Learning is transferable- Life Coaching, Shokunin and the Japanese Way

Some clients like their coaching experience to touch all areas of their lives.  Other clients prefer to restrict the coaching to specific areas.  This may be for many reasons and is part of the design of the relationship right at the start.  Of course, I honour this request when clients ask for it.  After all, the client is in complete control of the coaching process.  The client is responsible for the results and outcomes he/ she gets from the coaching journey.  This view gives focus and clarity.  It may make it easier to keep the coaching process restricted to a limited number of sessions.  For those who are looking for on- going or open- ended coaching, the freedom to explore all areas of the client’s life brings other benefits.

Open Ended Coaching

For those clients that open their whole lives to the coaching experience, there is a huge amount of growth that can come from seeing how behaviour in one area of a client’s life is replicated in other areas of their life.  This observation allows them to see how that habit may or may not be serving them in a broader context.  This can offer powerful insights.

One client for example noticed early in the coaching journey that he allowed himself to be derailed by other people’s agendas.  He got himself into financial difficulty because friends insisted on spending more money than he could afford on social activities.  He allowed himself to be persuaded and derailed from his financial plan to get out of debt and kept falling into the trap.

Much later in the coaching journey, he noticed that this derailing pattern appeared throughout his life.  Once he noticed it and knew he could resolve it in one area of his life, he was confident he could do it in others.  He took the understanding, learning and empowerment from his financial situation and started applying it to other areas.  He overcame this pattern in almost every section of his Wheel of Life- health, work, friends and family, relationships, fun and education.

Learning is Transferable

He did it by gaining clarity on what he felt was the priority for him in those social situations.  Yes, going out with friends was important, but to restrict that interaction for the sake of financial control and independence was more important.  He felt he wanted to explain this to his friends.  He had underlying fears of being seen as boring or irresponsible as well as rejection from the people he loved.  By holding to his principles and values he felt better about himself.  He was better able to stick to his plan and enjoy himself when he did socialise.  The fear and anxiety were gone.  He applied this principle of priority clarification in other areas of his life and found that his confidence, determination, relaxation and self- respect all improved.

Repeating Patterns

It is powerful to notice repeating patterns of behaviour in your own life both as a sign of where you can improve and where your strengths lie

I have heard many teachers make this observation.  “The way you do it is the way you do it,” says Richard Rohr, while T. Harv Eker says, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”  I think this is so true, and it is powerful to notice these repeating patterns in your own life both as a sign of where you can improve and to see where your strengths lie.

For myself I am a procrastinator.  I will put things off because I think I am too busy to deal with them or I think I have the time to look at them later.  Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with them.  The thing is they pile up and then I feel overwhelmed.  Then it’s harder to get those things done quickly and efficiently.  I continually train myself in all areas of my life to do things as they come up or realistically schedule them in my diary.  Otherwise it leads to anxiety and overwhelm.  It makes me far more efficient and effective.

Conversely, I show great tenacity, committing to any project that I sign up to, person I support or relationship I value.  It connects with my values of honour and integrity that I try to live throughout my life.  When I drop the ball, it is incredibly disappointing and painful to notice that deviation from my values and truth.

Conscious Awareness

When you take conscious control of these traits, you can steer yourself towards positive thoughts, words and behaviours that impact in all areas of your life.  While they are unconscious, they can run your life in an unsupportive way in the shadows.  Once you shed light on them, your awareness allows you to see where changes are beneficial or necessary and where current habits are already supportive towards achieving your goals.

This idea of becoming more consciously aware is a foundational part of the transformational co-active life coaching process.  It is also part of the martial arts journey.  Having studied the Japanese martial arts for almost three decades, it came as no surprise that this idea is an intrinsic part of Japanese culture.

The Japanese Way

In Japan, martial arts are not just about being able to fight and defend oneself.  They are a way of life, filled with life- enhancing principles to be applied to every moment.  They offer a foundation for living with honour, integrity and respect for self, others and the world.  Many traditional art forms in Japan, from tea ceremony and calligraphy to sword making and pottery, are infused with this sense of taking the focus, care, commitment, patience, time and love necessary to make their art, into all areas of the practitioner’s life.  This is the transformational nature of martial arts, along with any other “Do” or “Way” in Japanese culture.

More well- known Ways include Judo, Kendo and Aikido in martial arts, and include Chado (Tea Ceremony), Shodo (Calligraphy) and Kado (Flower arranging).  When this has been mastered, the practitioner is known as Shokunin.  It is as if the art is used to bring the individual to greater maturity, awareness and integrity.  It touches their whole life and the lives of the people they touch.  A great example of how our mindset infuses all our actions and behaviours.

Blind Spot

The notion that the way people approach any life situation often mirrors their approach to all of life’s situations may encourage us to sit up and take notice when these patterns emerge.  They are hard to recognise in yourself- as if you have a blind spot.  A life coach, holding a vision of bringing your best self to all situations in your life, can be invaluable in supporting you in that process.

