I have been struggling lately. My attitude has been quite poor, overall I have really been down. I can’t quite define what it is, but everything seems “Cloudy with a chance of …”. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially…it is all a bit bumpy. Not in a way where I need happy pills or where some radical change is needed. But in a way where a day long nap might be a step up in my productivity.
So lets be honest, we all have these days. These days are what clears out the last of the Haagen Dazs. This is when we binge watch two new Netflix series all night long. This definitely can be what drives the bar tabs at Happy Hours. But here is the reality…even though we all have these days, we actually choose how long these days last as well. We are totally in control of how long the dark cloud remains.
As I was pondering the “whys”. Why… Is it so hard to get motivated to coach lately? Why…Am I not making progress in my exercise programming? Why… Do my friends all want to hang with other people? I began to realize the common thread… ME! I am telling myself to do my coaching work later, Haagen Dazs is calling. I am the one not getting up at 4:30 each morning to work out. It is so much easier to watch Netflix late in to the evening and then sleep in. I am the one limiting my time with others, sure if I bought at Happy Hour it would fix A LOT!
Great…problem solved, get up and get moving! If only it were so easy, to remove the grey skies then we would all do it immediately, right?! The fact is, getting out of our own way, whether it is in trying something new, advancing in a career or just changing your mood is unbelievable difficult. But why? In my opinion, we are scared…scared of how much we might like the new thing we try, scared of how successful we can become, and scared of how happy we could truly be.
Living our lives, as the victim of circumstance, not choosing to look at the positives in life, and accepting our “fate” are all catabolic ways of thinking. Catabolic thinking is a thought process of negative/self-limiting beliefs. This type of thinking convinces us we shouldn’t have what we truly want and makes us believe that we don’t deserve more than we have. It creates a fear of moving forward, of creating that small 1% improvement each day. Living in the fear of possible success and the false “security” of what is familiar, is harmful…not only to future success and fulfillment but also to our general attitude and in some sense our overall health.
So…how do we change this?! First, it is the honest step of acknowledging that we “struggle” and in fact that “struggle” is perfectly normal. Not only is it normal but it is a blessing to have. The struggle we face is not a chance to retreat to safety, but it is the exact moment to bravely step forward and look at what opportunity conquering this struggle will give us in meeting our goals. Second, once we acknowledge that struggle we now have the option to choose how long we want to call it a struggle or how soon we want to call it an opportunity.
When we finally label it an opportunity…to change our attitude, to try a new approach, to learn something new…we can then take the third step to make it a goal. That goal may be to just smile and be more appreciative the rest of the week. That goal may be make sure we only watch one episode of a Netflix series so we can resume the morning routine rested and ready to go. Whatever that goal may be, we finally have a direction, an end point to work toward which moves us positively forward and before we know…the struggle is small speck in the rear view mirror.
It all starts however, with the acknowledgement that we are in a struggle, we accept that struggle and we look for the time for that struggle to change. Every day is not full of sunshine. There are days full of grey skies, sometimes severe thunder storms. How we choose to approach these days and when we decide to acknowledge these days determine how long these storms will last…but more importantly how soon before the bright, warm glow of sunshine will appear in our lives.
I come with a lot of baggage, A LOT OF BAGGAGE. God bless my wife for putting up with my eccentricities, my gremlins and, as she puts it, my sensitivities. But when you think about it we all come with baggage, some with a steamer case full of items, others a hand bag of “trinkets”. Whoever we are though and however large our bag of issues, doesn’t really matter. This “bag” defines who we are…it tells us we are smart enough, strong enough, clever enough to accomplish things… or to “not” accomplish things.
The problem with everyone’s luggage is it is most often filled with self limiting beliefs. It comes with these messages we have picked up throughout life and packed into our bags ourselves. These messages then come to shape our self view and the expectations of what we will accomplish or what we deserve from the world. Here is the kicker about the luggage we have packed…most often we have packed the wrong things. Much like packing snow shoes for a trip to the beach, we spend our lives packing things in our bags that do not help us in life but limit us. The crazy part is we don’t know what to unpack to give us a more fulfilled life, or to simply get “what we want”. We know that if we packed our snow shoes for the beach, we simply need to remove them and add the flip-flops. However, in life we have no way to fully realize what is limiting us and what truly defines our full potential.
That, friends, is where a coach comes to the rescue. Think of me as a professional packer and unpacker, together we review all the articles in your bag and slowly remove the things that simply aren’t true about you. Through time not only do we make the bag lighter, but you get a better sense for who you really are and what you can accomplish.
So…how much is your bag weighing you down? Are you meeting your full potential? And…who are you really?
