Life Coaching … (Retch)

Life Coaching … (Retch)

So often, it’s just the language in the way of a good thing.

I was (and suppose I still am) resistant to the term “Life Coach.” I’ve had a mental block with the concept and had to reprint my marketing material to include the term “life” in the life coaching portion of the logo.

Recently, I had a friend send me a Linkedin post discussing life coaches and indirectly suggesting the lot of them (us) are unethical snake oil salesmen, preying on the weak and dumb. I have no doubt that this is the case to some degree, as can be found in any industry. But the life coaches I know and work with are passionate, compassionate, deeply caring individuals who want to help people experience their lives in a state of empowerment.

So the question then becomes, how do you know if the Life Coach you’re considering working with is a snake oil salesman or someone who will make a difference for you?

Have a Starting Point

I approached my life coach with the idea that I wanted to increase my productivity. I was fortunate enough for him to have the instinct to inspect under the hood, helping find out why this was a desire. At the time, I wanted to improve my work performance and stick to the plans that I had set.

It would have made sense to me (and I suppose I expected) that we would make calendars and to-do lists, and he would be my accountability partner. Nothing could be further from what actually happened.

Instead, we looked deep together to discover why my performance was off. There were undoubtedly some things out of line. As a product of working toward alignment, productivity significantly increased.

But there was more. I saw so many more possibilities for what I could create in my life. Improving productivity was only the starting point.

Be Open

You’ll have to find someone who you feel specific chemistry with in order to facilitate openness. The worst-case scenario is that you are wasting your cognitive load during your sessions screening what you do and don’t feel comfortable saying to this individual. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and be in this space without judgment. This is more difficult for some of us than others.

Also, don’t be afraid to say no to working with a coach who just doesn’t feel right. You owe it to yourself to be open so that you can get the most out of the experience.

Be Coachable

This is not just referring to being able to accept feedback and criticism (although a good coach can deliver this in a way in which you can hear it well). But know where you want to get.

What is your destination?

Do you just want to work on one area of your life?

Are there multiple domains you’d like to consider?

I was once told that the coach should know where to direct the conversation. My reaction? Well, I can certainly see this point of view. But really, it is up to the client to set the endgame. With a good coach, the rest will take care of itself.

Prepare for Transformation

Our expectations set the foundation for our experience. This may seem counterintuitive at first glance.

There was once a study done at an elementary school. A group of teachers were given underperforming students but were told they were gifted in their academic performance. The children ended the year performing at a gifted level. This shows how our expectations can really set the stage for what we experience. Teachers with the expectation that children are gifted are much more likely to produce students who perform at this level.

Recall that our beliefs shape how we see the world, not the other way around.

Are You Ready?

Coaching is catching fire in the world. Whether it be a dating coach, a well-being coach, or a financial coach, people see the benefit in this type of partnership. If you’re ready to discuss this, click the button below to set up a strategy call!

YOGA MINDSET WORKSHOP

On Sunday, November 13th, 2022, join us at East Cincy Yoga for the YOGA MINDSET WORKSHOP. Tickets are available at eastcincyogaschool.com.

Have you ever struggled to explain why you like yoga so much to your family and friends? Do you want to expand your practice off the mat into your life?

The yogis of ages long past have discovered what many scientists, psychologists, and researchers are now learning once again. The mind-body connection is an important one to explore as well as exercise. Breathing alone is something that our evolution has traded for more brain capacity. Emotions are physically stored in the body’s muscles. The movements, asanas, breathing, and awareness created from yoga practice are increasingly being prescribed by doctors and therapists due to their healing power.

Today, the power of breathing has been shown to regulate vagal tones and the body’s ability to regenerate, heal, and control body temperature. Yoga, combining the power of breath and movement, is shown to have powerful health impacts beyond just stretching. These impacts range from helping curb the symptoms of anxiety and depression to lowering blood pressure and dramatically reducing the risks of heart-related health concerns.

What’s going on here?

Join us at the Yoga Mindset Workshop to learn more.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!

The Seven Mental Laws

The Seven Mental Laws

What I’ve Learned From Brian Tracy

At a time when I was burnt out, tired, hopeless, and ready to give up, I sought books to help. Brian Tracy was one of the first authors I came across that really made an impact. Tracy’s Reinvention was a game changer for me. It was prescriptive, simple, and straightforward. I have consumed several of Tracy’s works, but none was as powerful as Reinvention. 

