Grief is a challenging process. Not least because there are often painful feelings to work through. These sensations, feelings and emotions can range from anger, resentment, remorse, emptiness and loss to relief, hope and peace. There is no road map for grief. People grieve in their own way.
Are you a life coach? Or a person looking for life coaching? Either way, archetypes are an excellent model to work with to access the deep potential available within the coaching session and within you as an individual- both coach and client.
Covid-19 and lockdown are both emotional subjects for a lot of people. I am noticing that there are many emotional responses as individuals, families, businesses and communities come to terms with the impact this pandemic is having on all our lives. This varied emotional response is completely normal, natural and healthy.
Do you ever feel stuck about a particular challenge? Have you noticed that when you are stuck, you spend more time focusing on the problem of the challenge? You’re actually focusing on the problem rather than placing your attention towards the solution. And because you are focusing on faults, mistakes and general negativity, you feel more stuck. The cycle repeats and deepens and the solution never presents itself.
You’re trying to find more clients, or make more money, get better grades or achieve that promotion. The knock backs keep coming and it reinforces your focus on the problem. Just because your brain is wired to see and focus on problems, it does not mean you have to keep your focus there.
Evolutionarily, it serves your survival to focus on the negative. You see problems so that you can plan and act to prevent or mitigate them. But that is not where you want to maintain your focus. Once you have identified the problem, you want to empower your creativity, imagination and intuition to bring forth the solution. Do not let yourself get caught in the low energy, negative vibe of the problem. Orient towards high energy and positivity and the solution will present itself.
How often have you been stuck on a project or been struggling to find the answer to a problem? In frustration, you take yourself off for a run, a workout, a shower, a nap, meet with a friend, play a game……. And at some point, in the midst of that fun or pleasant activity, the answer comes to you. Like a bolt out of the blue, the solution is crystal clear. This happens so often to me, yet it never ceases to amaze me that it works. I am not bothered why it works. I just know that it works. And that is enough for me.
Give yourself a break
Recently, I felt very stuck and unsure how proceed on a project I am working on. When it is a bigger challenge, I have learned to take myself off for a few days alone. That usually involves long hours walking in glorious countryside without mobile signal, e-mail or distraction from work, friends or family. I allow my mind and body to relax, rest and enjoy the scenery. I sleep a lot, remain in solitude as best I can (it’s hard to find in the UK sometimes unless you’re up a mountain, and even then), and keep a note pad with me at all times. When the answers come, they happen fast, and it can be challenging to keep up. Flashes of inspiration, insight and clarity come to me. Then I can spend time working out how I can implement them.
This stuck project is a book I have been researching for years. I set aside 111 days between November 2019 and March 2020 to write a first draft. By December 2019, I was stuck as the writing felt flat, uninspired and dull. I had researched for a book about science and spirituality but found it hard to make it relevant to people’s daily lives and what was true for me at that time in my life. In a biting storm with horizontal hail near Coniston Water in The Lake District, the answers came to me. Buffeted by the wind, I struggled to get the notes down, but I had the essence of the theme for the book now. I’m taking a break from writing to write this.
Get out of your own way
So, I have learned that there is a process that I need to allow to happen. I have to get out of my own way. My Inner Critic or Saboteur will try to keep me focused on worrying about the problem. The job of my best self (Inner Leader, Superhero, CEO, Head of the Board, Captain of the Ship) is to focus on the fun stuff, the positive thoughts that bring me joy, relax me and allow the answers to come winging in from the inner wisdom of my intuition, imagination and creativity. As Liz Gilbert says in her TED talk “Your elusive creative genius”, keep showing up in that process, connect to what brings you joy and if and when the solution comes, act on it.
Whether it is short-term goals or long-term, the process is the same. In long-term goals, there will be more flashes of inspiration, that will guide you along the way. Do not spend the time focusing on the negativity, mistakes or faults. That is where you are, but it is not where you are wishing to be. Allow what is to be to become and be guided by your creativity, intuition and imagination.
