A Coaching Power Tool Created by Lala Abdurahmanova
(Transformational Coach, AZERBAIJAN)
If you can accept the indescribable nature of your true identity, you unveil the mystery of life. (c) Akemi G
From our childhood we have been growing in the atmosphere of some traditions, communicating with the society and getting to use to creating the “wrong and right” world for ourselves. Sometime some of us know from the childhood that we will be doctors or advocates just because we are ought to continue the traditional profession in our family. We know that “good girls and boys” should play piano well, know the geography and get good credits for mathematic. “Bad children” do not think about the “right” future and only dream of becoming actors or dancers.
Some of us can easily remember the teenager period of our life when we were playing guitar or creating funny things from the wood and could spend hours and hours without feeling any tiredness. We were motivated and energized to do what we wanted to do. Often we were interrupted by parents telling us to go and to do something “serious”, and we were told by our teachers to spend more time reading the “smart” books rather than wasting time.
We watch celebrities and famous businessmen on TV that have some influence in our understanding of success. We want to be lawyers, financial analysts and IT managers because it’s prestigious, financially secured and well-acknowledged by our friends and families. We believe that success is only about money, big houses and expensive cars. We want so much to be recognized and respected by people around us that we start living in the frame of others’ values, believes and understanding of life.
We go to the universities, get our diplomas, start to work, go through some carrier stages and finally reach a position of a manager or an expert. Let’s imagine what we have now! We have everything we planned: secured work, monthly salary, car and house, the subordinates, nice suits and shoes. The most important thing we dreamed of, is that we are well-recognized by others. But…let’s stop for a moment!
We feel tiredness every single day. Recently bought car we dreamed about doesn’t give the satisfaction. We are irritated at home. We drink too much coffee. We simply do not feel happiness and fulfillment inside of us. And suddenly we become very sad looking at our own photo at the age of 15.
What is wrong? We have everything except for peace and harmony in our souls and hearts! We understand that we do not live the life of 15 years old teenager with a guitar!
We live UNREAL life! This life has nothing to do with our dreams, our feelings and our nature. It’s imagined and created by others and it looks like we just play a computer game developed by others, and the only difference is that we are the heroes of that game. We have programmed buildings, jobs, dialogues around us. In this unreal life we have a planned path, and no alternation is possible!
First signs to recognize the UNREAL life
Below is the list of statements helping to analyze yourself. You can read each statement and answer “TRUE” or “FALSE”. Try not to think too much on each statement, the first impression and quick response will help to understand your first reaction. Be honest with yourself!
- I enjoy what I do in life
- I feel energized most of the time
- I want to do my current job for a long time
- I plan my own goals and targets
- I feel satisfied when I accomplish something
- I constantly develop myself in the different areas of my life
- I listen to my intuition and trust my gut feeling
- I have a dream and I take actions, so it will come true and I act that my dreams come true
- I don’t compare myself and my life with others
- I feel that I have my own unique life path
If some of your answers got “False”, it is a good time for a reflection.
When you have a problem with your health, you go to doctor and honestly describe your pain since you do not have any intention to hide the symptoms and look better than you really feel. When you go to dentist, you show your unhealthy tooth since you want to have it cured and feel good. When you have a problem with your electricity at home, you take it as a call for action and address it to specialist for repair.
You know that if you don’t take care of the problem today, you will suffer tomorrow and you take it as urgent and important things in your life. Today’s pain in your body can turn into a chronic disease, an unhealthy tooth can cause some other complications, and the damaged wire can cause a fire.
What happens if we feel unhappy and dissatisfied? Usually, we don’t consider it as a main problem. We hide it by shopping, consuming lots of coffee and thinking like “One day everything will be ok”. But as time is passing away, that magic day never comes. The more we ignore the tense in our body and the chaos in our mind, the worse we feel.
Just ask yourself one simple question: what do I really want? It’s not about my parents, friends and colleagues; it’s about MY dreams, MY wishes and MY goals.
REAL LIFE- is our life where we have a freedom to choose! We have our dreams and we realize them. We have our own values and we establish rules for ourselves. We set the goals and celebrate our achievements. We construct our own buildings and bridges. We enjoy every single moment of our life.
When you live in YOUR REAL life, you are:
- Feeling light
- Feeling happy
- Listening to your heart
- Looking inside
- Seeking for the internal satisfaction
UNREAL LIFE- we constantly compare ourselves with others. We are influenced by others’ opinion and judgments. We do what we “have to” do according to the rules and values set by others. We forget our dreams and we don’t believe that we have a power and freedom to change something in our life. “Unreal computer game” is programmed by others and all rules and preconditions are set by programmers. We only run, jump and take a number of actions with no ability to change the path.
When you live UNREAL life, you are:
- Not happy
- Looking at others
- Looking for others’ approval and recognition
I would like to start with my own story to illustrate the essence of real life. I worked in a corporate environment for many years and had everything which is recognized in the society as the achieved success. I had a good and well-paid position with medical insurance in a well-known company. I ignored the first signs of my “unreal” life explaining it as being tired, having a lot of work and bringing many other reasons. However, even the long week-ends or vacations could not make me feel better at work. One day, in the early morning I simply didn’t want to go to work which made me confused but it was a good start for reflection.