If there were a summary of what I’ve learned from Tracy, it really could be summed up in his discussion of the Seven Mental Laws.

The Law of Control

You feel positive about yourself to the degree that you feel in control of your life. Conversely, you feel negative about yourself to the degree that you feel not in control of your life. 

Locus of control is a relatively simple concept in psychology. It refers to the degree to which people perceive their impact on their life’s outcome. If you are more likely to believe that life happens to you – not by you – then you are thought to have an external locus of control. The goal is to have an internal locus of control. In other words, to feel like you have control over your life. 

The reason many people don’t feel this way is that it takes more mental energy to own it. Our brains are always looking for ways to conserve energy, and this is one of those ways. We just blame life on something outside of ourselves. We experience some relief when we do this, reinforcing this behavior even more. 

So what can you do??

Change your thinking.

Read books that change your perspective and challenge you. Get a coach to open your mind to new possibilities for your life.

Even if it doesn’t feel entirely right, consider what you could take responsibility for that you have not before. Just try it on, explore this idea. 

This is no easy task. We think the way we do for a reason. One of those reasons is that it is reinforced somehow. That means that the current structure of your life is part of this reinforcement. It will feel like you’re going “against the grain” or fighting an uphill battle. 

The Law of Cause and Effect

There are specific causes for success and specific causes for failure. 

As human beings, we have biases and perception issues that make it extremely difficult to see the world around us for what it is. Actually, it’s more than that. There is no way for us to indeed view reality objectively. If we aren’t sure of a detail, we make it up. Often we aren’t even aware we do this. People confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Others tell lies so many times they begin to believe them themselves. 

Due to our linearity bias, we often miss the true nature of growth and change in the world around us. We don’t invest because we can’t quite intuit that the money we save now will have grown exponentially in the future. We stop our workout plan because although we lost five pounds right away, the progress slowed to a halt. These are examples of growth and change patterns that are not understood through the lens of our linearity bias. 

The truth of the matter is there is a cause for why we are at the ‘place’ we currently exist. You’re just not aware of it.

What is success to you? What could you do to cause that success? (Consider things that perhaps you’ve considered impossible in the past.) 

The Law of Belief

Whatever you become with feeling becomes your reality. 

Who you believe you are, you are. If you believe that you are going to be successful, you will be. If you believe you will fail, you will. If you believe you are lucky, you will be. If you believe you will be a millionaire (most of us don’t), you are much more likely to become one. 

The trick is you really have to believe it. Sometimes we haven’t even put language to what we believe about our lives. Once we do, we can clearly see it is us that is holding us back. To have a deep understanding of this is perhaps the most potent experience one can truly have. 

The Law of Expectations

Whatever you expect with confidence becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you expect great things to happen, they most likely will. But if you are preparing for the worst – well, you are almost manifesting it to happen. I’m not advising you to be reckless, but to expect your dreams to come true confidently.

When you wake up and think about the day ahead, what do you expect? Does it work out that way?

Most likely, yes. If you expect it to be a wonderful day, you’ll find a way to perceive it that way. On the other hand, if you believe everything will go wrong, you will only see the things that go wrong. You will fulfill your expectations. 

What you are actually doing in these scenarios is training your brain (reticular activation system) to see the positive. This impacts your mood, your behavior, and, eventually, your outcomes. Our natural state is to scan our environment for danger. Often this comes in the form of preparing for the worst. This has served the human race well for many thousands of years. However, it no longer serves the purpose for humanity it once did. Historically, it kept us alive and out of danger. Now, in modern times,  it keeps us afraid to take action to achieve our dreams. 

The Law of Attraction

You are a magnet attracting into your life that which is associated with your dominant thoughts.

What do you think most of the time? This is bound to show up in your life. This is where affirmations and declarations get their power. If you think about something so much, you are bound to notice it in your environment or attract it to you. Again, often this is simply a trick of perception. These things have always been there. You were just thinking about something else. Now, once you focus on it, you can see it. 

Tracy tells a story of a man who sold his farm and all his possessions to go abroad and dig for diamonds. He died without ever finding anything. The man he sold the farm to happen come across a huge depository of diamonds on the farm property. It was right there all along! The previous owner just couldn’t see it. It couldn’t be where he was. It had to be far, far away! 

What is it that you so desire that is already before you?