When I coach people through their challenges, I support clients to connect to that positive inspiration, the resonance that affirms a life well-lived, in fulfilment, meaning and purpose. When clients are stuck, we focus on core values and the things that bring their inner strength and wisdom to the fore. Together they build a head of steam from which the solutions emerge. If you have challenges you want to overcome, get in touch and let’s connect you to your creative, empowered and best self.
Over to You
Do you feel stuck sometimes? What do you do to overcome the feeling? Do you focus on the problem? Or are you focusing on the solution? When you try this method, how did it work out for you? What would you change or fine tune? What methods do you use to get unstuck and get solution focused?
Pass it on
Was this blog useful? If so, why not send it to someone else who might benefit from the ideas shared. Thanks for spreading the love.
I listen to people tell me how they bully themselves into working longer hours, getting up earlier, going to bed later, driving themselves at the desk and the gym regardless of how they might be feeling. As if to listen to your body when it is tired or in need of a break is a weakness. And then it is no wonder you get knocked sideways by a cold or backache that has you in bed for a week. Or a more serious medical condition.
Gratitude and Appreciation
Over to You
Pass it on
Are you regularly set back from achieving your goals? Do you make choices that move you away from what feels right to you, good to you, fulfilling to you? Can you ask for help when you feel you need it, want it? What are the costs to you for living this way? Your well-being, freedom, isolation, fulfilment, pain, suffering, physical and mental health? And what are you tolerating while you live this way? Would you like it to be different?
The purpose of coaching is defined by ICF (International Coaching Federation) as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.”
For me this means raising clients’ awareness so that they see the truth of their potential as well as the truth of the ways in which they may limit themselves from living that potential.
Coaching brings the Truth to the Fore
This is true for all my clients. One in particular that illustrates this well is Judith who, from session one, had spoken about herself as one who wished to help others. Even though she didn’t call it this, she identified with the Mother archetype so strongly- nurturing, supporting, togetherness, inspiring, teaching, wisdom, compassion, mentoring and nourishing towards others. This is what she wanted to do at the very core of her being.
She had tried this role in many areas of her life previously. But had been knocked back every time. Consequently, she shrank inward and settled for a less fulfilled version for herself.
Coaching brought this truth to the fore. She wanted life to be different and found it hard to ask for help and support. She needed space, quiet and time to self-resource and so she had to ask for that space, quiet and time. And this was something she found hard to ask for.
Asking for Help
Not asking for it meant that she became angry and frustrated because she did not feel like she had the capacity to be that nurturing Mother archetype she wanted to embody.
It would be all too easy for her to see that anger and frustration from a place of negativity and self-judgement. By taking responsibility for how she chose to view this situation, she could choose to see it through the lens of love and self-appreciation/ gratitude or negativity and self-judgement. She was free to choose.
She noticed that if she chose one path, she felt bad about herself and she was caught up in anger, frustration and self-recrimination. This led her to play small and be dominated by fear. When she chose the alternative, she showed up with more confidence, power, love, calm and connection. And she gave the encouragement, inspiration and role-modelling she wished to give, hoped to give.
Choice leads to Freedom
So, she practised choosing. And found that when she was choosing love and gratitude for herself, she was showing up as the nurturing woman she wanted to be. At home and at work, she was offering guidance and support from her strength and confidence and it came very naturally.
By seeing her truth and acknowledging how she was limiting herself, with compassion, she was able to lovingly give herself choice and freedom over how she was being at any given moment in her life. Suddenly, at work she had shifted from an angry colleague to one who engaged with and wanted to be involved in the improvement of what happened at work. She found herself taking the initiative and seeking support from other colleagues to help her fulfil her desired roles.
She had moved from disempowered and struggling to inspired and leading. Seeing the truth with love and compassion had given her freedom. These three are the foundations of any spiritual practice, regardless of religion, tradition, culture, place or time. Therefore, coaching and, in particular, listening, are spiritual acts for me. They open the doors for people to become their full selves. With that inner guiding light, a person can guide themselves towards greater and greater freedom. As well as role-model and inspire others to do the same.
