A Coaching Power Tool created by Khanh Nhu Nguyen
(Life Coaching, Vietnam)
There is a story about the elephants are kept in the zoo. They never run away or try to break the big chains locking them. The reason is not because those chains are too heavy to break. Surprisingly, when the elephants were younger, people tied them by the chains. And no matter how they tried, they would never succeed. Since then, they have learnt one lesson that it is useless trying to run away for this is out of their control though now they have become much bigger and stronger than before. It is them to lock themselves rather than the chains.
As humans, we have also grown up by collecting experiences for our life. Think about the moment when you were a small child. If you were told not to play with fire, what would you do? Naughty as always, you may have touched the fire and got burnt. That is the time you learnt a valuable experience for yourself: “Never touch the fire”. And this is how you grow up: getting experiences. Among them, there are some good ones for they help you avoid to get hurt, burnt or failure. Meanwhile, there are negative experiences that hold yourself in a stuck zone though you have become different from the moment you got into trouble. Whenever you face any problem, unconsciously you think of your experiences and respond based on them. Therefore, there are possibilities that you refuse to do something because something in the past, not the thing in the present itself. The world you see is not the real world but the world in your experiences. The state in which you feel hesitant to take a challenge that is similar to an experience is called insecurity.
Insecurity appears very often in our life since we have enough experiences to respond the challenge. Think of the two situations: first, a person refuses to do something because he is well aware of his abilities; and second, a person refuses because he used to do a similar thing in the past unsuccessfully and he has not tried doing again. Can you see the differences between them? For those who understand themselves well and know where their realm of possibilities is, they are called “confident”. On the other hand, the other group includes people who are uncertain of their choice. They refuse but they don’t know if it is a good choice or not. They are in a divided mind. They choose the safe zone, yet they yearn for achieving the chance. Being in an uncertain state shows that they are “insecure”.
It is not necessary for everyone to take the challenge when offered. However, the way we react to the situation really influences our mood and mind state. If we are confident of what we choose, so we feel pleasant and released. We then focus on what we should do next in the future. Meanwhile, if we are insecure, we don’t know if it’s right to do or to refuse it. Therefore, we may spend much time thinking about it and trying to guess how it will comes up. This keeps us in a doubt box. If in the future we will be offered to do the same thing, no doubt, we will react the same way. Staying in a doubt box takes our energy and time. We cannot let go the thought of that challenge. In other words, we kill our soul by pushing ourselves in a deadlock.
Like the adult elephants in the zoo, we stick the image of us when being younger and react in the way that suits the situation years ago. The insecurity holds you back and prevents you from achieving something new in your life. For example, you had a terrible speech when you were fifteen. You did not prepare well enough so when you started, everyone burst into laugh. That time you learnt one lesson: “If I speak, everyone will humiliate me”. Many years go by; you never speak in front of a crowd again because whenever you are asked to do so, your experience reminds you the failure scenario.
Imagine if your manager is considering giving you a promotion for your effortless contribution to the company and the only point he concerns about is your public speaking skill. Would it be a pity when you cannot get promotion only because of an old experience? Do you love to be promoted? If the answer is yes, then how can you get rid of the feeling of insecurity and take the further step? If the answer is no, then is it a pleasance or a regret to you?
See the problem itself
It is quite common that when we face something, we do not see the problem itself but our own world outlook. There we keep advice from others, similar stories that we have had in life or collected from others. Then what we decide is not based on the current case but what we have gone through. This is not fair. Think about the above example of the public speaking. If you are invited to speak, what makes you concern? The audience has changed. The topic has changed. In fact, you have also changed. Then why don’t you focus on the current topic and make a new experience. The future is yet to see. However, no one can tell what you can get if you do not make a move today. Measure the problem with some Decision making tools such as comparing pros and cons instead of a prompt refusal. Then make a decision. That is how you treat the problem fair. Even if it is still a refusal, make sure it is not because a previous incident but the current difficulty.