Coaching Yourself to Greatness

This week, I am doing a Master Class series called: “The Fail-Proof Strategy for Coaching Yourself (& Others) to Extraordinary: In Your Life, Your Business, Your Relationships & Your Finances!” Click here if you’re not yet registered and would like to join us for this free Master Class.

Think you are not suited to take this class? Just keep in mind that over the years, students of every age, gender, and cultural background have enrolled.  The feedback and comments have been priceless. Those of you who know me know that I train and certify Life Coaches, so many of the comments have expressed surprise that I was teaching people how to coach themselves!

Well, we can coach ourselves, but most of us need to do some work first. 

There are two things we must be able to assess and embrace in order to Coach ourselves!

We’ve all heard the expression, “To know where to go, we have to know where we are first!” Often, it is difficult for us to have an accurate view of ourselves. As a Life Coach, we must assess the same thing, but such assessment is always easier when we are assessing others, not ourselves. Do you remember the first time you heard your own voice on a recording? Didn’t recognize your voice, did you? So it’s no mystery that outsiders can get a more accurate view of us than we can of ourselves.

1. You must be able to assess which side of the bridge you are on!

As a start, let’s use an analogy to help explain how we can gain some insight into who we are.  Picture a river running beneath a bridge. On one side of the bridge are those who need to push themselves harder to get to the life they want and deserve. They tend to avoid risk and make excuses for themselves and their poor behaviors and habits. Such avoidance prevents them from achieving greatness. Often those faced with this obstacle tell me that they are just lazy. Occasionally that is true, but usually it’s just an underlying sense of timidity, or a lack of confidence. Tony Robbins says: “People are not lazy, they simply have impotent goals. That is, goals that do not inspire them.”

On the other side of the bridge are those who need to be kinder to themselves. They are overachievers. They have a very tough inner critic. They expect perfection in themselves. 

There is a third, uncommon, group. This group is under the bridge; in the water! Those in this group exhaust themselves swimming back and forth. They swim toward one bank and encounter the harsh inner critic. The critic tortures them, so they immediately turn around and swim to the other side because they don’t really believe in themselves. Then they get a slight vision of their greatness and turn to swim back to the other side. Then just before they hit shore, they tap into their fear of the risk and swim back toward the other side. This endless cycle is exhausting and fruitless. 

The truth is, greatness is found on the bridge, in the middle. Peace is found between the fear of risk on one bank and fear of the inner critic on the other.

Those who fear the risk need to embrace their boldness. They need to courageously step onto the bridge. Those who fear their inner critic need to silence that voice and step onto the bridge.

Of course, if you can’t arrive at a true assessment of yourself, you will not know whether to push yourself harder or be kinder to yourself.2. You must be able to identify the “stories” you tell yourself (and/or others) about why you are not on the bridge.

2. You must be able to evaluate the stories you tell yourself (and/or others) about why you are not on the bridge!

You must develop the ability to look critically at the “stories” you are telling yourself.  Are your self-stories mostly about your “greatness,” or mostly about your lack of greatness? If most are about how much you “lack,” you must re-write your stories.

Because of what I do, I hear a lot of “self-stories” every day. Most of the stories are not exceptionally “good” or “bad,” but are rather benign. Common phrases like:

  • I guess I just wasn’t meant to do anything great
  • It’s just the way I am
  • I’m too old; or too young
  • I’m just not made for greatness
  • I guess I’m just satisfied as I am (My follow-up question to that one is… There’s nothing wrong with that… But are you fulfilled?)

What is your story?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Stop reading right now, and ask yourself:

What is my story about? What do I say to myself about what has happened to me? What is my story about my past that holds me back? What is my story about my challenges? What is my story about the condition of my life? What is my story about my potential? Why am I not living out my greatness?

Why does it matter? Because as the proverb says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” Henry Ford said it well, “if you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right!”

Great athletic coaches and great life coaches understand that stories that are counter to our goals must be broken through and replaced if we are to become great. This truth holds whether your goal is to be a great athlete, a great business owner, a great mom or dad, a great husband or wife, or a great citizen in your community. 

Identifying self-stories that are contradictory to our life goals, values, hopes, and dreams; and then breaking down those stories so we can write new ones, is not easy. Sometimes we will need help. I hope you will seek coaching or counseling when you do!

Dr. Patricia Love has been an amazing addition to my life since I met her as my graduate school advisor. She has been my coach and mentor ever since. Long after graduate school and some 10 years into my practice, my life fell apart. At moments I was the high stepper, trying to “earn my way” back into humanity after much devastation. At other moments, I was on the dark side of the bridge, with my self-esteem and self-confidence at Ground Zero after years of hearing demeaning things. I felt like I was in the raging river about to go under. Dr. Pat admonished me to give myself Grace, to believe the few things I could believe that were positive about myself.

And to look at my stories.

My stories were the key. I was rehearsing stories that would ensure my demise:

  • I’ll never have any credibility again, my career is over
  • No one will ever respect me again
  • I truly am worthless, just as he said
  • You will always be abandoned
  • Your best days are behind you
  • No one will ever truly love me
  • I will never be good enough
  • I will live in financial devastation the rest of my life

I was willing to own them. I was willing to write them down. I was willing to scramble them. I was willing to lay them down. I was willing to create a different story.

It’s not easy to create a new story when you are devastated. I am very well aware of that! But I am also proof that it is quite possible!

My new story became this: I will be so much more compassionate and able to help hurting people. My credibility will grow if I will allow people to see my vulnerability. I will sort through this rubble and pull out a garland of roses. I make note of each step I take, so I can help others. I am worthy of my calling, because the Bible says His callings are irrevocable. I will overcome. I will love again. I will be loved again. This mess will become a great message to others who are deeply hurt. I choose to forgive because there but for the grace of God, go I. I commit myself to living on a path of love, and never allowing my heart to contaminate the lives of others. I will take what was meant for my harm and allow it to be used for great good!

Little did I know that the new story that I wrote would lead me to exactly where I am today. Why do I write blogs? Why do I do broadcast weekly on Facebook Live? Why do I create free Master Classes? Because I’m living my NEW story.

My life is full, my life is rich, and I am living my desire to help others. I’m helping others find that same amazing life, no matter their hurt or circumstances.

You can coach yourself. Even if you’re in a place of devastation. Turn your story around and you will find yourself living it! Then coach yourself to greatness. You may have had people in your life as a child or even as an adult who sprayed Roundup all over your seeds of greatness! They may have stunted your seeds of greatness when they should have nurtured them. But great news! Those seeds are still alive and well. Nurture them. Re-write your story. Live your own unique kind of greatness!

Love, hugs, and prayers to you as you turn your life all around!