A Coaching Power Tool created by Shyam Drury
(Spiritual Coaching, AUSTRALIA)
Heath was working in a managerial position in a small start-up company. He was feeling dissatisfied with his job. His dissatisfaction was causing him some anxiety especially as he was unsure what to do about it. After considering it for a while, he decided he would be more satisfied in a larger company with more influence and responsibility. He imagined the challenge of managing a larger team and felt excited about his new choice. Also, he felt a great sense of relief at now having a course of action. He then proceeded to seek out a suitable job. He hired a career coach to help him with application and interview skills. He initially had great enthusiasm for his prospective new job, but after only a few weeks, he found himself failing to put into practice the steps he had decided upon with his coach. Through further exploration with his coach, a number of important factors came to light.
Heath had a strong passion for creativity, he had previously thoroughly enjoyed painting and been quite good at it, but had found with the demands of his job and supporting a wife and young child, he had felt he no longer had time for that. He felt he had lost his freedom with his new family responsibilities and was sad and frustrated about this. He also recognised he had often allowed his choices to be determined by other people’s opinions of what he should do and how he should be. After getting much greater clarity on all these other factors, he was able, with the support of his coach to negotiate more freedom and sharing of responsibility in his family situation, he realised he wanted to be self-employed and pursue his artistic passion. He began to explore creating a lifestyle shared between a self-run consulting business, painting and exhibiting, quality time with his family and greater time and freedom for himself. Bringing this new life into reality, he found much greater enthusiasm in taking the steps to make it happen. When he was able to make these changes he found much greater satisfaction and fulfilment, was happier and enjoyed the time with his family more, as well as his time alone.
In deciding a course of action, a position of certainty is powerful, and possibly crucial. When we feel certain in our choices and our course of action, we have great enthusiasm, energy and commitment to moving forward and completing our goals. Our confidence is high, so any setbacks or difficulties that come up in our path are easily and joyfully met as a welcome challenge, an opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves our commitment to our chosen path. To achieve consistent powerful forward movement, a strong level of certainty is essential. Doubts cause us to waver and reconsider, slow us down, and if too strong may completely halt our movement altogether and cause us to give up.
All of this is true, when our certainty is true certainty. Meaning, we have spent enough time investigating our values, underlying beliefs, fears, doubts, capacities, resources, limits, responsibilities and genuine desires, to know that the course we are choosing is truly the right one for us. Too often, we settle for a false certainty: we make a decision, choose a course of action, a plan, a vision, with insufficient reflection; we rush at making a decision, and then spend a lot of energy convincing ourselves that it was the right choice, all the while, fighting an uncomfortable feeling of inner dissonance. Then our ‘certainty’ is weak, highly susceptible to doubt, lacking in real commitment and enthusiasm and even if we carry out our decision, it leads to results which do not bring us the satisfaction we hoped for.
So why are we willing to settle for this ‘false’ certainty? Why are so keen to get to a decision, and so unwilling to spend the time exploring and reflecting that it takes to make a deeper, more truly aligned choice? Because while we are simply exploring, considering, reflecting, we are uncertain, having not yet chosen. Uncertainty makes us feel vulnerable, and we are afraid to be vulnerable. However, vulnerability is where connection happens: connection to ourselves, to our fears and desires, our feelings. It is only by spending time in this place of vulnerability that we can truly realise what it is that we want. And the right choice is simple, it is just the choice that best leads us toward what we truly want most of all. It is actually the recognition of what we truly want that is usually the most difficult step. Therefore, the willingness to be with this uncertainty and vulnerability is essential in setting us up to find real fulfilment and coming to a decision we can fully commit to, knowing it is truly coming from our hearts.
If we do not give ourselves the time, space and reflection to make decisions in this way, then we are susceptible to making our decisions based on criteria other than what we truly want in our hearts. We may make our decisions based on other people’s demands. We might make our decisions upon the basis of beliefs that we have taken from other people or experiences that do not really serve us. We might make our decisions based on what will most immediately relieve discomfort (and may in fact lead to much greater discomfort and dissatisfaction later.) These kind of choices will lead us into situations where we feel even more frustrated, disappointed and unfulfilled. What we need to avoid making this kind of decision is clarity. The clarity to know what we really feel, believe and want. This clarity comes from being willing to stay with the uncertainty while we look at the whole picture of our situation, including all of our thoughts and feelings about the various factors involved.