of the potential positive outcomes can be key for their forward action design. ‘Even the worst situations offer opportunities to learn and grow’ – when we are able to see this, we open a whole new world of possibilities.
Awareness precedes choice, and choice precedes results – Robin S. Sharma
Returning back to Mary’s case
When we started digging into her feelings, fear was the first to appear. Initially she focused on her family, as family is one of the main values she lives by. She was concerned that a new job would take time away from them. But as the conversation continued, she realized that she was mostly afraid of failing.
Mary was focusing only on the potential negative outcomes of changing jobs. I gave Mary space to reflect on all the tools that had helped her get her current job 13 years ago and all the learning and growth she experienced since then. As the session advanced, she realized that she had stock on her previous success and thereby on her future success as well. This exercise helped Mary move to a place of self-confidence. She realized that she already has many tools and strategies in place to support her decision of finding the right company for her. And another possibility entered her mind: the positive potential scenario. She felt positive and confident to start looking for a role in a company that would fulfill the person she had become.
By the end of the session,Mary reached a new level of awareness. She had more clarity on who she was, what she wanted and the reasons why. This will ultimately lead her to establishing an action plan and find the job she really desires.
Think about the last time you felt cluttered or stuck… What types of feelings were attached to this particular situation? How useful were they?
Applications to Coaching
As a coach, one of our goals is to help the client de-clutter their minds. It is important that they get rid of structures that no longer serve them, reframing their beliefs and looking at their problems from a different perspective. The first step, creating space for reflection,is key to bringing awareness.
Questions to de-clutter
- What do you observe?
- What does this clutter mean?
- How useful are the different elements? How do they serve you all the different elements?
- In what way is that in alignment with your values?
- What would be the feeling attached to each one of the elements?
Watch your thoughts, They become words. Watch your words, They become actions. Watch your actions, They become habits. They become character. Watch your character, It becomes your destiny– Lao Tzu
The 5 S,