Archive for the ‘Standing in Your Own Way’ Category

I feel like “letting go” is a big theme swirling around my world lately.  I have clients, friends and family struggling and stepping up to let go.  What are they letting go of?  So many different things:  twenty-plus years in the same house and all the things that go with that, a relationship that was already over, a desire to know, a past life that is now only a shadow.

Why is it so hard and often painful to let go?  There are as many answers as there are scenarios, but one thing they all have in common is that letting go means moving into the unknown.  That’s why even letting go of things we know are not good for us or bringing us what we want is hard.  At least in our dissatisfaction we know where we stand.

What are you unwilling to let go of?  Imagine you have a closet or a house or a box of the things you don’t want to/can’t let go.  How big is it?  What’s in there?  What are you ready to let go of?  These can be actual things, but also ideas or beliefs or people.  I challenge you to start letting go.  Little by little.  Not when you’re under pressure and have no choice, but now, while you’re strong and making an active decision for yourself.

I get a daily email from The Universe…really a British guy who is in my general line of work.  I signed up for it a long time ago, and I’ve thought of unsubscribing many times because I hardly ever read the notes.  But sometimes I do and they really resonate with me.  That was this case this morning.

What if you’re already doing everything right, even though you’re not sure?

And the surprises along the way have only sped things up, even though it felt like they slowed you down?

And all that you want is now barreling towards you, even though you can’t see it?

I’ve been doing a lot of mental gymnastics lately about what I need to do to build my coaching practice, whether I’m doing enough, is it sustainable, etc. etc.  Somehow my note from The Universe snapped me into a different perspective.  It was kind of like seeing something that has been there the whole time, but that I sometimes lose focus of.   Maybe I am doing enough, and maybe there are things coming that I just can’t see right now.  And that is comforting.   And maybe it’s okay to just be today, without coming up with the revolutionary thing that will change everything.  Maybe…

I just read another article from The Atlantic that has my mind buzzing.  So much to think about!  On so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.  But I want to share it.  Right now.

I assume the article by Lori Gottlieb, “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” is mostly aimed at parents, but since we are all children to someone and deal with other human beings in our lives, I think it’s a great read for anyone.

Where do I fit into this?  How was I raised?  What am I doing?  What makes me happy? How are those around me doing things?  What is my reaction to how others do it?  What about the things that society encourages/discourages?  What is society?

My biggest take-away, is, Wow, I need to do some thinking about myself as a parent, as a coach to my clients and as a person. What is your reaction?

 

I watch people struggle to make changes in their lives…whether it’s a diet, a relationship, a job, a way of being, and I work to support them in making things happen.   I always ask clients what they hope the outcome of change will be, how they hope things will be different/better if they’re successful, to consider what might be getting in the way, and finally to choose a baby step they can take in the right direction to feel some movement right away.

Everyone approaches change differently, and everyone comes to it with different baggage and tools.   My sister sent me a blog post a while ago that provides some insight into how different people approach change and gives a good starting question for anyone going in that direction:   are you and abstainer (more extreme) or a moderator (less extreme)?  (Click here to see the post on Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project website.)

Here’s the idea…for some people being very clear and extreme is an easier way make change.  It’s better to take out all temptation and stick to a clear and simple path.  For others, going extreme creates anxiety and a strong sense of loss or deprivation and so they more easily give up what they’re trying to do.  For them, the right path is allowing some room for flexibility.

Are you an abstainer or a moderator?  I’ve spent some time thinking about it for myself, and my realization is that in my DNA I’m an abstainer (better to be extreme and deny myself things), but that I strive to be a moderator when I can.  I think over time I’ve figured out when I need to give in to my nature and when I can play with it.

 

 

I was sitting in a jeep a few weeks ago in the South African bush following wild dogs on the hunt.  Our guide told us it was extremely rare to see wild dogs and that we were very lucky to be on the hunt with them.   They look like scraggly, spotty mutt dogs with huge ears…cute, but not really.

They ran helter-skelter…15 or 20 of them as we crashed through the bush in pursuit.  Every once in a while they would stop and listen.  There seemed to be no real order to what they were doing and they didn’t mind our presence so I asked our guide what they were after and/or listening for.  His answer:  anything.  He explained that they get active when they get hungry, and then just get up and start running to see what they’ll find.  This cracked me up.  It seemed so “doggish” to me…no thought, just action.   It felt so counter to how I would do it.  In a word, lame.

But I keep thinking about those wild dogs and I’ve started to think that maybe they’re on to something.  At least partly.  I see so many people stuck in different parts of their lives (me included) and they/we never get going.  We think, we plan, we ponder, we argue, and on and on.  And nothing happens.  We just lie there.

What if we embraced our inner wild dog?   Just get up and go.  See what happens.  See what you come across.  But go.  Run.  Of course, wild dogs are spurred on by hunger and the need to survive.  That’s a pretty powerful incentive.  It’s what rules the bush and there were countless examples of this.   But humans have hunger too.  (If you’re reading this, I’d bet you don’t have physical hunger from not having enough food…and for that we are incredibly lucky.)  We hunger for fulfillment, satisfaction, purpose, love, friendship and on and on.

What are you hungry for?  What would it be like to just start running toward something without thinking it to pieces?  The idea has captured my imagination.