Let's continue our exploration of fulfillment... what happens when our culture, or lack thereof, shapes our relationship to life or blocks us from the feelings of fulfillment we seek?
I say "lack thereof" when it comes to culture because I grew up feeling as if my culture was nothing more than Walmart intentionally putting family-run businesses out of business and materialistic holidays.
I was originally born and raised in a small town in Southwestern CO. In CO my best moments of fulfillment came from the mountain streams and chasing butterflies. In the big city of Tucson, AZ I felt isolated and alone. CO had a culture of ease and outdoor life. AZ had a culture of... well, I wasn't sure besides the big city Targets and McDonald's peppered all over the place.
I now see culture much differently. I still live in Tucson but have grown beyond the material city pollution. Besides the hundred cookie-cutter big box companies, each location is rich with culture if you seek it out. Different places, different things.
Traditional culture can be sought out, like visiting Peru to experience the rich foods and traditions cherished by the people. Other cultures we are born into existence over time and have just come to be without much well thought out intention behind them. These unintended cultures have created myths.
What happens when our culture has default settings, myths, that keep us stuck? This week's resources takes a closer look at this side of culture. Is any of this impacting your client's life? Most likely.
Coaching Video of the Week
Cultural influence, cultural myths and connecting fully to your life:
This week we are exploring the distinction between "happiness" and "fulfillment". Simon Sinek notes that happiness comes and goes. Yet, fulfillment stays with us.
In coaching, we are helping our clients seek fulfillment and not just happiness.
Personally, I feel happy when the stars align, yet fulfilled when I live a life aligned with my values and accomplish what I set out to accomplish. How about you?
I hope you enjoy today's resource!
Watch Simon Sinek as he discusses how happiness comes and goes,
but fulfillment lasts:
My friend and mentor, Sandy Hogan, spoke to me about how to best handle missed opportunities when we do not listen to our calling and "wake up one day to realize the bus has left the station and I'm not on it." These are called regrets. The following is her advice on dealing with these regrets.
The Steps to Dealing with Regrets
By Sandy Hogan
#1 - "There is a benefit to regret. You won't let it happen again. Disappointment helps the ego to understand the value of your gifts to life." In other words, you are disappointed because you care and value what passed.
#2 - "The clearer you are, the more willing you will be to take the step." As we examine our disappointment, we become more clear what we value.
#3 - "Allow yourself to grieve dreams unfulfilled. Grieving and remorse may also act as a reset and adjust the calling in a more appropriate way that is in alignment with current resources. For example, I could have been a tightrope walker in my 20s. I'm now a tightrope walker between aging and saging in my 60s."
#4 - "Nature never wastes anything if you don't hear the doorbell the fist time, spirit will come around and next time ring it twice. Spirit doesn't give up. We do."
#5 - "Examine your commitment levels." Maybe you were not ready to commit yet. What might you need to say no to in the future, in order to say yes to something greater?
#6 - "To relaunch your hope, answer what is immediate today. See your life as a gift today."
Reflecting on Sandy's wisdom reminds me of how powerful it is to place the mind in allegiance to the heart. Many people live in their head and then wonder why they worry. Well if the answers are in the heart, of course life would feel worrisome, we are looking in the wrong place for our answers.
What is your heart calling you to do?
What will it take to follow it?
We've spent the last two weeks on our calling. We covered the Top 10 Reason's People Don't Answer Their Calling and then The 7 Steps to Answering Your Calling. This week we look at the question: What if I feel called but I'm apprehensive? How do I know I'm truly being called to something greater?
These are questions many of us grapple with. I hope today this exploration sheds light on your truth.
As my friend and mentor Sandy puts it, "Develop your hearing-aids". Below, I've captured Sandy's advice and further reflections for our Answering Your True Calling series.
Sandy's advice on Answering Your True Calling:
"Listening to the small callings is an invitation for hearing the bigger calling. Listening to the small along the way, in day to day life, prepares the path and grows our faith so that by the time the bigger calling shows up we are ready."
"Not all callings are paid. You may feel called to clean up the neighborhood you live in, or start a community garden." You may feel called to pay for the elderly woman's groceries in front of you. Not every calling, is a calling for fame and fortune. The most unfortunate missed callings are the one's that show up daily and are the simplest to fulfill.
