A Coaching Power Tool Created by Saskia Bergmann
(Career Transformation Coach, NETHERLANDS)
For many years I had to fight with feelings of not being good enough, not being worthy, and making myself small. I put other people’s opinions always higher than my own and saw everyone more worthy. I kept myself small with that belief and these feelings. I got very quickly insecure when someone had another opinion myself. I didn’t believe strongly enough in myself.
But today I am realizing that I did that only to myself. No one else put me in that corner of not being worthy. I was all the time worthy and good enough I just didn’t allow myself to feel that. That was a very big step for me realizing that I did that only to myself. I had at any moment the power in my hand to feel differently and show up differently. But I first needed to realize that. I think that is so powerful when we start realizing that we showed up by choice in a certain way over a long time, which became a habit so that we didn’t notice anymore. I decided that I don’t want to feel that way anymore and don’t want to give anyone the power over me to make me feel unworthy.
The thoughts and actions which followed then were really empowering. I felt that I got my power back and owned my life again. I was not a small girl, hiding in the corner anymore. I felt tall, confident, and wanted to be seen and heard. I started to love standing up for my opinion and my position. I took ownership of my life back and that was a very empowering shift from feeling worthless to feeling powerful. From this moment on everything changed. Everything started to happen in my favor, and I became happier than ever before.
The perspective of feeling worthless:
When we are getting thoughts of feeling worthless, unimportant, and very small then we shrink internally. These thoughts create feelings. And we can notice immediately that they make us feel bad. Our bodies let us notice that we hurt them with these feelings. What we are exactly feeling differs from person to person, but everyone can notice it through their feelings. Some people feel really bad, getting emotional, feeling physical pain in their body, or wanting to hide. These thoughts are very disempowering.
In these moments we don’t see our worth anymore. We give literally our power away. We often don’t see that we are the ones who are keeping ourselves trapped in that role. We are so much in the situation, the details, and the story we are telling ourselves that we lost the observant perspective. The biggest problem is that we can’t see clearly anymore and everything around us gives us that feeling of worthless. That makes us stuck and we can’t see a way out of it.
The way out if it is breaking the cycle.
Negative effects of feeling worthless:
- Feeling powerless
- No ownership of our life
- Being reactive, not proactive
- Giving the power away (mostly to other people)
- Letting yourself sink deeper and deeper
- Getting stuck
- Start acting like you are worthless
- Standing still
The perspective of feeling powerful:
When we are feeling powerful, we feel in charge of our life. We take ownership of our life and we are proud of it. That is a very empowering perspective.
We walk through life with knowing that only we have the power over ourselves in our own hands and no one else can ever take that away from us. We are feeling worthy of just being here and strongly believe in ourselves.
If situations are showing up, we choose to take the bird’s perspective, observe and see the best possible outcome of it. We are not allowing other people to make us feel bad for whatever reason. We are in charge of our feelings and no one else. We know our worth and from that point we take action. Every difficulty we see a chance to grow and evolve. We move through and get stronger.
We are sitting in the driver seat of our life and don’t let anybody else take over the control. We are focused on what we want to achieve and grow towards our goals. We embrace challenges and follow our own path. We believe in ourselves and our ability to make the right choices.
Benefits of feeling powerful:
- Taking ownership
- Having lots of energy
- Focus on the goal
- Feeling happy
- Feeling strong and invincible
- Forward movement
Amy went through a difficult time. She had been sick for more than half a year and couldn’t go to work during that time. After her recovery, she went back into her old job. But nothing was the same anymore, many people left, and her old position had been replaced. The company gave her another temporary job. She was fighting hard to do a good job and giving her best at all times. But something didn’t feel right anymore to hear. She began to doubt if that is still what she wanted to do.
Her feeling was telling her that she doesn’t want to work in that company anymore and want to have a new start. She was quite sure that this is not the right thing for her anymore. But then she had a lot of doubts coming in. She remembered the feelings she had with that company in the beginning and felt very attached to it.
She decided to go on and not choose uncertainty and something new.