Understanding that lessons in one area of your life can be instructive to make you more effective in other areas of your life is transformational.  It shows you that: if you can do it once you can do it again; communicates your commitment to yourself to grow, be courageous and be your best self; allows for compassion for yourself and for others; demonstrates that the job is never done and that there is always more learning and directions of growth.

None of it can be done without action.  In action, we show ourselves what can be done.  Action is the classroom of learning, failure, success and developing transferable skills.  It can make us more rounded, mature and powerful agents of change in our lives.

Over to You

What patterns of behaviour show up in your life?  Do you notice those patterns yourself, or do other people reveal them to you?  What are your blind spots?  What habits do you have that are not supportive of your success?  Where else do they show up in your life?  Please share your thoughts in the comments box or tweet me at @PotentialityC.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Pass it on

If you know someone who might find this article useful, please forward it to them.  It might be the inspiration and motivation they need to make deep change.  It could make all the difference in the world to them for their health, wellbeing, career, business ideas, relationships, finances and much more.

Holding Vision

One of the most important things to me in all the work I do, be it life coaching, Mindful Movement workshops, writing, teaching and facilitating, is holding a vision for what is really possible.

Limiting Beliefs

Human beings are generally so much more capable, resourceful and creative than they realise for their own potential. In fact, these limiting ways of viewing ourselves can become so all- consuming that we forget what we are truly capable of, the resources deep within and the creativity that can emerge from us.

This limited view holds us in check. It may stop us being all that we can be, living the fulfilling life we want to live, directed with meaning and purpose. To break free of this, it helps to have someone beside you who will champion, acknowledge and hold the vision of your best self. A person who will support and encourage you throughout the journey. Most especially when you are struggling to hold that vision yourself.

Action

It takes time to tease out the details of an individual’s vision of how they want their best life to be. As a life coaching relationship develops and deepens, that clarity allows both coach and client to orient ever closer to the client’s greatest vision for themselves. Yet from session one, the coach trusts in the client’s resourcefulness and creativity to create whatever life the client truly wants for themselves. It will take many action steps. Along the way much learning will be had and growth and progress will be made.

Vision becoming reality

What is the vision for your business? What kind of parent do you wish to be? How do you want your life to look in retirement? Do you have a vision for your health and wellbeing? Painting a vision of what these things look like for you, how they feel, the values that are honoured by living this way, the compelling inspiration that touches you deeply within, all contribute to making this vision become a reality.

In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill advises creating a statement you say morning and night that sets a powerful intention about exactly what you want to achieve, a time scale and the ways in which you would like to do it. A commitment to life coaching can set a similar intention. You set out your vision, infused with the very heart of what is important to you.  You’ll show up every week or fortnightly to learn ever more deeply, test and challenge what works best.  Then, you will review, recommit and take action towards the next step.

Momentum

What builds over time is a momentum, strength and power that comes from within. In fact, it seems to have a life of its own. All you need do is steer the ship. There is a sense of congruency and alignment that lends conviction and strength of purpose to your life journey.

On those occasions when you are in doubt, your life coach (or perhaps a friend, mentor, guide or advisor in a different capacity) will remind you of that vision. Hold up the picture you so carefully created and ignite in you the forces that drive you to that vision in the first place.

Painting a vision of what these things look like for you, how they feel, the values that are honoured by living this way, the compelling inspiration that touches you deeply within, all contribute to making this vision become a reality.

Here are some examples of how holding vision can orient you towards a more fulfilling life:

Is your career or business demanding later evenings or eating into your weekends? Does the vision of spending evenings and weekends with family inspire you to creative solutions to get that life work balance right?

Is your intimate relationship struggling with emotional distance? How does your vision of deep connection and long term intimacy empower you to have those challenging conversations you might otherwise avoid?

Does your health suffer due to poor diet, lack of sleep and insufficient exercise? How can the vision of your vibrancy, vitality, strength and power well into old age inspire you to take action now and continue to take action for a healthier present and future?

Your vision of financial abundance can be the catalyst to get out of debt, manage money better and increase your earning potential.

The vision of close and supportive friends can be a drive to connect more with people.  Find hobbies that resonate deeply with your interests and foster loving and respectful relationships.

A vision for how life CAN be is a powerful reference point to inspire action here and now. It can help a lot to have someone champion that vision, acknowledge the effort you make and the success you achieve, and challenge you when you lose sight of it. These are some of the ways life coaching can support you in creating that life vision.  And keep creating it so that you live in fulfilment and on purpose throughout your life.

Over to you

What vision do you have for your life? Do you have one? Would you like one? How might a vision for your life inspire you? How would a vision for your life affect the decisions you make and the actions you take? What do you do to sabotage your vision? How does this disempower you? How might a life vision empower you?