"What is at stake by not listening? What is the worse thing that could happen?" What if you took a risk to find out? What if it became an adventure or you became a detective following the clues of your life more closely to see where they lead you? Sandy asks us to reflect further, "How much does your personal comfort prevent you from answering?"
"What if I feel called, but fear it is the wrong number?" Sandy notes this as a common fear and then adds, "First, there is no wrong number. What seems like a dead-end or an off-putting idea, or conflicting ideas ruminating... are all indicative of the true calling that will emerge when it is ready." Again, listening to the promptings you feel now, paves the path for your future.
"To access your calling consider who in life you admire? Then look at what qualities they embody. You may feel impressed by Maya Angelo, so look at the qualities she embodies. Strive to embody the qualities of Maya Angelo versus trying to measure your life against Maya Angelo. These qualities are a reflection of your calling. Be careful to not be called into a persona. A true calling is authentic to you."
I believe we are all called to something greater. When we don't listen, we feel it. It becomes the empty feeling in the heart. Then we attempt to cover that empty feeling up with ice-cream, TV, other people's ideals, texting, etc. etc.
The question to look at is, "To what is calling me?" To explore this, I invite you to keep a "Calling Journal" for one month.
After asking Sandy last week about the top 10 reasons that people do not follow their calling, I asked her, "What advice do you have to overcome these?"
Sandy said, "Even in the Bible it talks about the time in each boy and girl's life when it is time to give up childhood and cleave to their spouse. This message goes beyond growing up to get married. Metaphorically it alludes to us growing up and maturing through cleaving to something greater than ourselves."
She continued, "What are the conditions in your life that get you to say "yes", "no", or "maybe" to that which is greater than you?" In other words, what is it you need to take that next step to the next chapter?
Below are The 7 Steps To Answering the Call so that if your calling is calling you don't hang up the phone!
#1 - If you are called, the means will show up. This requires trust. Trust in yourself and then extending faith to the bigger picture that is unfolding in front of you. Participation is your choice. Make it a game of "choose your own adventure" and see what happens when you follow it!
#2- We each have a patch of grass to attend to in our lifetime. Many people get lost in the fear before starting, or give up too soon. Know that you have a patch a grass. Will you tend to it? Or, sometimes we judge other people's mission and avoid our own. Tree huggers are often made fun of. Yet, thank goodness they exist because without them, we wouldn't have clean air. Every person's purpose is unique contribution to the health of the whole system, including yours. This leads to #3.
#3 - If we all attended to our own calling, the world, the planet, work environments and even taxes could all be positive. Humans have sorely overcomplicated human life. We don't need a science report to prove this, we just need to go fill out a tax form. This over-complication need not be. I firmly believe that if we each step into our life purpose we would not be seeing such unnecessary over-complications. Your life's work will be a gift to many.
#4 - Go within so you don't go without. This is a more advanced spiritual key to life. Each of us has an inner guide. It calls us to take that next step, talk to that person, or to do something differently. When we are out of touch with this element of ourselves, we are losing out. In such a fast paced world, many people are disconnected from themselves. Us coaches experience this almost daily. As we provide the space for people to reconnect with their passion and purpose and take concrete steps to bring their gifts to life, they experience their life in a whole new way. Furthermore, the coaching space is often the only time a client may have taken to go within to learn what they are truly capable of. We just aren't taught how to do this growing up. You can start by creating a practice of listening to your intuition.
#5 - The inner-game, leads to outward-gain. When you follow your calling, it is paramount importance to clear the fears. Fear blocks us from what's possible. Keep in mind this simple Sufi teaching anytime fear comes knocking. "Fear is only half of a message. It tells us what we do not want. Your heart has the other half of the message - of what you do want." If you feel fear, thank it for what it is telling you that you don't want. You can even create a plan to avoid something negative happening. For example: If I have a keynote speech and I don't want to be laughed at, I'm going to prepare way in advance. Then, the important part. What is it you do want? Identifying this is important. It will enable you to take steps in the right direction.
#6 - Start small. One step at a time. In the rock climbing world, we have a saying, "Start off slow... go, go, go! Start off fast and you just won't last." What is one simple thing you can do to follow what is calling you? Big or small. It need not be a huge feat. It may just be one phone call, or one gift to a stranger. Listen to call ... let it guide you.
