A Coaching Power Tool Created by Nasos Fotopoulos
(Life Coach, GREECE)
What exactly is the willpower? Somebody can say that it is an abstract force, something innate that some people are born with it.
The truth is that willpower is a true source of strength that we can strengthen and maintain. The persons that learn how they can develop it, they gain a very important knowledge: how to do and become anything they want in their life!
The importance of the will and the power
It is a fact that a high cross-correlation exists between the will and how far can somebody move in their life. All the success, the happiness and the satisfaction depend on the minimisation of negative sentiments or obstacles and on the maximization of positive decisions and habits. The energy that leads our faculty to produce both of these results is the willpower. It is no an exaggeration then, that the willpower is described as the absolute quality or as the cornerstone for the determination of results in our life. Let’s return however in the initial question, what precisely is the willpower? Essentially it is the mental energy that allows us to direct our energies.
The willpower intervenes:
- In our thoughts. It helps us to focus on whatever we want to think, by keeping the unwanted and disturbing thoughts out of the frame.
- In our feelings. We may not be able to convince ourself not to feel joy or sorrow, but we can decide what action we can take in order to change how we feel.
- In our impulses. Our impulses can be desires such as “I want to go to the party instead of studying”, “I want to go for a walk instead of school” or “This guy is so irritating that I want to hit him”. Even though there are ways to minimize the stimuli we receive from our environment, we don’t have direct control in whether they will invade in our brain or not. The willpower helps us to regulate our reactions in any compulsion. Are we going to ignore them or succumb to them?
- In the control of our performances. This has to do with how well we can concentrate and focus on work or objective. It has to do with how much we will insist on doing something before we abandon it. It has to do with how hard we will try, how well we will manage our time, etc. Every time we wish to do something that is contrary to our long-term objectives and our main values, the will power is what keeps us in the correct path. As more powerful the willpower is, so more likely becomes that we will take a decision harmonized with our objectives. It is this power that allows us to choose our course and to insist on this despite the obstacles, resistances or our weaknesses.
How we can reinforce the willpower:
- We clarify what is that we want. With the internal dialogue, we can be led deeply and be connected with what exists within us and what we need to achieve
- We believe in our abilities, in our strengths which we reinforce, support and fuel
- We resolve the problems instead of quitting. We do not choose the easy solution, we commit to ourselves, we make habit the solution and not the problem
- We undertake our responsibilities. Our thoughts keep pace with what we say and what we do
- We are getting out of our comfort zone, even though sometimes it is painful or uncomfortable. We make it a habit
What is it usually that prevents people from moving forward, from achieving their objectives and from conquering their dreams?
Mainly it is the fear and in particular, not the real one, but the fictitious, the psychological fear.
Fear, according to Wikipedia, is a basic human emotion that is caused by the awareness of real or fictitious danger or threat. It is a protective mechanism, a physiologic defensive reaction of the organism without conscious thought to be required.
The psychological fear is some kind of disturbance that emanates from the idea that it is going to happen something bad, some destruction. When we are afraid we are aware of the fear we feel. In this situation of experiencing fear, the only thing we can express is our desire to be exempted from this situation. What can move us, the moment of fear, even slightly from the fear in the willpower? What can help us shift our perception is the awareness of our inner strength and our will to exceed the fear.
We have the false belief that willpower means difficulties, weariness and deprivation of the pleasant things of life. Willpower means ease, the directness of results and generally internal wellbeing, perhaps even happiness. Willpower is to come in agreement with the deeper objectives of our existence. How could this put us in internal conflict? The conflict is caused when a part of our self has not been coordinated with the deeper layers of our being. When we co-ordinate it, our internal world moves as a whole, integral body. This creates a sense of plenitude and happiness, without particular reasons. In order to achieve our goals probably we will abandon a lot of things, but this abandonment won’t be unpleasant because all these will not interest us anymore. We are interested only in our goals. We abandon the rest at once and we experience it as a release, no as deprivation.