What was good about my work? According to the so-called objective parameters, everything was good, so there was nothing to complain about!
What made me feel uncomfortable? I felt that I wasn’t engaged anymore, I suddenly realized that I didn’t believe in what I was doing at my work. Moreover, I realized that I didn’t share the company’s values and simple I didn’t see myself in the same environment for a long perspective.
What were my motivators to work there? Unfortunately I got only one and it was the financial security.
What was my dream? What would I do if I did not need money? The answer was ready. My dream was to be a self-employed trainer and a coach.
It took me a YEAR to reflect, overcome my fears and made a final decision. And here I am, self-employed trainer, consultant and coach!
Few questions to ask yourself:
- What is good about my life?
- What would I change in my life?
- What are my dreams?
- How does my daily life connect with my dreams?
- How do I feel now?
- How do I want to feel?
Reflect on your answers and on your feelings. Which questions were difficult to answer? Which questions caused a discomfort for you? Which questions energized you?
Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it. Gautama Buddha
As coaches we know that people are happy when they are in line with their dreams, their real desires and nature. Helping clients to be happy and satisfied in the life we can assist them to look at their:
Current situation: It can be difficult for a client to speak out the current feeling and thoughts. It’s important for the coach to create a trust and wide space for a client to speak about what s/he feels in this particular moment. The client reflects on his daily mood and feelings. S/he describes what each day brings him and what he is grateful for. This is a great technique to listen to your body and mind and see the different little signals.
Behind the scene: The client discovers his/her motto in the life, and recalls the happiest moments when s/he has felt the fulfillment. S/he reflects on reasons behind the important decisions s/he has made in the life. The client understands what is really important to him/her, and what his/her values and motivators are.
Horizons: The client visualizes what s/he sees as a desired future. The client dreams of every single aspect of his/her life: how s/he feels, what s/he sees and what s/he does. This technique helps to dive into the real imagination without any restriction or rules.
Working with limited believes:
Some people dreams but leave their dreams as something unrealistic and continue living their lives they are not fully happy with. They do not want to change the usual way they are used to living. They care much about the reaction of family, friends and society and the fact of breaking their rules, and it stops them even to consider any change in the life. The role of the coach in this situation is to help the client to open his/her mind, and find other perspectives. The couch helps the client to believe in him/herself. The technique is focusing on personal strength, acknowledgement and understanding of own wishes.
Action: We need to do something to get to the desired outcome. It is important to work with the client in a way that even a small baby step towards the goal is recognized as the progress. The coach’s work is to motivate and help to create a structure and celebrate each and every success.
Mary is a 40 years old English teacher. She has an extensive experience in teaching and positive feedbacks from her students. For the last couple of years she feels not very good, getting cold frequently, and being tired and lack of energy. She doesn’t want to go out with her friends, preferring to stay at home doing nothing. Mary feels more and more dissatisfaction and frustration in her life.
Her friends do not take her mood seriously. According to them, she has everything, any person would dream about- flexible working hours, good earning and so on. Bringing unemployed and jobless people around as example, they recommend that she should relax more and stay positive. The moment she mentions that she wants to have another profession, cause an ultimate rejection and misunderstanding from her friends’ side. They believe that she is 40, and it’s late to start a new profession, study at the university and change all her life.
She calms down herself for couple of months but the constant passiveness and lack of any motivation pushes her to apply for a coach’s help.
Mary feels bad both physically and mentally. She understands that she has lots of things other people don’t but it doesn’t make her feel better. She notices tense in her body and total chaos in her mind.
She can hardly remember the time she made her own decision. She was always influenced by somebody around and tried to “play” the others’ game. But the limited number of decisions she made at her own in the past, are still valid for her today!
Mary reminds that she was always interested in design, she even helped her friend for free just because she was enjoying this type of work. Ideally she imagines herself being a designer in the United States having her own little firm.
Mary saw this dream as something unrealistic and unachievable. She worries about the fact of her age for the new education, the adaptation in new country, opinion of friends and lots of other fears and barriers. Working with her coach, step by step she shifts her mind and starts to make small steps towards her dream. She started to search for universities in US, prepare an essay, and look for some people having the same experience. Even in those moments Mary wasn’t totally sure that it is real.
But in general Mary felt much more motivated and energized. She was still influenced by the reaction of environment, but her own response to that was different.
The happy end of the story is that Mary has successfully entered one of the universities in the USA where she has eventually moved. She looks much younger on her pictures, she feels satisfied and believes in her today and tomorrow.
What would happen if Mary continues to live her unreal life? What if she would listen to the restrictions set by the environment? What if she continues feeling bad? What if Mary doesn’t move forward to her dream?
- What does motivate you in the life?
- When do you feel the lightness and satisfaction?
- If you remember your latest important decisions in your life, what were the reasons to make this decision?
- What would you do, if you have no restrictions in any resources?
- How does it look when you make an important decision?
- How does it look when somebody makes a decision for you?
- How do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time in your ideal world?
- What can you do to make step towards your dream?
Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer. Steve Maraboli