A Coaching Power Tool Created by Jo Smith
(Life Coach, CANADA)
This is your life. Do what you love and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. The Holstee manifesto
The gift of life is yours. It is a creative adventure, full of exciting possibilities waiting to be explored. With an awakening of who you are, you can choose to live your life the way you want to. You really do not have to take life the way it comes to you. This power tool celebrates the “I want to’s” in your life, gently encouraging a nudge to release all the “I have to’s”. Wanting to live your life rather than having to live your life is a shift in perspective that inspires. Knowing who you are nurtures knowing what you want. With the powerful motivation of desire, you can determine what is possible.
I Have To
“I have to lose weight. I have to save my money. I have to stay in this job. I have to look after my children. I have to rent. I have to live in this town. I have to study. I have to be responsible. I have to tidy the garage.”
‘Having to’ discourages. It can be life draining and disempowering. When you have to do something, your heart is closed to take the lead and follows an obligation or an expectation from an outside source. It squeezes out the notion of options and the possibility of what could be. It can leave you feeling like you do not have choices and you are powerless to your circumstance. Having to do something demotivates. Your energy to sustain follow through can dwindle. Putting an “I have to” into what you do creates a resistance that limits the flow of movement and growth. It heavily pulls you back into all that is not. Your life becomes influenced by your circumstance or by what others’ decide.
I Want To
“I want to lose weight. I want to save my money. I want to stay in this job. I want to look after my children. I want to rent. I want to live in this town. I want to study. I want to be responsible. I want to tidy the garage.”
Just by replacing the words “I have to” with the words “I want to” changes the overall feeling of what is being said and subsequently what is being heard. The unspoken language has a different tone and interpretation even though the same subject is being spoken about.
‘Wanting to’ enthuses. It is energetically life giving and empowering. When you want to do something, your heart is open to take the lead, making decisions from a space of awareness and clarity. It encourages you to take ownership, knowing you have many flavoured options you can powerfully choose from. Your resonating “yes’s” become louder and bolder. Your unwanted “no’s” become quieter and less distracting. With a desire to want, there is a passion that freely motivates and creatively explores. Putting an “I want to” into what you do nurtures a natural flow of movement that sustains action with ease. It excitedly propels you towards all that is. Your life becomes influenced by what you decide.
Anne had 4 wonderful children and with each pregnancy she put on a little more weight than she had expected. After each baby was born, she didn’t fully lose all her pregnancy weight, and slowly, the extra pounds built up. Knowing that her fourth pregnancy was her last, Anne knew she had to lose those extra pounds in order to get back into any clothes she used to wear before she had children. Her goal, “I have to lose weight and I have to fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes” left her feeling defeated before she had even begun her journey. Anne knew this was already setting herself up for failure. She was all too familiar with her behavioural pattern of losing some weight, but not ever fully reaching her target weight. Once Anne’s initial enthusiasm dwindled or when she had faced an obstacle, her motivation to push through became too hard. Anne’s “I want to” had not been awakened yet. By changing her goal to “I want to lose weight and I want to fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes” immediately changed the energy behind the goal. It had opened up a new space for Anne to explore what she wanted. “I want to be all that I am created to be, fully alive with a body shape and weight that aligns with who I am. I want to feel and look fantastic, wearing clothes full of colour, texture and design that complement my body shape. I want a lifestyle that nurtures love, for myself and for those around me, especially for my husband and 4 children. I want to explore together daily how we can honour our heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to choose a healthier way.” Wow, how much more empowering is that goal for Anne?
How we spend our days is of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard
At times you are so busy doing what you think you have to do, that you do not get around doing what you really want to do. Life offers itself to you in so many different ways, yet you can so easily miss the wonderful exciting possibilities of options you can choose from. By doing all the perceived ‘right’ things and checking off all the ‘tick boxes’, you may have an undercurrent default to an “I have to” thinking, attitude or behaviour. Without realizing it, you may be externally influenced, which can leave you living a life that really is not your own. It is a functioning life that does not connect to who you are or your heart’s desires. You may be excellent at what you do, but there may be a disconnect to your amazing flavour of uniqueness that inspires you to reach for a new personal goal. If you do not have the desire to do something with your life, then there will be no reason to want to make any changes. You may feel stuck.