Over to You
What are you doing to live your full potential? Are you allowing your self to take the options that are disempowering and unfulfilling? What would life look like is you made choices that reinforced your love for life and passion in your work? Are you willing to look at the truth of your situation and make choices that move you towards that potential? What would life be like if you carried on as you are for the next ten years? And how would it be different if, for the next decade, you made choices that aligned with your truth? I’d love to know your thoughts. And if you would like any support with exploring your truth and how to live it more fully, get in touch and we can discuss how to make that happen.
Pass it on
Like this post? Then please pass it on to anyone you know who would benefit from it.
Do you notice that you have patterns or habits of behaviour that show up again and again? And not just in the same situations, but across many areas of your life? For example, do you take control of situations at work, with your partner, kids, friends, parents without thinking about it? Or do you allow others to lead you, taking a passive role in decision making and taking action in family situations, friendships and with work colleagues?
Have you noticed for example how your organisation in book-keeping and completing your tax return shows up in your wardrobe, your kitchen and in the garden? How does your gardening influence your patience and care for things or allowing time for growth and development of colleagues, clients, ideas, even yourself and loved ones? Perhaps your yoga practice leads to calmer driving or more enquiry about your health and listening to your body? Or maybe you notice that your creativity and impulsivity used to such good affect in writing, art and sky-high and out of the box thinking, make it hard for you to settle into doing paperwork and keeping the house in order?
Apply lessons from any task or hobby and see how those qualities show up in your life in other ways. Having recently taken up Tango, I am beginning to see how I do Tango mirrors how I do other areas of my life. And how qualities that Tango asks of me are familiar or unfamiliar. And how I might apply them more broadly to enhance the quality of my life.
Leading and Following
For example, in any partner dance, there is a leader and follower. Someone has to create the opportunity for movement and direction while the other adapts to that and flows with it. There is a misconception that the man leads and the woman follows only. In reality, they co-create a magical dance. At one moment, the man leads and the woman follows. In the next, the roles are reversed.
This is definitely true of Tango in my experience. The man may guide and invite his partner to a certain position or movement, but how she goes there and performs the technique is open to her feeling, mood and emotion in that moment. How you lead influences how she follows. Once your invitation is taken, you both find yourselves in a new place and the man leads again.
Strong leadership gives her freedom to express herself. While ambiguous leading leaves her unable to own her moves fully. Nor does over-bearing leadership allow the woman her freedom either. You can only co-create a beautiful dance if one takes ownership of the leadership and the other to own the following role. The follower must take responsibility for her role, as well as the leader being responsible for leading through intention, passion and direction with his body in movement, intention and energy. And then the roles reverse again, and the cycle endlessly continues.
Where does this show up in your life?
The ease with which you lead and follow shows where your patterns and habits lie. Are you a follower or a leader? Of course, it is context dependent. But what feels most familiar to you? I feel more comfortable following and taking ownership of that. That can be a huge asset as a life coach as I follow my client’s agenda both within the session and throughout the arc of the coaching relationship. However, I have to be able to lead in coaching as well, setting boundaries, coaching fiercely and courageously as I champion my client’s strengths, ambitions and visions for a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
Tango is a great opportunity to learn the art of leadership. To lead and be sensitive to my partner’s balance, poise and direction. To be clear with my intention so that she is in no doubt where we are going, she can trust my direction and willingly follow without fear. Leadership requires safety. And all this transmitted through the body without words. Tango first and foremost is about the body in motion. The embodiment of leadership- trust, vision, inclusion, fierce courage, communication and listening. This I bring more and more into my coaching as I learn to lead and follow as required in the coaching conversation. When coach and client get this right, something magical happens. Suddenly, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts and the partnership is taken on a journey they both feed, and feed from. This synergy is the probably the pinnacle of co-active coaching, where true transformation occurs for both coach and client.