One day she came to work and the HR manager asked her for a meeting. She went into that meeting on the very same day. In that meeting, they told her that they want to end the contract and don’t see a future with her in that company anymore. They also said that they are sorry, but they have no position for her in that company anymore.
She felt that the world inside her collapsed and she got very sad and emotional. Immediately she started doubting herself, her worth, and felt very small and unimportant. She started crying and felt that she has lost something.
She went outside to breathe some fresh air. She took a deep breath and stopped thinking for a moment. She was just observing what was happening. Then she decided that she wouldn’t allow her thoughts to break her down and make herself feeling unhappy. She was strong and powerful. She started seeing the situation from another perspective. She looked at it with knowing that this company wasn’t the right place for her anymore and that she felt it already a while ago. And that the company wants to end the contract with her would give her a lot of advantage moneywise and timewise to find a new job. At this moment she felt a big relief and deep gratitude. She had the feeling that the difficult decision has been made for her and she was deeply happy and thankful for it. She felt that a new chapter would begin from now on.
Think of a situation in your life when you felt worthless, small, and insignificant. What did you do then? What were the results of having these feelings and giving them room?
Now with awareness, you have gained so far you know that it is a matter of perspective how you feel about any situation. Nothing has any meaning except the meaning you give it. You have the power of choosing the perspective to look at the situation you are in. You can decide yourself to see it in a positive or negative way.
You can see it as yourself zooming out of the current situation and looking from a top perspective down. That is a very powerful tool to not get stuck in all the small details. You are taking distance and observe. That gives you the feeling like you are not part of the problem you are standing on top of it. This results in a feeling of power and ownership. It is the opposite of feeling caught up in the situation as a victim and making yourself down with thoughts of not being worthy and insignificant. That is blocking you and results in even more depressing circumstances.
By choice, you can decide on the powerful role, see the good in the situation, and believe in yourself. You will be able to move through it, making steps forward and grow from it which makes you stronger. How do you feel about it? What comes up for you?
As Coaches, we are also going through these situations of not feeling worthy or good enough. Especially in the beginning as new coaches our confidence is not so strongly build up yet. This, of course, develops over time with coaching clients successfully. It is very important that we are aware of our feelings and work through them. We cannot ignore them than we would be a very bad example for our clients. We need to heal ourselves in order to be the best support for our clients.
Being mindful is a very important tool to practice our awareness about ourselves. That can be done e.g. in the form of meditation or journaling. Use these tools to get aware of your own thoughts about yourself and how you see yourself.
You can do the following exercise for a day. Notice for one complete day your self-talk. What is it you are saying to yourself? In what kind of ways are you talking to yourself? Make notes about that.
Afterward, analyze the way you are talking to yourself. Is it empowering? Do you talk nicely and kindly to yourself? Are you motivating yourself? Are you using empowering words in regard to yourself? Or is it negative and hurtful? Is it mean and disempowering?
It is important that we as coaches are very aware so that we can support our clients in the best ways to do the same.
If you are noticing that your client is coming with very disempowering thoughts to you, you can ask them the following questions to make them aware and start shifting their perspective:
- How would you describe yourself?
- How do you feel about yourself right now?
- What is the main dominant thought you are having about yourself which is repeatedly showing up?
- What if you could zoom out of this situation and look at it from the bird’s perspective. What do you notice?
- How else could you look in that situation?
- What is the positive side of that situation?
- What are you gaining from holding on to the disempowering thoughts?
- What are you gaining from the empowering perspective?
- What are you choosing?
One of the most powerful tools we have is the choice. In the end, we can choose if we want to feel worthless or powerful. But we must be aware of how we are feeling about ourselves. The first step is our awareness and the desire to change. If we are making the choice to change from feeling worthless to feeling powerful, we made a first great step. Now it is all about creating a habit in our life of feeling powerful. It is something we must continually practice. Only then we are likely to achieve a new state of feeling powerful. Therefore, coaching is playing a very important role to implement that new feeling of worthiness lasting in the client’s mind. But before that can happen the client must be willing to accept and change his old views and be ready for a long path on self-growth and development.