A Coaching Power Tool Created by Julie Bartleson
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
As human beings, we experience life through communication. In language, words have definitions therefore; we learn that words have meaning, an interpretation, and an explanation. However, with evolutionary adaptation of language and communication, we have also learned that in addition to putting definition on words, we adapt to associating words with our own meanings from our own experiences, and as we are aware – making associating to words in our interpretations can lead us to nebulous communication resulting in a collapse with the messages we are intending to convey. From old and past experiences to a whole world of new experiences, our lives are built upon our word; we create worlds with our words.
If you are asking yourself what this has to do with breakdowns and breakthroughs, it is merely to establish a foundation and a context for the use of this power tool. Here’s a quote that sums up the foundation being set up here:
Behind every word a whole world is hidden that must be imagined. Actually, every word has a great burden of memories, not only just of one person but of all mankind. Take a word such as bread, or war; take a word such as chair, or bed or Heaven. Behind every word is a whole world. I’m afraid that most people use words as something to throw away without sensing the burden that lies in a word. –HEINRICH BÖLL
So what does a breakdown look like in your life? What feelings and emotions do you associate or interpret this breakdown with?
If we can look from the perspective that our words are independent from our feelings and emotions, we can possibly see that there is a distinct difference with that and our psychology (which in this case, is what our mind / thoughts think about us) – In other words, our feelings and emotions do not make up who we are.
Given we identify that Breakdowns exist in only communication (an not psychology), rather in the precise language we use, for example; the ways we speak and the words we choose, we can identify that a Breakdown happens in that one moment inside the conversation/ communication where that one word or phrase skews the intended message being delivered and suddenly the communication has now turned into a different direction and the outcome gets thwarted.
Let’s look at the definitions in the dictionary given for the word breakdown.
- a mechanical failure.
- a failure of a relationship or system: the breakdown of their marriage | some of these women
will have experienced marital breakdown | a breakdown in military discipline.
- the chemical or physical decomposition of something: the breakdown of ammonia to
Here we can see the common thread attributes of a breakdown are perceived as failure and decomposition, both these words associated with breakdown are not seemingly positive, and the energy of these two words seem to offer somewhat of a negative experience.
Breakdown defined as failure expresses that situations can occur to us to result in a “dead end” … in essence, a breakdown could lead us to a place where we get stuck or stopped by.
Decomposition is similar in the characteristic to failure that something more specific has failed, in this case something in the physical or chemical make-up has weakened, a breaking apart of whatever it was that was holding something intact has broken down… again, unpleasant descriptions can often guide us to the conclusion of negative outcomes or results.
Failure is success if we learn from it-Malcom Forbes
The first important steps to weathering failure is learning not to personalize it- John C. Maxwell, Failing Forward
These two wonderful quotes imply there are opportunities in a failure or a breakdown, but how would we transform this breakdown into a breakthrough?
Breakthrough by definition is:
a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development: a major breakthrough in DNA research.
- an instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity: her big breakthrough came on the stage when she won a Tony Award in 1958
Breakdowns are access to breakthroughs; in fact with a breakdown a breakthrough is possible. In other words, without a breakdown a breakthrough has no space to occur and one may say, it’s called a breakthrough because one cannot go “around it “, or “over it”, they must go “through it” as to experience the effects that would make possibilities emerge. It is in this very instance there is a breakthrough, to this “sudden and dramatic, important discovery or development” you have now made.
If we are fully aware in the moment as we speak of what’s actually being said to have a breakdown occur, it is in using our deep listening skills we will be open to capture these specific words or phrases to identify our failure in communication. Therefore, without inserting our negative thoughts, emotions or feeling into our so-called failure in communication, and we come from the positive purpose for which this breakdown is happening exactly the way it did, we can possibly begin to see a glimmer of light to let the magic and transformation of breakthrough in.
Breakdowns are merely what is being said, and simply the facts about a situation or circumstance… NOT at all to what is described as a feeling or emotion – feelings and emotions are what we as human brains and based on our beliefs, make the situation or circumstance mean… and we have no business collapsing the two with our psychology otherwise, we bring new elements that are no longer a focus toward revealing the power in a breakdown toward discovering what is possible for a breakthrough to occur.