And this is what happens in Tango as well. Partners get lost in the moment of flow, balance and music. For a moment, if you are lucky as a beginner. I have been lucky enough to experience this moment a number of times. And then, there is the prolonged moment, which I have only seen other couples enjoy, in which they are lost in the magic and beauty of the dance.
And what of the art of followship? In Tango, the skill is to be open to the moment as it unfolds. To feel the next opportunity present itself and move into that void as the leader invites you into it. Notice the receptivity in your body and willingness to move with it- this is the follower taking ownership of their part of the dance. This is taking responsibility for the follower’s role and allowing the leader to lead with confidence, trust and acceptance. In coaching, my experience is that there is an identical mirroring. I feel what my client feels in their body and that can be a powerful message that directs the coaching into new and unexplored territory. There is fruitful learning here. And, I may notice something in my body that the client has missed in theirs, possibly raising awareness of what is happening for them and offering new insight into their process.
How do you lead and follow?
So, what is your pattern of behaviour? If you find yourself falling habitually into leading or following, it may mean you are taking on these roles unconsciously. Maybe leading or following feels safe to you? But you may not do so consciously, intentionally, purposefully and with choice. Being at choice is the beauty of the dance and it is the magic of coaching. Freedom and choice are two of the joys of life.
How would life be different if you were more conscious in your leading and following? What impact would it have on your personal and professional relationships? How would it enrich your career, parenting, business, intimacy, teamwork and relationships?
For a limited period, I am offering FREE embodiment coaching both on-line and face to face. As part of The Embodied Facilitator’s Course which I am attending in 2019, I am required to log practice hours in coaching on leader- follower, 4 elements and centring. The coaching could lead to:
- greater awareness of your unconscious patterns that may be holding you back and limiting your potential
- tools that would allow you to manage stressful situations more skilfully and therefore achieve more fruitful and effective outcomes
- better understanding where your strengths and shortcomings lie for better leadership and management of yourself and others
If you’d like to know more about FREE coaching using the body, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
What does it mean to be confident? Would you call yourself confident? Are you confident in a particular area of your life or field of expertise? When you step into unexplored roles or arenas, do you struggle with confidence? Or are you confident in yourself and call upon your inner confidence to step into new roles, find new answers and gain new experiences?
The word confidence comes from the Latin, confidere, which means “to have full trust”. Therefore, self-confidence is having full trust in yourself. People strive for excellence in specific fields or areas in their lives. They become experts in their specialised subject, and they are very confident in that arena. Yet, take them out of that specialism, and suddenly their confidence has been pulled out from underneath them. Like the rug has been pulled out from under their feet. Their confidence gives way to not trusting themselves.
Character building Confidence
It is as if the hard work, perseverance and application to study, learn and grow in a given area have not been fully acknowledged or integrated into their larger life. This person has not grown as a person. They may have grown in knowledge, experience and skills, but this does not seem to impact on who they are. How does being great at poetry make you a great man or woman? What shift do you need to make in your thinking to turn someone who is great at science or sport or beekeeping into an individual with character?
In the poem “If”, Rudyard Kipling speaks of character, of the qualities I believe build confidence. Not once does he speak about being a lawyer, accountant, teacher or any other profession. Nor does he say you need to be rich, spiritual, religious or any other group to belong to. He speaks to building the qualities in a person that evoke trust and belief in oneself. That person will not be universally liked, or good at everything they turn their hand to. Instead, the things this person learns to do will help to forge those qualities that build character.
Confidence is inherent and your birth-right
So, confidence is about learning to cultivate those qualities that I believe human beings have at birth. They are inherent within us. A child knows only trust and can only communicate openly, honestly and authentically. Once we learn the need to mask that behaviour, in an attempt to conform and fit in, we begin to lose that confidence in who we are at our core. The trust in ourselves begins to diminish and as a result our trust in the world around us. Yet, that kernel of trust and inner truth is never far away. We simply need to tap into that inherent wisdom.