#7 - Get mentored. There is no reason to go it alone, or re-invent the wheel. Finding a mentor may feel daunting because we are no longer raised in a society that has elders to guide us as we mature, or to develop our potentials and wisdoms. We now have more olders than elders to be here for us. The good news is that coaching is the next phase in personal evolution, the new elder of our times. In coaching, the coach takes us into learning to our Highest-Self; the you without the fears, defenses or self-doubts. The confident, strong, powerful, wise You. No other modality does this. Seek out a coach, or community mentor, that resonates with you and be amazed how much farther you will get!
By Sandy Hogan
Reflections by Laurel Elders
#1 - "I am afraid to give up security."
#2 - "Why me? If I can do this, so can anyone."
#3 - "This has already been done before. Why do it again?"
#4 - "Who would pay me for this?"
#5 - "What a ridiculous thought."
#6 - "If (fill in the blanks) were no object, then I would do it."
#7 - "I'm too busy."
#8 - "I don't have the means to make this happen?"
#9 - "How can I sustain my energy if I head in a new direction?"
#10 - "The last time I listened to my heart, I got burned."
Do any of these stop you in your tracks?
Which one has the most grip?
Have you noticed the common thread above? Fear. Worry. Doubt. When we experience a negative emotion, remember that negative connotes "absence of". Something is missing.
What do you need to follow you're calling? What is calling you that you are brushing aside? What will it take for you to face your calling?
For me, it was "I'm too busy." Yet, the truth was, all I needed to do was rework my priorities. And now 7 years later, the school is here. I felt called in 2009. It took me 19 months to answer. 19 months! I argued, doubted, ignored. But the calling wouldn't give up. (read the full story here)
Sandy says, "The good thing is that our calling doesn't give up on us. But, we often give up on it."
Is there any area you've given up? The good news is that it is never too late.
The above are a list of great questions to reflect upon, so that you can get clear and own your life!
Next week we will look at the flip side.. what to do when you feel stuck from following you're calling. For now, reflect on the questions above.
The reasons we are here and "why" we wish to empower others is what motivates people to work with us. Simon Sinek is the pioneer that brought us to look at the "why" behind the "what".
Sometimes our "why" is obvious. Other times nebulous. If you are very clear on "why" you are here to be of service to others, is your "why" showing up in your outreach? If you are not clear, what would help you get clear?
Simon noted that people and companies that started with their "why" had a much better connection to the community they served, than those that do not.
This is a huge deal if your goal is to: 1) deliver authentic services with integrity and 2) grow a sustainable successful business/company!
Today's resource is an article about when it is good to "why". Enjoy!
Read the Simon Sinek article on when to "why" here:
“Which is it?!” My client asked me, with a combination of passion and frustration.
The classic question was surfacing of just how much responsibility we should take in creating outcomes.
There is a spiritual principle being taught. It states that we are 100% responsible for every single thing that happens to us in our life. 100%?! What about the dog barking at 3 am? What about my daughter rebelling? I created those?
In today’s exploration we are going to unpack this teaching and see just where those lines are drawn.
First, let’s make a distinction to save semantics from interfering.
The distinction I’m offering is to view “responsibility” through the lens of:
Response – Ability
Second, we are living in a world with other people and those people have free will, just like us. Taking direct ownership for other people is a burden we need not carry, nor is true.
Are we responsible for their choices? No.
Are we able to respond to their choices in ways that help things go right? Yes.
Third this “spiritual teaching” can have a negative impact on us.
To be 100% responsible for everything that happens to us, including other people’s choices, is a heavy burden to carry.
But to be 100% response-able to respond to any situation that arises, including the barking dog at 2 am, is the birthplace of our personal power.
We do not have "control" over others, but our choices do indeed influence outcomes.
When we become more self-aware of our response-abilities we become more masterful at helping things go right.
When I was growing up in the 80's and 90's, seeing a therapist or a pastor were the two primary ways we could get guidance on handling life’s hardships. In current times, this thing called coaching is now on the scene, providing yet another option to choose from. Pretty cool! Yet, often misunderstood in its newness.
