A Coaching Power Tool Created by Sandhya Reddy
(Leadership and Transformation Coach, INDIA)
Lost in the woods
Imagine a situation when you are lost in a forest, it is dark, you are not sure which way is safe, which one will take you home, which way could lead you to a ravine, where the predators are, which could be dangerous and which ones are safe paths. You have very little information and no help, however you have to think with what you can see and make a decision as to which way you will take.
Also, staying in the jungle is not an option as you would be end up dead sooner or later. You have to make a move, and hence you have to decide which way soon.
Parallels in real life
Many times in our lives, we face situations where it feels like we are lost in the woods. There are events and circumstances at home, at work, in the club, community, at kids school etc that we have to deal with. At those times, many of us are confused. In a confused state, quite like how a person would face imminent death due to non-decision in a jungle, not taking a decision in our daily lives will also lead to further break down of peace of mind and quality of life.
What is it to be in Confusion?
Confusion means the state of being confused. Disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos; lack of clarity or distinction; perplexity; bewilderment.
How do you feel when you are lost in the woods?
When we are lost in the woods and are feeling confused, what would one feel.
- Overwhelmed with the number of things that are happening
- Inability to deal with the aspects in life that are out of gear
- Feeling of lack of control
- Low self esteem
- Negative self-talk
- Minimal effort
Why does this happen?
Why do people wait till they get to this stage in life where everything seems to have gone out of hands, and out of control. Surely, all the problems did not start at the same time.
People these days are extremely busy going about the daily routine, working 18 hours a day mindlessly without giving a 2nd thought on what really is going on. People have regular assessments and appraisals at the work place, but there is no similar system for assessment of personal priorities.
Imagine a bike that has 100 spokes in its wheel. It may be essential for least 75 spokes to be in order for the bike to move ahead comfortably. When one of two spokes are damaged, it is good to assess the situation and make corrective measures. If we wait till the 25th spoke is damaged, and then it is too late, as beyond that the bike cannot move.
Similarly in our lives, when one aspect of life needs attention, it is a good idea to take corrective action. We do not do regular assessment to understand what’s going on. We wait till we reach a ‘stuck situation’ in multiple aspects of life, and we get to a stage where we cannot proceed further. We are so deep into trouble in so many aspects that it becomes difficult to think clearly. This is the stage of confusion.
What is it to be in a state of clarity?
Being in clarity, clearness or lucidity is about the perception or understanding, freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity. It is the state of quality of being clear or transparent to the eye.
We are clear in our minds, when we are cognizant of what’s happening.
When we are overwhelmed, it is good to take the time out, make an assessment and list out what’s going on in each aspect of our life. This assessment will give clarity on what’s going on, what the problems are, major problems, minor problems, which problems are linked to which other problems etc.
If the main problem is identified, and if solved, it could lead to the closure of several other problems.
How do you feel when we have clarity?
There is a sense of being in control and willingness to take action.
The natural by-product of this state of mind is:
- Problem solving initiative
- Action orientation
One can ask themselves the following questions
- It what areas of your life are you feeling that things have gone out of control?
- In each of these areas, what is the main problem?
- Of all the problems, which is the biggest problem?
- Which is the big problem, if solved, some other issues can get resolved?
- Am I clear about what my problems are and what needs to be addressed first?
When you are clear about the situation and what problems need to be solved, one can ask themselves the following additional questions.
- What would happen if I continue to be in confusion?
- Am I ok with the consequences?
- What are the benefits of my taking action?
- What is the main problem to be solved?
- Am I clear now what issues I must address?
As individuals become very competitive and ambitious, there is an increase in conflict between achieving success at work and at home, resulting in an increase in work-family conflict.
In a quick survey that I conducted among 100 of my working friends, it was not a surprise that over 95% ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that a good work life balance is a must to be more productive in life. All 95% of the respondents agree that there is a merging of personal and professional work, and maintaining work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges faced today.
With so much happening at work and at home, clients continue to go about their lives without taking time to assess what’s going well and what needs attention. They just continue to work non-stop compromising on their personal life, relationships, family commitments, health etc and continue until one day when all hell has broken loose, everything has gone out of control and declare ‘what a mess’ my life has become.
As coaches, how can we help clients who are reporting these issues of confusion due to overwhelming number of priorities and choices. We can help them see for themselves, what the possibilities are and help them choose the right option.
We can help them see where they are giving their power away by asking the following:
- Tell me what is the problem / problems that you are facing?
- What are your options? What can you do?
- What is the right thing for you to do?
- What would be the impact of the action that you are taking?
- On taking this action, how will you feel? What will you have accomplished?
- What can you do to ensure that you are on track with this aspect of life?
If our clients are constructively motivated, they have ownership and accountability for their actions and results. They are self-motivated and have energy and internal drive. They look for solutions and not excuses.
- What are aspects in life that you feel are going well?
- What aspects in life do you feel are not going well and need attention?
- What actions can you take on issues that need attention?
- How is that perspective holding you back for taking action on issues that need attention?
- What obstacles do you anticipate?
- What would it be like if you felt complete and content in each aspect of your life – work, family, health, spirituality, society etc?