Posts Tagged ‘vision’

It’s that time of year.  The end of one and the beginning of a new one.  The time when many people size up where they are and think about where they want to be.  I wrote last year about how I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  Or, at least, that they aren’t for me.  They seem to set people up for failure and that’s not a good way to start a new year…or a good feeling to have at the end of January when you realize you’ve not followed through with your resolution/s.  Then you have 11 months to bemoan that and feel bad.

This year I am thinking about the new year in a different way.  I’m looking ahead at the year to come in a broader way and trying to come up with a metaphor or vision for how I want my year to be or how I want to be as a person.  2011 was all about resettling in San Francisco and getting my older son set up in high school.  We’re resettled and he’s settled.

As I sit here in a funny massage chair in a cottage in Maui’s upcountry, I’m trying to imagine where I want to be (mostly mentally) at this time next year.  Later today we’ll go to the top of Haleakala, the volcano on Maui.  I think I’ll find inspiration up there.  Maybe next year will be about climbing peaks…physical and metaphorical.  Maybe 2011 was the year of the burrowing rabbit and 2012 will be the year of the mountain goat or the bald eagle.  I’m not sure, but I like the idea of looking at it in this broad sense.  Then I can ask myself during the year whether I am staying true to that vision.  Even if I don’t get to the top of many peaks…am I trying?  Am I moving forward?

What is your vision for 2012?

May 2012 be all that you want it to be.

I assume Richard Friedman, M.D. didn’t mean to make a case for coaching in his article, When Self-knowledge is Only the Beginning, in the New York Times (click here to read the whole article), but I think he makes a good (if unintentional) case for it!  He starts out:

It is practically an article of faith among many therapists that self-understanding is a prerequisite for a happy life. Insight, the thinking goes, will free you from your psychological hang-ups and promote well-being.

Perhaps, but recent experience makes me wonder whether insight is all it’s cracked up to be.

I wonder the same thing.  I think there is definitely a place for insight, and for some  people it is an important piece of the puzzle.  But for many others who are stuck in their lives and wanting change, insight is not the key:  action is.

And coaching is all about action…big and small.  It’s about acknowledging that you’re in a situation that makes you unhappy and figuring out alternatives.  There is always another choice…another thing you can do, even if it doesn’t feel like it.  Knowing the root of your unhappiness and focusing on it can even be detrimental.  If someone frames the cause of their suffering as a given or fact, they may start to believe in only that reality.

Friedman talks about a chronically depressed patient with a lot of self-knowledge.

He had been in therapy for years before I saw him and had come to the realization that he had chosen his profession to please his critical and demanding father rather than follow his passion for art. Although he was insightful about much of his behavior, he was clearly no happier for it.

When did he get happier?

…my chronically depressed patient came to see me recently looking exceedingly happy. He had quit his job and taken a far less lucrative one in the art world. We got to talking about why he was feeling so good. “Simple,” he said, “I’m doing what I like.

I think that is one of the strengths of coaching.  You focus on where the passion and energy is and steer the client in that direction.

So, thank you Richard Friedman, M.D. for your article, but next time could you please make a direct plug for coaching.