Creating a 'you' shaped life
Looking for change
You look for a coach because you want change. You want something in your life to be different.
The war within
More often than not, we come to coaching because there's something not quite right about how we're living. We feel dissatisfied and restless. When we dig a little deeper, we may even find we have parts of ourselves that are at war with each other. We may not even be aware that there is an internal discord until we talk to someone about it. All we know is that we're not at ease. We then become aware of an internal voice that squashes us down every time we think of lifting our heads above the metaphorical parapet. It tells us we're wrong, we can't, we shouldn't, we're not. It's all very defeating - and sometimes just plain mean.
What we 'swallow whole'
This voice is one of the single biggest obstacles to our growth. In coaching, we call it the 'saboteur', or our inner critic. It reflects back at us our assumptions about who we are and the rules we have internalised which define what we can or can't do. These are the rules we've 'ingested' from our families, our culture, our peers. We make up all sorts of stories about ourselves and how we should or shouldn't behave - what we are allowed or not allowed to have. In therapy, we call these 'introjects'. They are literally rules and stories and beliefs about ourselves, and the world that we have ingested, that aren't ours, and it's exhausting trying to align ourselves to them, especially as we grow older.
Having said that, some introjects may be useful as guiding principles - like 'don't touch a hot stove with bare hands', or 'don't sleep with strangers'. But ideally, we want them to be conscious choices. Because introjects are like living, breathing beings, sitting squarely in our belief system, affecting everything we do (or a lot of it) and impacting our radiance, creativity, and joy (for better or worse).
When our natural sense of what is ok for us runs counter to an introject - this is what creates the war within. Some healthy part of us knows that they aren't our rules or beliefs, yet we can't quite allow ourselves the freedom to choose another path. This can create depression (compression of feelings), anxiety (over-stimulation and inability to withdraw to gather and restore), and burn out, to name but a few! It also can paralyse us into inaction - we get overwhelmed by our internal needs and/or pressures and external ideals of what it means to be a successful (insert 'role' here).
You can reclaim your life and your choices as your own
To live a healthy fulfilled life, your life needs to be 'you' shaped, not defined by others. You don't have to live encumbered by your past or your environment. You can create a life that is made up of people, behaviours, and actions that you have chosen, actively and consciously.
Fundamental to powerful and transformational coaching is this process of discovery, undoing, and recovery back to an authentic self, and it takes time. Once the veil drops and you see the introjects for what they are, the natural pull to do as you have always done will run counter to your desire for change. So, two realities will be overlaid - the old and the emerging. For a while, it feels strange, and then it feels like freedom.
So, if you want to go super slow with your boyfriend, when everyone else is already having baby number three, that's fine. If you don't want the promotion, despite peer and family pressure (and the idea that progress in our career reflects our worth), that's ok too. You may not like going out and seeing friends at all. You might like time on your own reading a book in the garden, you may want to club until the sun comes up once in a while, or give yourself permission to stop, to be angry, sad, or resentful.
The key to all of this is allowing yourself to feel how you feel. Making space for your truth gives you the space to see what you want to do about that. And then you can choose.
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