Breakthroughs are cleverly disguised as breakdowns, so in other words, opportunities in waiting. Here’s a metaphor of the use for a breakdown leading to a breakthrough. One would not pluck a leaf from a tree and say; “wow, this leaf is imperfect, it’s all wrong and it should be a different way”.
In essence, this leaf is exactly the way we see it, a leaf with all its attributes patterns, color, etc. In this metaphor the leaf is as it is, in comparing this leaf metaphor with our power tool Breakdown vs. Breakthrough, we can view any breakdown as perfect as this leaf. It’s up to our own attributes within us that has us see from the perspective that is bright with opportunity that will lead us into our breakthrough.
Breakdown – when you are in breakdown you have clearly seen the result of something not working in your life. Based on your beliefs around failure, you may get stopped, thwarted and even loose power and completely quit or give up on a situation.
Breakdowns are powerfully challenging, they have a tendency to cause emotions that are stronger than the desire to succeed.
Before the breakdown, you we’re on the path to accomplishment, you had plan or structure in place, and then on your path, what you had planned, didn’t work out.
So without adding emotions and feelings to what all this means, think to the very moment that when this “something went wrong” and the breakdown happened, recall those specific words and/ or phrase you said that could have caused the breakdown.
Consider the exact words you use, are an insiders perspective into how your world occurs to YOU, with that, you can begin to see how you occur to OTHERS in the ways though which you communicate.
Breakthrough – Breaking down the breakdown, finding specific words that cause the communication structure to come tumbling down, offers the brilliant opportunity to identify, reevaluate and restructure the way to get back on your intended path or plan.
Once you have accepted and engaged in the breakdown, the only way to proceed it “thought it”… when you are responsible and take ownership that you are at the cause of the breakdown, it’s in the instance that the breakdown is occurring that enables mindful moment to apply the possibilities you discover though the breakdowns. It’s important to note, this may be uncomfortable, going thought it can often challenge our self-worth.
As a coach, our role is to be the mirror that reflects the accuracy of how our clients occur to us and within the context of what our client has expressed they want to achieve – where they are now to where they want to be. In our powerful listening this includes reflecting back the exact words and phrases that our client uses, and sometimes we can skillful include the things our clients are saying without saying, hearing those messages that operate in the background can sometimes cause a misalignment with our clients intended goals and accomplishments.
When we get into the world that gets created with our clients words, we can clearly identify the precise moment in the communication that causes breakdowns. In this same respect, you can also hear the potential of future breakdowns by how our client is communicating what they want to accomplish (right in those moments) they are creating the results they so desire.
Through our powerful listening, we can hear the subtleties of our clients’ commitments and what is most important to them. With these important commitments as our focus with our clients, combined with mirroring back and re-creating what our client are actually saying in a powerful way, our client gets how exactly they are being heard/ listened to… this level of listening and mirroring, when being spoken back to our client creates a new point of view which gives space for an opportunity to emerge, It’s in this very moment that reveals, with near instantaneous results a reframing of our clients previous perspective into a new one. In any case, when we see or hear things that have been hidden behind our view we can always discover something new.
The breakdown(s) our clients have will easily cause a breakthrough when they hear (in the moment of their speaking) and identify the precise words they used that created the breakdown.
Ownership and responsibility play an important role for our clients to take their life on like a leader, as a leader, they then have access to being responsible for their own communication and the communication of others, we actually experience how powerful it is when words are spoken clearly with focus and intent. So to avoid breakdowns, is to resist growth and the expansion of who you are in a world full of anything is possible!
Be with the clients’ breakdown; consider that breakdowns are a reflection that the way we are currently operating is no longer effective.
- What key element in this power tool that you fully and easily comprehend?
- How do you know you are conscious and aware that a breakdown/ breakthrough is occurring
- How do you know when you are in a breakdown? – What feelings and emotions do you
associate with a breakdown? – How would you define a breakdown?
- How do you know when you are in a breakthrough? – What feelings and emotions do you
associate with a breakthrough? – How would you define a breakthrough?
- How do you currently operate when you are in breakdown?
- What are some structures in which you recognize your power in creating a breakthrough?
- What breakthroughs have you recently had that it was clearly a breakthrough?