Life Coaching: Realism Versus Idealism and how to find the balance.

Life coaching is still not generally understood by the vast majority of people today and it is still something of intrigue to people I speak to. What does life coaching do? The answer is very simple. We all want to live our lives to the fullest. How do we do this? By being ourselves to the fullest! When I ask my clients what they feel they would like to change about their lives, the response is always the same. Everyone wants to change some aspect of themselves on a very fundamental level so their goals can be realised. From my experience, the most effective coaching experiences take place on the level of personal growth in which the client realises something about themselves that opens a door of unlimited opportunity. Fears and perceived limitations can cause individuals to shy away from experiencing and living the lives they deserve. I have found that these fears are usually based on an unrealistic perception of the client's current life situation. This then encouraged me to think about a very interesting and thought provoking question. How should we interpret the reality of our situation and its improvement? Is it better to be idealistic or realistic?

Are we more likely to succeed in changing our lives and accomplishing our goals if we are realistic? The answer to that question is: YES! Of course we will achieve our goals if we approach them from a constructive perspective. As a life coach, being realistic is the single most important aspect and practical approach to achieving our goals. How else can clarity and goal orientation be established? Without a strong foundation laid at the beginning of the coaching process, there will be a reduced chance of actually achieving an outcome that is effective and long lasting. There also comes a point in the life coaching process when the ‘reality check’ approach begins to lose its appeal. When does realism block the progress to actually making the changes necessary to accomplishing our goals? (Believe me, this can happen!) There is a stumbling block waiting around the corner which can steal our motivation and inspiration for wanting to continue with life coaching. Without our idealism, how do we find the driving force which keeps us motivated on the road towards change?

Visualisation, imagination and projection can never be underestimated or taken for granted when embarking on the life coaching journey. Having dreams and ideas are instrumental to creating the success we want. Has anyone ever said to you ‘Oh, you’re such a dreamer!’ (That’s my favourite one!) People always used to say that to me in my younger years and I used to reply by saying, ‘Why, yes I am, thank you.’ I didn’t see it as a negative criticism as I knew my best ideas and goals came from my ability to imagine the possibilities. Who doesn’t like to dream? Being a dreamer is fine - as long as you have the dream anchored in what you can realistically achieve. Never give up a dream. Find a way to turn it into a reality by adopting a realistic approach which will ensure success. No matter what the obstacle is, you can always find a way to overcome it as long as you approach its accomplishment realistically. Then, the skies the limit! Life coaching success is anchored in realism and it is magically brought to life with an intention which holds some aspect of our idealism. It is then possible to live our lives to the fullest as we have found the magic formula that keeps us on the fast-track to lasting and continued success.

© Christina McDonald 2009.

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