We all do it…without a shred of evidence to support our inner thoughts, our worries and internal gremlins, we fill the void with assumptions. When we make assumptions, we do so at the effect of our personal biases.
Assumptions allow our personal insecurities and worries to predominate our lives. This effect, RARELY, leads to a positive/anabolic perspective on life. For example, few of us may assume that we could not complete a demanding physical event like running a marathon when we haven’t trained or ever ran that distance. Rather we see the videos of “trained athletes” stumble across the finish and we know how uncomfortable it is to start a running program and automatically assume “we could never do that”. There is no fact to support that belief, simply the assumption that we are not capable.
In relationships, our partner or friend may be short with us one day. They may later bail on a lunch date or not pick up our call, or respond to our text. Rather than investigate the why or understanding their situation, if we are feeling a bit vulnerable, we automatically assume. We assume that they are mad at us, or that they have a lost their interest in us, when there may be no evidence to support that conclusion. How we respond may then actually support our assumption, by being defensive or upset and in turn forcing that person to become upset and then …see…” I told you they were mad at me!” When in actuality, they may have had valid and unrelated reasons for why they were not communicating at that moment.
This then becomes the risk of making assumptions in the absences of facts. When making assumptions you are prone to self-limiting thoughts and behaviors, some of which could have dire consequences at worst and unneeded worry at best. Take for example a recent experience I had where I made some internal assumptions, void of facts, and sent myself into a near anxiety attack. To get to that point, however, you need a little bit of a backstory. I apologize in advance, some of this may be “TMI”.
At the beginning of 2017, I ended up in the hospital with a medical emergency that if had not been discovered could have resulted in severe/life changing complications. Basically, I had been experiencing swelling of my feet and weight gain, which for a guy that now prides himself on his fitness level in his 50s is concerning to say the least. Unable to figure out why I was having swelling and weight gain, I went to see my doctor. During my visit my Blood Pressure was literally through the roof. Fast forward to ending up in the ER, with a dangerously high BP and honestly peeing every 15 minutes (I have no secrets, this isn’t even the TMI part…). I ended up being admitted to the hospital and within a day had an emergency urinary catheter punctured through my abdomen, where it was discovered that I had an obstruction in my internal plumbing, which likely had been gradually closing up for decades and eventually closed to the point where I couldn’t void. In retrospect, I had had difficulty with urination for years, couldn’t even spell my name in the snow…and my name is only 4 letters…(still not the TMI part) but figured this was a function of age and just “me”. This was my first wrong assumption, without researching facts to support that this was related to my old”er” age; I was unaware the something was wrong and just assumed this was my “fate”. I would plan out bathroom trips and was, in my own head, famous for doing the potty dance in my late 40s and I accepted this was the best it would get. When in fact this problem was the root cause for not only the potty dance, but the weight gain, and dangerously high BP.
Fast forward a few weeks and I find out that this obstruction was not normal. Not only was this not normal it was abnormally large for such an occurrence. In fact, it was HUUGE in size, so much so that surgery was required to repair it. I will save the gory details (this is the TMI part, it could get way worse)…except for my lower lip is still numb in places even today, I have learned true shrinkage in the tender parts as I sat on an “ice saddle” for days, and basically learned to drive leaning so far backwards a gangster would be proud. I couldn’t really work out for about 5 months, which did wonders for the fitness pride previously mentioned. But on the back end of the tunnel, there was a bright light, surgery was a success and now I have an incredible ability to watch a whole movie without a nature break, 4-hour car rides…now are even rest stop free! Not sure that you all can really appreciate what a cool feeling that is, even today I am like a toddler using the big boy potty!! (yep…TMI)
This, however, leads us to the second wrong assumption and near panic attack. Just recently, Panda and I took a long 10 hour road trip to Oklahoma to visit family. During the ride, I begin to feel like the old “potty dance” Shad, literally stopping every 30 minutes to tour all of Arkansas’ quality rest stops. About the 3rd time in I begin to panic, I have now convinced myself surgery has failed. By the time I get to OKC for the night, I have fully assumed that I will need to get to an ER, likely will need to have surgery (my lip cannot take that again…see me personally for the gory details) and probably will need a catheter the rest of my life. That night, I slept off and on and literally dreamed of all I my fitness work being eliminated overnight.