The Law of Correspondence

As within, so without. Your outer world is reflective of your inner world.

Do you see a theme here? It all starts with what’s inside of you. Who are you? What is it you believe? What do you hold dear? These thoughts and the behaviors that follow are why we have the life we have. This is true when we blame others for something. The behavior or actions that concern us in others, we often find in us.

The example I love to discuss is aggressive drivers. There is nothing that triggers me more that the way people drive. I am also an aggressive driver. Many people have told me this throughout my life. It is a tendency I’m not proud of. So when I see if outside of myself, I just let it irritate me. 

To best learn about yourself, notice what you like and dislike in others. The law of correspondence requires that these likes and dislikes are also the things you like and dislike about yourself. 

The Law of Mental Equivalency

Your thoughts become your reality. 

And this last law sums up all the other laws. What we think about is our reality. If we think we are supposed to work all the time, we will see life as one big long work day. If we think that evil people are out to get us and ruin our lives, we will most likely encounter people who don’t seem to want to help us. “They are ruining our lives!” we’ll think.

What we think about is our reality. With this in mind, we must learn to direct our thoughts to where we desire them to go. Otherwise, the mind will just continually throw up ideas and thoughts at us and most of us will simply identify with them. We will believe that we are the thought. But that’s not the way it has to work.

We aren’t in control of what thought will come up next.

Don’t believe me? Let’s try an experiment….

Don’t think about a pink elephant. 

No, I said don’t think about it.

It is almost impossible not to think of a pink elephant if someone brings it up. We are not naturally endowed to control our own thoughts. That is why we have the issues we do. But we can learn to have more control over our thoughts and how we relate to them. This is what therapy, life coaching, and meditation can help you with.

In sum, start with changing you on the inside. Then, watch your world completely change on the outside. 

Ready to take control?

My 40’s Manifesto: Update #9

My 40’s Manifesto: Update #9

A New Journey…

Where I last left you was a wonderful place. A place of summation and grace. The extended moment of weightlessness a skier must feel at the apex of a jump, where gravity is in mid-reach, readying to pull her back to earth – free for but a moment. It is and was a moment to celebrate. A journey inward is set on its way and, for now, perhaps, at a place of completion.

A new journey calls, a journey (quite frankly) I never thought I’d take. A journey of soul-filling purpose and duty. A Journey biology was genuinely built for. A life-altering new world and path. One I didn’t believe I’d ever live in or on. A world of joy, legacy, and nurturing – in all the best and most challenging ways.  

A new phrase I never thought I’d utter; I am a father. And in adventurous fashion (the brand in which I attempt to live my life), I will not just be a father to a newborn baby. That is just not adventurous enough.

I will be a father to two newborn babies

Twins.

Fraternal. 

Life feels exciting as I am in a state of anticipation and planning.

This year, in particular, has felt as though the path I travel down has been set for me. And here, I consider my objective in this task to commit to the best decade of my life. 

Tenet #1: Pursue Fearlessly, Embracing Failure as a Teacher

With children coming into my life, I will certainly have the opportunity to embrace failure. And I have found a sense of peace in resolving not to be attached to the outcome here and in other places in my life. I am certain to look foolish and make some ‘tropey’ dad mistakes. I look forward to what I’ll learn, to being present for each and every moment with my children, now until my end. 

There is a benefit to having children at this advanced (lol) age. I understand that life is not a destination but something only available in the present. Planning and strategizing are great, but it is not where life happens. This activity behavior only bends the now into what you wish it to become. Rarely do things end as planned. 

I am motivated to fail more. 

There has been a bit of a weight off my shoulders (interestingly enough). It is new and inspiring to live for someone else. Living trying to meet only your own needs and desires can be exhausting. It is analogous to trying to catch your own shadow. Because I equate failure with learning, I am far more willing to fail with this equation in mind. 

Currently, I am failing quite often in my business! And these failures contain lessons to which I owe a lot of learning.

Tenet #2: Connect and Engage with Relationships

I have traveled much of late, visiting those who I miss and should see more. I have visited my brother and his wife in Denver, my friends in New York, and I’ve had family come to visit me. It struck me during my visit to NYC in February; there are so many people that I love and seldom see. Just being with them is a reward in itself. And I’ve taken pains to ensure that is the case. With the passing of a dear friend, I am more aware than ever that the ‘time-spent-with’ is the essential stuff of life. 