Because the formalization of coaching is only a few decades old, it is considered still in its infancy compared to psychoanalysis, which dates back to the 1930's with the work of Sigmund Freud, et al. According to Dr. Kimberly Key, in her article “How the Evolution of Psychology Gave Birth to Counseling”, Willhelm Wundt opened the first psychology lab in 1879, using introspection. She goes on to say, “Psychology has generally been defined as treating mental illness and counseling psychology was born to address mental health issues.”
But, what if we still want help in life, help reaching a new potential, help understanding our relationship to our life, but we don’t need therapy or aren’t struggling with a mental illness? Then what? That is where coaching steps in. Coaching is here because there was a missing piece to psychology. This is full self-actualization of the human. If psychology models were based on what is wrong and helping people get healing and help, then coaching helps us focus on what is right, our gifts and strengths and building an amazing and masterful relationship to one’s life by self-actualizing. Counseling helps clear the weeds, coaching helps plant new seeds. Both have their place according to the need of the individual.
In essence, counseling, aka therapy, is perfect if you need emotional healing, or facing issues that have become bigger than you can emotionally handle.
Coaching is perfect when you have come to edge of all you know and are ready to reach an entirely new level in your life. In other words, when you are ready to self-actualize.
Hope your September is going great! This week I have a fun-hearted resource for your library. If you are an Enneagram enthusiast, this is a must have.
If you use the Enneagram and want a fun and light-hearted resource that is also client friendly, then you will want to add the Millenneagram: Guide For Discovering Your Truest, Baddest Self to your library.
The author Hannah Paasch puts a modern spin on this very ancient tool, helping you quickly connect to your underlying motivations, fears and inner-most authentic self.
Thank you coach Tabitha for finding this little gem.
Have a great week!
Last week we looked at trust in ourselves by trusting our gut instincts and intuition. This week I came across an article by the Harvard Business Review on trust that has been lost in business.
I felt this would be an important resource to share, especially for us business owners.
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) is conducting a five part series on trust. As always, they deliver!
Here is one statistic that struck me:
"Creating trust, in contrast, lifts performance. In a 1999 study of Holiday Inns, 6,500 employees rated their trust in their managers on a scale of 1 to 5. The researchers found that a one-eighth point improvement in scores could be expected to increase an inn’s annual profits by 2.5% of revenues, or $250,000 more per hotel. No other aspect of managers’ behavior had such a large impact on profits."
"Trust also has macro level benefits. A 1997 study of 29 market economies across one decade by World Bank economists showed that a 10-percentage-point increase in trust in an environment was correlated with a 0.8-percentage-point bump in per capita income growth."
Again and again we find that emotional intelligence has an impact on: bottom lines, connection to the client/customer and happiness at work and home, to name a few.
Below you can access the full HBR series on trust, its importance and how to foster it.
The Trust Crisis:
This week I've posted an excellent resource on integration and the brain! I was fascinated to hear how the concept of integration applies somatically, to the brain and body.
Hope you have a great week!
Last week we dove into one of the 9 domains in life, the spiritual domain, as we explored the spiritual aspects to our potential.
To me spirituality is the recognition that there is much more to life than meets the eye and much more to you than you believe to be true. However you define it, spirituality connects us to that which is greater than ourself.
This week we are continuing on the "more to life than meets the eye" theme. We are covering one of the most powerful coaching skills that is also perhaps one of the least talked about or intentionally developed. This is intuition.
Being an atheist the majority of my young-adult life I used to brush away intuition without a second thought. Until, one day my mentor invited me to reconsider handing off 50% of my own wisdom. What!? Was I really missing that much in life by disavowing my inner knowings? But isn't intuition non-rational and therefore unreasonable?
It turns out intuition is a short cut because we are always picking up on information around us. It turns out, yes I was missing out on way more than 50% of what life had to offer me and I had to offer back. It also turns out that intuition may be non-rational, but it isn't irrational. It often shows us more truth than the confines of logic alone.
As a matter of fact, I'm only where I am today because I followed very key, non-rational intuitions that I had.
If you are on the fence about the role of intuition and the power of human capacity you won't want to miss today's video!
Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind,
by Dr. Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer
I had mentioned a few weeks back that I was interviewed by of my favorite yogis and fellow coach, Paulette Bodeman, author of the Breakaway Girl: Secrets of a Tantric Yogi.
The interview was focussed on the spiritual aspects to potential and is hot off the press!