Think of a time when you were confident. Perhaps it was playing sport or a musical instrument. Maybe you felt convinced by an idea you believed in totally or discovered something you know to be true. When you recall it, what does it feel like in your body? What feels possible from this place? Allow yourself to be filled up with this feeling.
You have conjured a feeling of confidence, brought it alive in you in this moment. Now think of the other achievements you have attained in your life. How capable do you feel? How do the current challenges in your life appear to you now? Is there possibility, confidence and a way forward for you now?
Confidence and Presence
In my workshops, I use Patsy Rodenburg’s concept of 3 energy circles to explore confidence and presence. Second circle is about being universally confident. Rather than be confident in a particular situation, you develop confidence in yourself so that you have the belief you can do anything. You may not know all the answers or know what to do, but you know you have SOMETHING about you that says you can do this. Learning, trial and error, failure, reflection, integration and perseverance will all play a part in that process- beneath that lies a foundation of confidence in who you are and what you are capable of.
Any life situation can be used to develop confidence in you as a person. It takes you to look at the situation slightly differently. You are probably used to doing something really well like riding a bike, or having challenging conversations, or fixing things, or gardening or or or……… and you might say that you are confident at doing that thing.
Growing the whole person
I would like you to think of it differently. Rather than this skill developing a part of you or an aspect of your character or skill set, think of it as growing all of you, developing the whole of you, making you stronger, more capable, competent, versatile. The skill, situation or whatever it is, becomes the entry point to grow you as a whole person. Like the leaves of a tree- they grow and go about their business to grow the whole tree, just as the roots draw water and nutrients for the whole. Every action makes the tree larger, stronger and more resilient.
You grow in your character and your belief that “if I can learn to do this, then I can learn all sorts of things”. Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset- How to Fulfil your Potential and TED talk The Power of Believing you can Improve, speaks about praising people for the hard work and effort they put into a piece of work. This Growth Mindset leads to greater confidence because people believe they have the underlying ability to learn whatever they need to learn and do whatever they need to do to succeed. There is a curiosity, inquisitive exploration and thirst to discover. Your work grows you as a person. You grow in confidence that you have what it takes.
Training and Coaching Confidence
Coaching and Mindful Movement workshops aim to grow the whole person. They grow your character, confidence and presence. As you grow in these qualities, you bring them into whatever situations you might face in life. You will learn what you need, you will gain the experience, you will discover your resources and resilience. It requires you to be open and willing to learn continually. And it empowers you to bounce back again and again when setbacks and disappointments inevitably arise.
So, being confident is not about having all the answers or always being right. Confidence is about trust. Trust that you will remain engaged in the process of your growth and the growth of others. That you will see something through to the end and stand by what you believe in. Trust that you have the character to learn from others, lead with compassion and guide with insight and empathy. Confidence does not mean you are perfect. It means you are a great boss, a loving father or mother, a present partner and a life-loving member of humanity.
Over to you
Do you feel confident? Are you confident in a particular area in your life, or do you feel you have a core foundation of confidence? How would having that core self-confidence change things for you? What are you going to do to build that core confidence?
On July 18th, 2019, I will be running the next Be the Best Boss workshop in Cambridge. We will be looking at confidence and presence and how that can have a positive impact on your business as a self-employed solopreneur and on your career as you work up the professional ladder of success in employment. Further details and tickets are available at the link. Or, if you have further questions, get in touch.
Pass it on
If you know someone who would benefit from more confidence and presence, why not send them the link for the workshop. They may also enjoy this blog? I’d appreciate it if you spread the word and shared it with friends, family and colleagues. Thank you.
Have you ever wondered what life coaching is? Or perhaps what it isn’t? The word “coaching” is used so broadly it can be a little confusing what people mean when they say “I am a coach” or “I offer coaching”. One of the first questions prospective clients ask me is “What is coaching and what can it do for me?”
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