Here was the reality, the facts which I chose to ignore, because my own personal gremlins decided to jump in and present these previous assumptions as facts. First, during the day, I had had very little water to drink, just forgot. Second, I had a ton of coffee to drink, thanks to not getting my nap with Panda after a tough workout in the AM. Third, during the evening drive, while at a truck stop I found an energy drink that they don’t sell in TN, which I used to drink all the time in my “Fat Shad” days. So excited, I kissed the can like long lost lovers and downed that baby in minutes. Reality was because of my unknown medical issue from fat Shad days, this drink causes a reaction in me similar to what my symptoms had been for years, potty dance, included.
Long story longer, by the next morning, rehydrating myself overnight and in the am, allowing the energy drink (we are formally no longer on speaking terms, let alone kissing the ever again) to fully pass through my system…I was completely fine by the AM.
Here is the moral of the story, left to our own insecurities, lacking or ignoring objective data, we make assumptions. The assumptions me make most often serve to support or deepest worries, about life, about relationships, about finances or about health issues. In some cases, assumptions can lead to life changing or life-threatening conditions, in other situations they can lead to unnecessary worry and concern.
Worry, concern, anxiety, or anger are all forms of catabolic (negative energy). The catabolic energy used for this worry and concern, causes an ill ease. It causes us to not see the best outcomes, the true opportunities but rather can lead to feelings of anger and blame. Rather than use catabolic energy for such worry based on assumptions, use anabolic energy to start a fact-finding mission. Ask, “Why did my friend bail on our plans, what do I know?”, ask “What proof is there to support the thought in the back of my head?” For me, these should have been, “Is what I am experiencing normal at my age?”, or “Up until this moment in time everything has been great in my recovery, what facts do I have that would support that something has gone wrong?” If no proof exists, do not allow the thought to the front of mind, rather dismiss the assumption until you know the facts. For me, avoiding assumptions years earlier and finding the truth, could have given me years more of quality movies and road trips. At the very least, I would have made a 10 hour drive recently one with an even more found memory, rather than just a “lesson learned”…
To Coach – simply defined as the process of teaching or instructing an individual.
Most know coaching from sports, where it is the process of coaching an individual athlete or group of athletes to higher performance. Sports coaches exist at all levels from pee wee sports to current and future Olympians. Highly successful sports coaches are revered, they are sought out by sports franchises and elite athletes often at a premium that few regular athletes can afford.
The next most known example of a coach comes from those that have experienced Executive Coaching in the corporate world. Again, this type of coaching comes at a great expense by a corporation and are reserved for the limited few at the higher echelons of business. Then there is Relationship Coaching, which may help people find a love interest or develop closer bonds to those around them.
Finally, some may have heard of Life Coaching but may be unsure of what it is or who it is for. There may be a perception that Life Coaching is reserved for the wealthy or those in need of help with a serious life issue, perhaps even the question to the meaning of life. In fact, this is just the opposite. Life Coaching can assist anyone with any question, need or issue.
A Life Coach is a facilitator, a mentor, and an inquisitor. A good Life Coach doesn’t teach like a sports coach, nor do they strategize like an Executive Coach might, and they don’t necessarily help you define what are looking for in a partner. Rather a good Life Coach practices the art of passionately listening and asking reflective questions to help the client define the answer to a question that they already intuitively know.
All of us know, deep down in our subconscious, what we really want from life and when we aren’t truly living the life we are “meant” to live. No matter what direction is needed, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or professional, a good Life Coach helps the client simply peel back the layers of self-questioning. They assist the client to understand where their own self-doubt is limiting their progress and assist them in eliminating that doubt so that they can move forward with confidence and clarity. They remove the uncertainty of a plan and assist the client to set goals and “next steps” to achieve their stated intention with a guarantee of success. Life Coaches help the client to answer, “What do you really want?”, “What is important to you?” and “What will success look like to you?” The Coach asks the questions and the Client does the exploration, together they chart a course to move forward, but only in an area that assures the Client’s buy-in and trust.
For a Life Coach, there is no specific agenda or goal, simply determining the client’s values, assisting in establishing their priorities and setting the client’s goals from week to week. Whether the client is looking to start a new business, transition professions, discover more meaningful relationships, establish a healthier eating habit, or all the above, the Life Coach passionately listens and meets the client exactly where they are at and together build upon the blocks for the client’s success.
So, what is it as you think about a Life Coach that you have been dying to always do, but told yourself you couldn’t?
How do you think about your life today and think about how it could be more fulfilling in the future?
Or Perhaps when have you just felt “stuck” in an aspect of life and just needed to “talk it through” with someone?
If ever you have felt these or any myriad of other instances where you knew there was more potential and purpose in your life…then a Life Coach, just might be for you. Not just for the elite athlete, not the top executive, and definitely not just for the “Love Connection”, Life Coaches can help everyone to aspire to the best possible “you” that you can be.