I'm training to be a life coach. The path to certification is one where I am coached to coach. I am taught a curriculum or methodology. I pass it on to others. It is a coaching method that is largely based on Joe Vitale's vision of the Law of Attraction in which there are five steps to achieving your goals. You must be crystal clear on what you don't want. Crystal clear on what you do want. You need to become aware of the limiting beliefs you have that may be preventing you from achieving your goals. For instance, perhaps you would like to earn more money, but you believe money is the root of all evil. Step three is to identify and clear limiting beliefs. "Clear," meaning to stop identifying with the belief.
At the moment, my mind is distracted by step three, but I can't leave you hanging and simply list three items out of a list intended to be five. Steps four and five are to act as if you are already living the life you desire and to let go of your attachment to the outcome. Stop worrying how it will happen and when it will happen and simply look for the inspired actions you can take to help make it happen.
*So this week, one of the assignments I am assigned to give my guinea pig clients ... (I call them that because I am coaching them and they are not paying. Something within my limiting beliefs or moral fiber won't allow me to ask someone to pay me money for something I am giving them at nearly the same time I am receiving it. In my eyes, I am not yet a coach, I am more of a coach-elect.)
Anyway, so one of this week's assignments was to list three words to describe yourself. Go into great detail as to why you chose each word and why it is important to you. I was so startled by the very first word that came out of my first client's mouth I can't even remember accurately what she said. It began with a "d" and it was a very negative word. My best guess is "depressed."
I'll spot you one. If I were doing the same assignment, the first word I would use to describe myself is "authentic." Partly because I've had a couple people use it about me and I liked it, but partly because I think it does describe me. For me, authentic takes in all of my human foibles and dresses it up in a positive dress. I'm not stupid or clumsy, over-enthusiastic or naive. I'm authentic. I'm not lying when I say these things in a blog. I'm simply serving up my life in the hopes it will make somebody else feel better. A sort of "I made my mistakes so you don't have to" thing, I guess.
The minute that "d" word came out of her mouth. Even as my mind was spinning, telling me I can't tell her who to be, how to feel or how to behave, the words "no, no, no, no, no, no" are spilling from my lips.
I said, "Don't choose a negative word to describe yourself. Choose words for who you want to be, not who you already think you are."
In my own experience that is a place where we repeatedly let ourselves down. Let's say we want to be a kind person. When we are in a position to voice "I am a kind person," we remember an instant when we weren't so kind. Maybe it was even THE horrible instance that inspired us to be kinder in the first place. We remember that moment and the best we can say about ourselves is "I try to be kind." More likely we say something like, "I can be mean." Or "Sometimes I'm a bitch."
"Oh, but I passed by a man on the street the other day playing a saxophone and I didn't drop a dollar into his hat."
"I try to be generous, but sometimes I'm too lazy to even check if I have money."
Yes, it's a little like me saying I'm not a coach, I'm only a coach-elect.
When will you be able to tell yourself you are the person you want to be? How can you ever become that person if you can't voice it? If you're waiting for perfection, keep in mind it never arrives. In his book At Zero, Joe Vitale talks of one of his mentors, Dr. Hew Len getting angry at a complete stranger at a bus stop. Vitale himself talks about how he is continually clearing his limiting beliefs.
You will never be perfect.
I noticed this phenomenon in myself about a year ago. The only definitive positive attribute I could give myself was "I'm trying." I guess I noticed it right in the middle of a Facebook quiz, struggling with which answer to give. Where I've come from. Or where I want to be. So what I did was I started taking every Facebook quiz I spotted, from which Lord of the Rings character are you to What decade should you have lived in and in every quiz, I answer for my best self. I answer from the person I want to be, not the person I struggled to overcome.
We struggle with visualizing ourself as having achieved the emotional growth we were seeking. At the same time, once again in my experience, we don't understand what comes with that growth. We don't understand the true nature of change.
Over the years, I have been a lot of people. What I mean by that is, I have always struggled with life. I have been a tenacious fighter. If I don't like a situation and believe I can do something to change it, I won't give up until I have changed it. The upside to that is I can relate to almost anybody's struggles. Not everybody's. But a lot of people's. At some point, when I was trying to empathize with someone else's point of view, I realized I could understand because I had once felt that way myself. Yet some critical demon or way of thinking had been abolished in me and I could no longer touch how that person felt. It had become an intellectual exercise rather than an emotional one.
What we don't understand about change is simply that. We will change.
It's like we think we will stay exactly the same, but we'll have some new skills or armor. We think we will be me + what I learned. Really it's more like driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. You can't see San Francisco Bay when you're standing at a rest stop along the Grapevine. Your position, in this case physically, has changed.
Please, please, please, don't let that be a source of fear. I'm not suggesting you will be replaced by a changeling. I guess what I'm trying to say is it gets easier. It gets easier because when you set down a lot of your baggage, you really do set it down. Rather than having to reinvent the wheel or start at position negative 20, you pick up where you left off.
They say the secret of a good cast iron frying pan is the seasoning it picks up over time with use. I kind of think that is part of our secret as well.
*used with client's permission