Furthermore, Paulette is pioneering this "breakaway" into your potential concept. I am very excited about her approach! Do you have a defining moment where you broke away from fear and followed your heart?
Coach Beth Davis said it best, "If you are experiencing resistance, you are still making decisions with your head."
Enjoy today's spiritually empowering perspectives!
Ok, I'm going to give my age away. I'm recalling Cindy Lopper's song called True Colors after writing this week's article. Too funny! Cindy Lopper was 80s I'm thinking.
This week we are exploring how we can default into judging others when they are being reactive. Here is another perspective to consider.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “When the going gets tough, that is when a person’s true colors show.”
In fact, when the going gets tough that is when a person’s level of development shows. In fact, their true colors are what is hidden beneath the reactions, the trigger and the defense mechanisms.
Maya Angelo said, “When we know better we do better.”
Yes, even adults can throw tantrums. Our chronology does not guarantee maturity. There is a difference between growing up and waking up, as Ken Wilber puts it.
As I grew up I began to notice that there were many more olders than elders in the world. So, I sought out elders to learn from.
The ancient Toltecs taught that there are three milestones to a person’s development. We come into the world as a “victim” (or dependent on our guardians). We can then individuate and step into our own truth as “warrior”. Then, if we choose to continue to self-develop, we can move into “master”.
Through an integrative lens we can identify a pivot point on this journey of self-discovery.
In order to get out of victim, one must step into their power through their inner warrior.
Once in warrior there are two milestones that bridge to master.
The first is destructive, if we stay there too long. Yet this milestone is needed to grow us out of victim.
The second is constructive, yet if we stay there too long can keep us from moving to master.
The first is victim-warrior.
The second is warrior-master.
In integrative coaching we help people traverse the milestones of self-mastery by taking them from where they identify they are stuck and into the next milestone. We do this by introducing them to the master already within, their true colors.
The true colors within each of us can inform our own self-development. This is what the Course in Miracles means when it says, “You have taught [yourself] what you are, but you have yet to allow what you are to teach you.”
Development is a personal choice. Not everyone wants to develop. It takes work and dedication. Yet, the rewards are where the miraculous resides!
The next time someone flies off the handle, remember, those are not their true colors. They are doing the best they can with the resources and self-awareness they have access to. Remember, within every person is a master awaiting to awaken.
To be amazed by humanity, invite nothing but excellence in others.
Our wonderful instructor, Dr. Kristen Truman-Allen, conducted her dissertation on Metaphor in Coaching. Metaphor is a powerful tool to activate the brain, anchor in an insight and engage create solutions (especially for those with more linear thinking approaches to life).
Today's resource is an NPR podcast on how the brain process metaphor. Enjoy!
Coaching Resource of the WeeK:
There is a saying, "If life is coming at you, then you are in the wrong lane."
When we push through life being underdeveloped, the harder life is to respond to. Yet, that is when we need our potential the most, in the moments of struggle and strife and stress.
There is a correlation between the more undeveloped someone is with how much of a struggle life feels like and therefore is.
Yep, a "wrong lane" excuse. I was leading an undeveloped life and I had no clue there was another option. I lived in fear and therefore everything was always coming at me in one form or another. Not enough money to make ends meet, feeling anxious all day and major weight gain from stress eating.
In the Enneagram, Riso-Hudson tradition, they introduced Levels of Development. These levels are brilliant at measuring personal growth. They teach that the more disintegrated (think undeveloped) one is, the more predictable a person’s behavior and reactivity levels are.
Once we develop out of our patterned ways of beings, like defense mechanisms for example, we can live a whole-hearted life by responding to life in resourced ways and our ego has less of a hold on us. The result, our potential is accessible and the Essence of True Self can then emerge.
After plopping myself into coaching and doing the inner-work, my outer world began to reflect what was happening within. Being resourced, ready and revived about life I began to dispel the fear, the stress eating and financial stressors. A whole new world was available to me, yet was ironically here all along.
Once we choose to step into our human potential and develop our responsiveness, inner resourcefulness and abilities, then life becomes more like a flowing river to raft down with rocks to navigate, versus attempting to swim in a rapid upstream and getting all banged up.
There is a huge cost to not developing. The cost is our inner-peace. The cost is our ability for responsiveness. The cost is struggle, strife and stress. All of which can impede on our health, wealth and wisdom; body, mind and spirit.