Making time for you can be at times considered self-indulgent, however, it is a big, beautiful and nurturing gift to yourself. If you do not know who you are, you may not know what you want. When you find yourself in that restrictive place feeling like you have to do something, start up a conversation that connects you to who you are right now, as is. Understand how important your heart is, become aware of how you are feeling, give voice to that feeling and then know you have the option to want to choose an alternate way. Your desire to want motivates movement and growth.
Questions that connect
How is your heart right now and what is it telling you? How do you feel? What are you going to choose to do with that feeling? In what areas of your life are you feeling connected to? What do you want to do?
Shifting from a space of “I have to” to a space of “I want to” starts with you as a coach and then opens up the moment for those around you. It awakens a conversation about life and a joy for exploring, pursing and living all that could be.
I want to inspire and be inspired. Sam Mendes
As a coach who is ‘wanting to’ coach, you are creating a space for the client to be at the centre of the conversation. Those moments are designed to encourage a healthy change by aligning the client’s “I want to’s” with who they are and then seeing their possibilities in motion.
If the client is in a space of “I have to”, they may feel demotivated when facing their goal or when following through on the journey ahead. Without intentional ownership, the client may not be able to connect to what their heart truly wants. It may be more comfortable to continue as is, only to find blame or excuses for what is not happening. Being pulled back into all that is not, the client must constantly rely on an outside source to propel them towards all that is. The client’s current “I have to“ may actually be someone else’s “I want to”. This tension is value misalignment, which can cause a feeling of powerlessness where the goal is at the control of someone or something else.
As a coach, you can support the client create their own shift in perspective, one that will empower ownership and one that will help them discover their wants, desires, passions and loves. You can nurture a space for the client to connect to who they are, their “I want to’s” behind the goal and all that is. For the client to grasp the concept they have the power to choose and with an “I want to” is crucial for their journey to continue. Asking a question, visualizing what could be or simply mirroring the client’s language can show an alternate viewpoint. If you hear “I have to”, “I ought to”, “I should do”, or “I can’t”, a disempowering and undiscovered underlying belief or behaviour could be attached, preventing them from moving into the fullness of their goal. The client may simply be unaware of the way they speak, see, believe or act.
Questions that support
What do you have to do? What would happen if you did not have to do it? If you felt you could be totally self-indulgent, how would you want to do it? When do you feel the most alive and fully like yourself? What propels you towards wanting to live your life? What do you want to let go of, in order to feel the way you want to feel? What do you want to choose more of in your life? How will you feel when your goal is complete?
The awareness of shifting from a space of “I have to” to a space of “I want to” is wonderfully lovely. The powerless moment becomes one that is powerful, where the change of motive helps reveal a fresh perspective. No longer a defeated ‘having to’, but a highly motivated ‘wanting to’ is catapulted into this creative adventure full of exciting diversities and possibilities, called life.
The only courage you ever need is the courage to live the life you want. Oprah Winfrey
- When have you been so absorbed with something that you have lost track of time? How did it feel? What effect did it have on your life?
- How do you make time for yourself and nurture you? How do you stir your creative juices that inspire your wants, desires, passions and loves? What motivates you?
- What do you feel you have to do? How often do you use “I have to” when you could be using “I want to”? How different would your goals feel like, if they were reframed to an “I want to” goal?
- How do you celebrate all that is? How do you release all that is not? How do you know you have a choice?
- What if an “I have to” perspective is a client’s motivating “I want to”? What types of options could you explore?
- How might the inspiration from this power tool help your clients bring about an empowering change in their lives?