I have built new and special relationships with those who report to me professionally, my coaching community, and more. It is not always easy to keep oneself open and vulnerable. The opposite mode was my habit for most of my life. 

And I have a relationship that has created children with which I want to grow and deepen. Ensuring that there is a balanced sense of care, concern, and connection and ensuring my fierce desire for independence and lack of constraint is considered. 

Tenet #3: Be Authentic

The challenge here is self-acceptance. It is now clear that I’ve been deathly afraid my entire life of being “found out.” As if some element of my person would reveal my unworthiness. My commitment to presence and disconnection from the outcome has helped in this. The damage of inauthenticity does not affect my life as it once did. However, a lot of energy is given to “catching” thoughts that drove behavior in the past. It is a daily practice at work, day-to-day and moment to moment.

I don’t have the level of shame that once existed when I compare myself to others, especially those who I admire. If and when I see that I fall short of their example, I only allow it to help chart my courses.

Tenet # 4: Accept Love With Humility and Grace

Where am I with this? Hmmm…

This is difficult. The reason being is that once I realized more and more boundary issues and beliefs that prevented me from accepting love, the easier and easier it became for me to achieve what I set out to do. Allow love. I think a simplification needs to be made. 

I’ve had the additional realization of late that sharing the feeling of love in traditional means contains a different meaning for me than it does for most. Professing love can feel like saying, “I will now put my needs aside and only see to yours.” Or… “I am committed to feeling this way forever.” Or…”Let us now allow the necessary and societal approved practices and standards of a common relationship.” 

Tenet #5: Experience Deeply

I think this is my favorite.

Say what you will about astrology; my sun sign is cancer. I’ve never truly felt it did much to describe me. However, I have come to know that I naturally feel very deeply, a trait commonly associated with cancer sun signs. I experience this frequently. And it has opened locked doors in my heart and soul. If there was ever a chance for my partner and me not to go through with the pregnancy, the veto vote did not come from my intellectual self. It came from somewhere deeper, a place that understood the determinist nature of our existence and embraced it. For example, I knew before she knew there was new life (I did not know there were two new lives).

I have been overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude this whole year, as I have noted time and again. I have also felt a sense of mercy that I have not experienced. It seems like it is coming from an external place, but it is really coming from me. I’m forgiving, letting go, not living in memory or mourning a great expectation. 

Tenet #6: Go Public

I’m learning much about marketing. I am connected, and I have a great mentor and guide. I am also sharing what I’ve learned, helping others to heal. And I’ve learned an important distinction here. There is a difference between healing and cure. They are two very different paths that sometimes (and honestly, very rarely) meet. This is where the community is important. As humans, we have a default ability to connect and help each other heal. This is what going public and being connected mean to me. The more public, the more connected, and the more healing. 

From a utilitarian standpoint, I am “putting myself out there.” I’m teaching and growing my yoga practice. I am doing my first seminar, “The Yoga Mindset.” I have scaled and improved my website, put together an email campaign, planned a podcast season, and posted regularly on Instagram and now LinkedIn. The process is helping me understand and solidify my knowledge as well.

Brining my full identity to light in social situations remains challenging, but more is happening in this domain then ever.

Updates and the Road Ahead

Previous 40’s Manifesto updates can be found HERE.

As I mentioned above, a simplification should happen at this point. Accepting love with Humility and Grace is wordy, but Allowing Love feels more open yet comments on both the resistance to accept and encompasses the humility that love requires.

As I moved through year 43, these tenets will be my guide as I consider family-building, new roles, and how I’ll ensure all parts of me will carry over the threshold. I can see many challenges ahead. I am inspired by them and moved to have them become the new context for my life.

BOOKCLUB: The Myth of Normal, by Gabor Mate

BOOKCLUB: The Myth of Normal, by Gabor Mate

Physician’s New Book Says a lot of What You’ve Been Thinking…

The book’s title, The Myth of Normal, reminds us of a fact of which we are already aware. That normal is a term brought about and supported by science. Normal is the curve’s middle when considering a dataset. None of us are actually there – in the middle. And thus, none of us normal. 

The word normal did not enter into the English language until the 19th century in its current use.1 And now it has become an example, a goal for us to achieve.

We’ve all been asking and working towards being…normal.

One of the most frequent questions clients ask is, “Is that (feeling, instance, behavior) normal?” 