The willpower comes from deep within, that’s why it doesn’t coordinate very well with our superficial wishes, which in many cases are not even ours. If these wishes manage to take advantage of our willpower so as to be accomplished, then a false, distorted self is formed that leads to unhappiness.
If we have the maturity and the strength to ask ourselves, even when we are in a situation of fear, what is it that we really want out of our life, and we manage to listen and mainly to accept the answer, we will realize that a huge quantity of energy is channelled in us. Significances as effort, fight, deprivations, acquire a totally different content. We should follow ourself, not the others. We should be our humble, genuine self. We should discover which our real place in life is. When we find our place (and we cannot find it with our mind but with our heart), then our willpower is released, it strengthens with geometric progress, without even the need for exercises and special techniques.
Arthur Schopenhauer: Man can do what he wants but he cannot decide what he wants….
What needs in order to release our willpower is a sincere discussion with ourself. Do I really want to do, what I claim I want to do? Do I want all the consequences? Or maybe I try to enter from the back door, to reap the fruits of certain results without actually change myself? So, before we conclude that our willpower is not developed enough, we should express it, clarifying first our real intentions. Then we will realize that impressive changes are happening within us. The strength of our willpower emerges without pressure, without fights, without internal conflicts and absurd deprivations. If we honestly want something, we insist for it, we are honest with ourself, we do not succumb in difficulties or pain and we believe in it, without hoping for alternative solutions, then we will realize that we will make it true no matter how difficult it appears to be. The fear is withdrawn and the willpower and the power of change prevail. When we have the willpower as our weapon, then we can do without hesitation what we fear!
Ralph Waldo Emerson — ‘Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.’
When we clarify with ourself what we really want we have exceeded the first obstacle. There are no internal conflicts any more. We know what we want and we believe that we will achieve it. Thus we pass in the second phase that is the confrontation of objective difficulties. In this phase, it is possible effort and labour to be needed, no however fight with our hesitations, doubts and fears. All these have disappeared and belong already in the past. Now there is only the present time, the action is here and now! In this stage, we realize that our willpower is a real and very powerful force.
When our client tries to achieve something without success, the first thing we should ask them is if they really want it. We can support them to explore if their objectives are truly theirs and they don’t deceit their self.
When we do not know who we really are, our willpower is disempowered and not able to act. So, in case we want to help our client, to face his anger, for example, we must check with them in the beginning how this emotion is serving them (it may protect them, it may frighten other people). By discovering, our client, the usefulness of their anger, can organize and manage the situation effectively. We can help them in realizing that a conscious conviction of theirs (the anger has negative results) is inactivated from a subconscious belief of theirs (the anger is useful in certain situations) and this conflict leads in their self-sabotage.
As coaches, we can support our client, with the suitable questions, in the exploration and discovery of such internal conflicts and help them to gain clarity regarding their strengths, which are strengthening their willpower against each negative sentiment and of course, the fear. We can stand by them so as to discover what they truly want and to achieve a shift in their perception from what prevents them and inactivate them to what strengthen their willpower so as to accomplish whatever it is they want!
As coaches, by being totally present, by active listening, by observation, by paraphrasing, by mirroring back to the client and making powerful questions, we can support our client to obtain clarity regarding their wishes, their desires and their goals that really own. For example, our client wants to study coaching because there is something there that resonates with it, or they wish money and glory in order to satisfy the pressing requirements of their parents and society’s they live in? We can help them realize that when their motives are not sincere and clear, difficulties are multiplied, the willpower is proved to be inefficient and the fear prevails. To this effect, in cases that our client follows the prompting of their internal knowledge and intuition and they coordinate with the deeper core of their existence, they do what they really want and the energy of their willpower is so huge that hurdles all the obstacles with ease and a sense of pleasure and fulfilment emerge in their life.
- Which are the 3 bigger fears you have?
- What could you do to face them?
- What “tools” could help you to defeat your fears?
- What could support you in your decision to shift or change your perception against fear?
- What blocks our willpower even in cases we believe that we really want something?
- What takes for our willpower to work?
- What questions could you make to your client in order to support them in shifting their perception from one of fear to one of willpower?