“So if I come to you for Coaching, what will make you any different than the last three Coaches I’ve had?” The question was asked as a challenge and came out with a very surly tone.
I chuckled when I responded with: “Maybe absolutely nothing… Maybe everything!” I continued with this: “I’m certainly not telling you that I am the Holy Grail of all Coaching… And I’ll refrain from saying that there’s one common denominator in all four of these situations that we will have to deal with…”
The ice was broken and I actually got a grin from him, knowing he was the common denominator.
It’s not an uncommon challenge that I hear. And usually by the time people get to me, they’ve already been to several counselors, psychologist, and/or Coaches. I frequently hear that I am the “last stop.” It’s a good thing that I love a good challenge! “Bring it! Bring the pressure!” I often respond!
The truth is, there are many great Coaches, counselors, and psychologist out there. However, I believe that there is a “Circle of Life” not that different from the one we learned from the Lion King.
When I train and certify life Coaches, I teach four components in the Circle of Life. At least when working with people who desire an abundant life.
Although I’ve never found a graphic that quite pictures it the way I would like, the truth is that the four components are like a propeller in our lives. They propel us upward Into growth and advancement; or in reverse, they propel us downward into depression, anxiety, despair, and backwards momentum.
One of the very first things I do, regardless of what people come to me for, is to find out whether they are being propelled upward/onward or downward/backward in their lives.
I point out that there is no neutral. Well, you may shift into neutral for about five seconds, but the propeller always keeps going. Propelling you upward or downward. My question to you is this: which direction are you being propelled currently? Regardless of your answer, we can get you propelled even more powerfully upward, or reverse you from a downward spiral to upward!
There you have all of the basics of helping people. We can solve problems for them, fix things for them, affirm them, validate them,… But what they really need help with is getting themselves propelled in the right direction.
So what are the four blades of the propeller?
1. Understanding Our Potential.
2. Responding with Emotional Mastery
3. Making Quality Decisions, Based on Our Needs
4. Evaluating What We Believe
Let’s look at these in a little more depth:
1. Understanding Our Potential
All of us get our view of our potential set by parents, caretakers, teachers, Coaches, clergy, etc. by the time we are about 7 years old. Hopefully, yours was set with a sense of the sky, stars and galaxies being your only limits.
However, all too often, well-meaning adults place more limits on our beliefs about our potential than assuring us there are no limits. Having a high floor and low ceiling on your potential effects EVEYTHING about your life! Your fulfillment, your success, your relationships, your finances, your spiritual life, your emotional maturity, your health, and on and on!
I’ll give you a personal example (in hopes that it can help you embrace your true potential and eliminate preset limits). I struggled with finances throughout my young adult life. I realized where the struggle came from when I began to look at limits set on my financial potential.
I remembered a repeated monologue I heard from my dad: “You better marry someone rich, because it’s your only hope to ever do well financially. The poor get poorer, and the rich get richer. You’re a girl, and girls just don’t have the ability to go from poor to rich.”
I believe he meant well, but I realized my financial potential had severe limits set on it. I did the work to break through that, and in less than a year, my income went from low $30k annually, to six figures. Yes, I was working hard that year, but no harder than I had worked in the previous years.
On another front, my band director believed I could do anything, and he spoke that over me often. As a result, I was the first freshman to play in the symphonic band. I won medal after medal, and ultimately got a full-ride scholarship in music from Clemson University (which I did not take – oh my!)
What limits are set on your potential? That’s not a rhetorical question. I hope you will take some time to review what limits were set on your view of your potential.
2. Responding with emotional mastery
Usually in critical moments, we all tend to react rather than respond. Knee jerk reactions are usually made from a place of emotional immaturity, instead of emotional maturity.
If we take time to think (and/or pray) about things, assess the situation well, get some counsel, mentoring or Coaching, we are much more likely to respond from a place of emotional maturity.
However, we live in an environment mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and relationally where reacting and “telling it like it is” or just “going with our gut” reigns. That’s a great definition of emotional immaturity.
