A Coaching Power Tool By Amy Philippen, Transformational Coach, GERMANY
Shift Our Perspective and Remain Open to Overachieving vs. Allowing
Many of us have been programmed to be in a state of mind of striving with non-stop repetitive thoughts on how you should get going, you should have finished something already. It is the stress in your body when you are not doing what you think you should be doing. It permeates every level of our lives and leaves us with a sense of restlessness that can lead to an overall imbalance in our perception of who we are and how we should lead our lives. Through the art of allowing, appreciating what we have in this current moment, and accepting that every ebb and flow in our lives has something to teach us, we can dramatically shift our perspective and remain open to what life has to offer instead of needing to control everything.
Overachieving vs. Allowing Explanation
Striving in and of itself is not a bad thing but in modern society, it can be easily tipped to the highest degree so that the imbalance can quickly turn into overachieving.
Definition of overachieving according to the Cambridge dictionary:
“To do more than is expected or be more successful than others”
Qualities of an overachieving way of being:
- Believing that once you achieve x you will find happiness
- Living focused on the future of what you want to achieve
- Living and achieving according to others concept of success or what they consider the right thing to aim for
- Believing that if you try hard enough you will achieve anything no matter the costs
- Seeing quitting and giving up as a weakness
- Seeing yourself as a measure of what you do and not who you are
- Fixation on productivity and achievement
- Associating social approval, love, admiration, inclusion, and intimacy as being dependant on one’s success
- Feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy when things don’t turn out as planned
- Investing a lot of time in considering what the right choices are and have fear of making the wrong choice
Overachieving vs. Allowing Where Does It Come From?
This can usually come from a belief that you are not enough, therefore having to prove through your achievements your worth. In addition, the standards that you set for yourself are not your own but are based on societal and family conditioning, causing a disconnection. There is a sense with this extreme type of striving that nothing accomplished is ever enough and there is a sense of deficiency attached to it. Self-validation, self-acceptance, and self-achievement are all conditional on continual performance. There can be a continual feeling of restlessness and here the mind can be a strong ally in reinforcing stories and beliefs that if we can just achieve x we will be happy. There can also be times when we are pushing and pushing for something to happen when it just simply doesn’t want to take place or it is not the right time.
Overachieving is also tied to having control over the things around you to maximize the opportunity of realizing that thing you are striving towards. There comes a sense of powerlessness if we relinquish control and let things unfold as they should.
Questions we can ask clients:
- How is this way of being serving you?
- What values might you hold that support this striving mentality? How are they serving you?
- How is the feeling you need to have control over everything serving you?
- What belief is playing a role here? How does it support you or hinder you?
- What would happen if you took away your need to control everything? How would your sense of achievement be affected?
- How are you measuring your worth?
- What standards are you living your life by? Where do these standards come from?
- What does success mean to you?
- What does this restless feeling bring you?
Definition of allowing according to the Cambridge dictionary:
“To give permission for someone to do something, or to not prevent something from happening”
Qualities of an allowing way of being:
- Accepting that failure is part of life
- Recognize that in times of confusion or unease, allowing can bring clarity to a situation
- Accepting things as they are
- Allowing fosters trust in yourself
- Living in the here and now, experiencing life if in its entirety
The process of allowing is to shift to a focus on the here and now, being present to what is currently unfolding rather than over striving towards something in the future. To have (or develop) a sense of trust that things are unfolding as they are for a reason and if you didn’t achieve x is because now might not be the time or some other things need to take place first. Allowing that trust builds self-confidence and that becomes the inner compass that leads the way more sustainably and with less “efforting”. Focusing on the here and now provides you with the space you need to assess what is truly important for you rather than always living in the future of what you want to achieve and thinking that happiness will always be tied to that.
To practice allowing is to accept that change is constant and that we cannot control everything around us, there is an element of surrendering to what life brings. Allowing can also be referred to as letting go, it is a letting go of resistant thinking that can show up in times of uncertainty and confusion. When we slow down, relax, and observe what is happening in our lives we can also sense how things make us feel becoming more attune to ourselves. In addition, if we relinquish control of things and let go of the fear there is a bigger sense of freedom which opens us up to new opportunities.
Questions we can ask our clients:
- If the x,y thing wasn’t achieved, what would be the worst thing that could happen?
- What might be another perspective to deal with failure?
- What have you learned from your failure?
- What could living more present at the moment give you?
- What belief is not allowing you to just be as you are?
- What is standing in the way of you accepting x,y just as it is?
- What do you need to let go of?
- What would letting go of this situation look like?
- What is the resistance trying to tell you?
- What would surrendering to this situation look like?
- What brings you joy and happiness in your day-to-day life?
Tools to shift towards an allowing perspective:
- Meditation supports the practice of being more in the here and now
- Gratitude journaling supports the practice of being more in the here and now and connects us to what matters to us, promoting satisfaction and joy in the present moment
As coaches, we can get very hung up on trying to solve and sort our clients’ issues. We want them to be happy with our services, ecstatic at times and we consider a measure of success our client’s satisfaction or how much we helped them to find a good solution/resolution. In this way, we might try to engineer the way that sessions are going or focus on delivering big awareness moments. Instead, we need to be cognizant that our role is more to accompany our clients in their journeys and provide the space and presence that allows what needs to unfold without any agenda or pressure put on our “performance”. This process of allowing is what ensures that our clients remain in the driving seat rather than become the passengers because of us bringing our perspectives or opinions of how things should be or unfold.
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