In a book that challenges the medical field, the psychology and psychiatry field, and certain well-known intellectual voices in the zeitgeist, The Myth of Normal’s message is welcomed. The message is that chronic illness – both mental and physical – is a function of our toxic culture.

Our Wounding

The word trauma comes from the Greek word “wound.” Our social and relational habits come from our wounding experienced as a child, even before birth. Often our traumas are inflicted before we have the language to put to it. And so we don’t have a conscious memory of the trauma itself.

Trauma separates us from our bodies. For example, not being in touch with your feelings signifies a disconnect from the body. If there was suffering during our pre-language period, when we are infants and even before, the mind’s only defense is to shut off its connection to the emotion. And this reaction can become generalized without our knowledge. We will then disassociate with our bodies. Sometimes this shows up as an inability of one to be aware of when they are satiated, so they overeat. This can also present itself in disassociation from our gut feelings. It can show up in physical ailments as one not knowing when ill or in pain.

Genetics Don’t Mean as Much as You Think

Interestingly, the author argues that the once heralded human genome has failed to have the promised predictive potency. Instead, doctors are finding human beings to have a remarkable ability to adapt to the environment regardless of genetics.2 Not to say that genetics play no role, but rather that doctors have consistently underestimated the environmental and internal psychological influences on illness. Mate produces many examples illustrating the medical field’s tendency towards this error. Stress and mindset have just as much influence on health outcomes as genetics.

Human Nature

Researchers, thinkers, and scientists have long argued over how to define human nature. Mate posits (with the support of many and varying thought leaders) that attaining an identity begins before birth. Especially when considering a sturdy or fragile foundation. This experience can be summed up in the child’s experience of security. While it was once thought that newborns seek connection with their caregivers solely due to their inability to survive without them, it is now known that emotional and social needs are just as important to survival, well-being, and overall health. This is demonstrated by the fact that when our panic-grief systems are not taken care of by our caregivers, (as in the case of not having our needs met -hunger, emotional closeness) our consciousness becomes dominated by our natural systems of survival, fear, panic, and rage. This overwhelm of these systems can create serious issues in life outcomes and experience.

Our Amazing Mind

Mate illustrates the power of our mind in interesting ways. In one instance, he discusses a woman’s journey from being heavily medicated to becoming a psychologist herself. The young woman was diagnosed with depression, borderline personality disorder, dysthymia, panic disorder, and ADHD. She was on several medications, including three antidepressants and a benzodiazepine. Now a therapist and no longer medicated, she explains that she made a choice as a child. She could conclude that her caretakers were vitriolic, inept, and unable to take care of her, or she could decide that it was all her fault. She chose the latter. Believing that if she took on the responsibility, then she could work hard to be deserving of proper love and care. This showed up in her mental health. Her adaptation to this perceived threat could not tell the difference between major or minor threats. And so the more threats that appeared, the more she took on.

The woman’s undoing of this belief brought her to a place of healing – as Gabor is quick to note that there is a difference between healing and cured.

No gene has ever been found to be causal to the presence of ADHD, Autism, or Schizophrenia. These diagnoses are likely the result of an adaptation that once protected the individual in question. They are not the individual’s fault nor the fault of heritable genes, but instead the result of unaddressed wounding.

The Book’s Course

The book goes on to address issues with the larger society we live in, the problems with capitalism on our psychology, how racism, sexism, politics, and social mores impact our cultural trauma, and the difference between cured and healing – two distinct states.

The Myth of Normal gives some direction on healing, offering frameworks to think about compassion, wholeness, and self-improvement. The book even touches on the promise of psychedelics on the path of healing.

The book is dense, to say the least. It’s safe to say it may take one or more passes to take it all in. In sum, Myth draws a picture of the piecemeal research mosaic of the last two decades and more. It highlights that our personal experience is important. It is also far more likely to be similar to what we all experience. Statistics, standard deviations, and normal ranges can help us only so far in understanding our complex nature.

It is telling that this book is not written by a new scientist or doctor attempting to make a name for himself, but by someone who is an experienced doctor and practitioner, seventy-eight years old. Mate brings both his experience and mistakes to the forefront helping us understand the context in which we are living and what is truly important. And that is understanding is how to heal ourselves, each other, and our culture.

References

  1. https://languagehat.com/normal/
  2. Mate, G., 2022. The Myth of Normal. 1st ed. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.
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