What about you? How do you tend to handle challenges? Do you “react” or do you take time to seriously assess things and “respond” from a place of emotional maturity? (Again, this is not rhetorical).
Reacting is a strong force that turns our propeller to downward/backward. Getting input, evaluating and pondering before responding is a strong force that has the potential to propel us upward and forward.
3. Making decisions, based on our needs
Ninety percent of the time, our decisions are made because they meet our needs. And there’s a high probability that you don’t even know what your survival needs are, and what your needs to thrive are.
It is critical that you know what your top survival needs are, and how to get them met in healthy ways. Otherwise, they are like an undertow in your brain that will suck you under, and make decisions for you. Often, not decisions that are the best.
Poor decision making has been researched extensively, and indicates that both in business and personal life, decisions made hastily (without some form of evaluation process) have a greater than 75% chance of being poor decisions. Neuropsychology adds that failure to train your brain to make quality decisions increases the likelihood of both depression and anxiety. In addition, it indicates that the brain will default to decisions that meet survival needs, eliminating a sense of thriving.
What about you? Do you have a means of making decisions according to some sort of evaluation process? Or do you allow survival instincts to take over?
4. Evaluating what we believe
Did you know that your beliefs control every moment of your life? I know if you read my work or have attended my workshops, you are well versed in this. For those who are newer to this, I want to drive this point home.
We all have firmly set beliefs about almost everything. They were set in us by the time we were in first grade. I’ve written a lot about it being set in our Owner’s Manual, and installed on our hard drive (click here to read more about that).
But when you enter the realm of examining which way your life is being propelled, you’ll do even more digging into what is programmed in your brain.
For example, when couples come with relationship difficulties, one of the first things I want to know is … What do you believe about relationship success? What do you believe will resolve issues? What do you believe you could be doing better?
Why? Because if you believe relationships are “hard” … yours will be hard. If you believe only people with lots of money have good relationships, you will wish you had married someone richer. If you believe that issues are resolved by fighting it out, you will fight it out until you destroy your relationship. Those beliefs must be addressed to create relationship fulfillment.
What about you? What do you believe about the area that you are struggling with or challenged by? Turning this one blade around can literally create miracles!
Let me give you a real example about how the propelling works in our lives. Let’s start with the man who issued me the challenge in the beginning of the blog about what would be different working with me.
Once I got him off the defensive, I asked him what he would really like help with that he had not found breakthrough in other situations?
He shared his story about multiple failures at fulfilling his dream of owning his own business. I asked him what he believed about his potential as a business owner.
He rolled his eyes and said he really thought he could do well in his first business that was in country music. He shared that they played in some of the more well/known country music venues like Billy Bob’s. I asked what happened and he said they ran out of money and he lost band members.
I asked how he responded to that challenge, and he said, “I just did what my wife said… “ I asked what that was, and he said, “She looked at me and said, ‘You aren’t ever going to make it, so just get a J – O – B!‘“ So I got pissed off and I did just that!
“Any regrets?“ I asked? With even more anger, he responded: “Well, hell yeah!“
“So you didn’t like the decision, but you did it anyway?” He nodded.
“So what need were you getting met by that decision?” He pondered a moment and said, “I guess to make sure I could put food on the table, and help her buy three or four more pairs of shoes to take up all the closet space.“
“So you were meeting your need for security by meeting her need for security?“ He nodded again.
So what did you believe about yourself as a businessman when that happened? He rolled his eyes and said rhetorically, “What do you think?!” I assured him that I had an idea but I wanted to hear his words. His words were filled with gems for our work together.
After a labored sigh, his voice broke slightly, “I believed my dad was right! I’m never going to amount to anything!”
Then I asked what business venture number two was. He half mumbled, “Designing and installing outdoor kitchens.” I already knew the answer to the next question. But I asked anyway: “ What did you think about your potential as you began that business?“
His response was no surprise. “I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it because I assumed the same thing would happen.”