Pass it on

I’d love to hear your answers, thoughts and ideas to these questions. Why not spread the discussion to your friends, family and colleagues.  Send the blog link to them and suggest they get involved?

Self Growth- the Oak tree and the acorn

Does the prospect of self growth daunt you? Are you aware that you need to learn and grow. Are you put off by the struggle, dedication and sacrifice you anticipate is involved? Does the thought of the pain and sweat make you not want to start or perhaps throw in the towel once things get tough?

The Dip

I see this time and again with coaching clients. The first few sessions are full of enthusiasm, momentum, growth and learning. Then people hit a lull or what is known as The Dip. The resistance to change steps in. The desire to keep things as they are, becomes increasingly powerful as greater change looms on the horizon. The fears of “am I good enough?” and “do I have what it takes” beat a steady rhythm in your heart and mind. Doubts flood in and suddenly all this change and growth doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

When this happens, it is the coach’s role to champion the client. To remind them sensitively of what they have declared is most important to them, what they want to achieve and perhaps most importantly, how they want to be in the world.

This shift requires challenge, courage, learning, action and growth. The coach supports and cheers the client along throughout the journey, celebrating their resourcefulness, creativity and determination.

The Courage for Self Growth

To stand up for the life you really want for yourself requires courage. As you grow into this person more and more, you show yourself the strength, resilience and mettle that lives within you. Sometimes that resolve comes through clarity and focus as you realise your purpose, fulfilment and goals. Other times it comes from the depth of despair as you face another obstacle or setback and find the resolve to uncover the learning, discover deeper resources and take further action.

As Rob Bell says in one of his podcasts, it is the sweat and pain that makes you strong. If you do not realise how incredible you are already, then in order to discover it you can go through the process of breaking through the limiting beliefs that hold you back.  You find your backbone as you journey along these paths. It seems most of us have lost that knowing about how great and magnificent we are.  Without struggle and work it is hard to discover what qualities you bring to the table of life and what you can meaningfully contribute.

The Growth of Inherent Skills

I have seen clients emerge from challenges to their health or careers for example, having discovered qualities and inspiration that have taken their lives in new and fascinating directions.  You may already know people who have had a health scare or faced redundancy.  So often, that process sets wheels in motion to look inward and ask “what do I really want and how am I going to achieve it?”  Suddenly, doors open, inspiration floods in, they take the action steps required, they succeed, they fail and learn and in time they grow the skills inherent within them.   They become more confident, fuller, stronger, broader in range, deeper in resources and resilience.  In short, they have grown from the experience.

Self growth has its advantages. It can be a transformative process. And it does not have to be all hard graft and full of resistance. When you are clear about your purpose and goals, self growth is a joyful process that brings you into full alignment with what is deeply fulfilling for you.

Yes, it will push you out of your comfort zone. That may scare you. Yes, you may have moments when you doubt yourself. That may frustrate you. What I see in clients is a focus and resolve on the bigger picture, drawing them irretrievably forward into the person they wish to become. That may be painful, sweaty and fearful. It will also be fulfilling, exhilarating and purposeful.

The Oak Tree

Two rows of oak trees on either side of a straight road with branches creating a beautiful arch along the length of the road

The sapling has all the qualities of the giant Oak, it just needs time to grow

I like the phrase self growth. It speaks of already being what you are, you simply have to practice it more to become bigger, stronger and more proficient at it. An Oak tree is no less an Oak tree as the acorn, a sapling or a giant in the forest. The acorn has all the qualities of the giant Oak, it just needs time to grow. It will take time. Effort will be required. Perseverance will be essential. Set- backs will be inevitable. Adaptation unavoidable. This is the process of growth.

You grow into a larger version of yourself: more confident, resourceful, resilient, creative, experienced and joyful; with greater capacity, learning, depth, height, breadth and power.

Every person you have ever admired started their journey to where they are today a younger, less confident, knowledgeable, experienced and wise version of themselves you see before you. It was not without learning and pain as they transformed over time into these wonderful teachers, guides, mentors and leaders. They overcame limiting beliefs, diminished confidence, fear of rejection and visibility of speaking out. These people carried on through moments of doubt, uncertainty and countless nay- sayers to be where they are. They are no different to you or me. Know that the learning leads to growth and the growth leads to learning.

Over to you

What do you love about self growth? Are there elements about self growth that you don’t like? What are your areas of growth? Where do you need to grow? Are you aware of your blind spots? Do you have a team of people around you who will supportively point them out to you? Are you someone who supports others in their growth and development? Please share your experience and insights in the comments box below or on social media. It’s so valuable to create discussion on these themes and support people on their road of growth.

Pass it on

Why not share this post with other people? If you found it valuable, perhaps other people will find it useful too. I’d really appreciate it if you spread the love and light. Thank you.