Not to pour salt in the wound, but to show him that we could intervene successfully by doing something different, I said: “And with your propeller spinning backwards and downward, it did not propel you to success did it?“
He shook his head, and before he could respond, I asked: “And I’m sure the third business was even worse, and now you probably don’t believe you can do anything at all. But what if we could intervene and start your propeller propelling you upward and forward?“
I really was not expecting a response, but with a boyish grin, he said, “That’s what could make my experience with Coaching significantly different.”
Then I smiled and said, “Well, let’s act like we are from Planet Nike and JUST DO IT!”
Any time one blade turns downward or backwards for any reason, if we do not catch it, our life will be spiraling in that direction. Who knows exactly where his backward spiral began? But let me show you how I assessed his situation, so you can assess yours when you are in a downward/backward spiral (and I hope you are not right now, but keep this handy to help yourself or others in that negative spiral!)
By the end of the conversation I shared with you, I knew some very key things that I will use to help you assess your situation when spiraling downwards (whether in business, relationships, jobs, health, finances, etc.):
- He had very strong words spoken over his potential (blade #1) by his father. So I knew we had to intervene on that. (What words have been spoken over your potential? You must assess that, because research indicates that we develop only a small portion of our potential if negative things have been spoken over it by any significant person in our lives).
- He responded (blade #2) to his situation with anger, and ruled out any options to keep going. (How do you respond to your situations? If you respond with emotional immaturity, you can be assured that there will be regret. And by the way, most of us respond out of emotional immaturity when we are in knee-jerk reaction. Always assess your emotions and get support, mentoring, or Coaching before making major decisions).
- He decided (blade #3) to get a job to meet his need for security (afraid his wife might leave him, and absolutely crushed his need for adventure). One of the forewarnings I give everyone about not getting their needs met, or meeting them in healthy ways is this:
Research indicates that we are at great risk of giving up our goals, sacrificing our dreams and/or violating our morals/values when needs go unmet.
I knew immediately his #1 need was adventure, but he had no idea about that. He was focused on her need (which is a good thing, but not in isolation).
(My question for you is this … what are you risking, giving up, sacrificing and/or violating because you don’t know your #1 need, or you are not getting it met in a healthy way? More on that in next week’s blog …)
- His belief (blade #4) that he would never become anything was further reinforced. (What about you? What negative beliefs are being reinforced that spirals your life and your potential further downward/backward?
We intervened first in turning his view of his potential around. Then we intervened in addressing his knee jerk reactions from emotional immaturity. Then we worked with understanding his need for adventure, and finally, we worked on his beliefs around being a businessman.
Before we completed the work on his last blade, he relaunched his second business, designing and installing outdoor kitchens. I won’t say it was an overnight success, because he had to recover from a few stumbles. However, he now has a sales team, a crew of skilled builders he trained, so that all he does is the actual design work. This has given him enough free time to put together another band. They primarily do weddings, bar/bat mitzvah’s, and parties. But it’s enough to enjoy both, and he just finished a seven figure year in an economy that many businesses failed in.
He had such a strong propeller with four blades that there was no way to go but upward and forward!
Recently, I had another family contact me, referred by him. They told me, that he practically forced them to call me. They said that all he told them was that their propellers were all screwed up and if they didn’t sharpen the blades on it that they were going down.
I laughed out loud. Perhaps Coaching comes down to exactly what he said:
- Your propellors are screwed up
- You better sharpen the blades
- Or you are going down
Or maybe in a more positive light:
- Get your propellors propelling you in the right direction
- Get your blades sharpened
- Because then there’s no where to go but upward and forward
Anytime we are propelled in a downward or backward direction, we can intervene in any of the four circles of life and turn it around to propelling us in an upward and forward position.
Next week, I will share those interventions with you. It’s something anyone can do. Coaches love to do it because it’s very fulfilling. But if you are willing to roll up your sleeves, you can do it too! For yourself, and for others.
I can assure you of this, there is nothing better than plopping your head on the pillow at night, knowing you’ve made a major difference in someone’s life! And better yet, making yourself a more effective World Changer!