It would seem then that anyone undeveloped could not succeed in life then. Quite the contrary. Defense mechanisms can get anyone quite far up the corporate latter for example. One way this shows up in corporate is known as the “bully boss”. The overall cost though, is true personal fulfillment for the boss and happiness for the employee. Yes, success is still possible, but will include a cost.
The distinction here is that:
There are big costs to success achieved
while operating through defenses.
There are also some costs to developing. We have to be willing to face our ego, to self-reflect and to be willing to try new ways of being. This can feel very uncomfortable, at least in the beginning. Yet, it leads to our ability to hold long-term success with ease, whole-hearted joy and personal fulfillment.
I call the beginning stages of self-development work the weed pulling stage. In the beginning it feels like hard work to self-examine and with honesty. The good news is that the cost here is mostly only a few blows to the ego. Our True Self is thanking us!
Our potential is reached after the weeds have been pulled, we’ve cleared the grounds to plant the seeds we desire to have in our lives and the fruits of our own labor are truly the most beautiful.
In essence, the “costs” of self-development only feel like costs in the beginning, the weed pulling stage. Once the weeds are pulled and the freedom of living weed free is experienced, the freedom we experience takes on a momentum of its own and the possibilities become miraculous.
When they do not occur
Something has gone wrong.”
A Course In Miracles, 1:1:9
Have you ever experienced a boss that was unaware of their negative impact on their employees? Have you ever heard of a company that was harming the environment, yet thriving financially? Have you ever had a friend that was great when things were great, but when the going got tough turned reactive or were always playing the victim?
I am willing to bet most of us have come across or directly experienced these scenarios. All of the above scenarios are a result of people leading undeveloped lives.
Currently, there are many avenues for self-development.
In many wisdom, religious and spiritual traditions there are pathways for someone to face themselves, look at their life and choose to mature into their best self.
Outside of these wisdom traditions, we have family and friendship life. Some families and/or friends set goals together, hold each other accountable and grow together.
Other avenues are sports and even hobbies. Having someone mentor us through our growth to reach a greater goal in a sport or a hobby helps us refine our potential.
We also have books from experts sharing their research, ideas and experiences. Authors sharing their wisdom can help us understand life in new ways and reach new landmarks.
In a perfect world, we would all grow up with all of these avenues for development surrounding us like a rich garden of fruits to choose from. Yet, many of us grow up without any of these… unless we seek them out.
Let’s look at another side now.
Have you ever worked with a boss that was emotionally respectful, inspiring and supportive? Have you ever seen a company that looked at any area they would impact and choose to do good with their services in all areas, not just one? Have you ever experienced a friend that was great when things were great and even stronger in the face of adversity?
I’m willing to bet these experiences are rarer. They are all examples of people who have invested in self-development.
When we self-develop we:
- Become great at communication and emotional intelligence
- Turn hard situations into opportunities for everyone’s benefit
- Extend forgiveness and empathy
- Understand multiple angles of issues at hand
- Respond to challenges through the empowered lens of our values
When we are not self-developed we default to:
- Being reactive and fearful when challenge hits
- Minimizing, pushing against or running away from obstacles
- Making hard situations harder
- Getting stuck in self-deception and judgment zones
- Doing life the hardest way possible and spinning our wheels.
You can see the benefits are night and day.
So why don’t more of us self-develop?
I’m not going to pretend to know the answer to this question, because I believe the answer is different for everyone. What I can say is that “to develop, or not to develop” is but a choice.
When we step into coaching we are choosing to self-develop and actualize our potential. Truly powerful self-development happens in relationship, where someone can mirror us, challenge us, “get” us and help us see farther than we could on our own.
In integrative coaching we take coaching even further. We invite the client into self-awareness. With self-awareness we can catch and eliminate self-deception. This is the birthplace of new wisdom. The lens of integrative intelligence then takes any new wisdom and/or self-understanding and bridges it into all areas of life, leading to true fulfillment. New wisdom then increases capacity to hold and sustain long-term successes. Integrative coaching truly yields heart warming, mind empowering and spirit lifting rewards.
Join us next week for Part Two – The “Costs” of Development
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Tabitha Danloe, CPIC, PCC
Life & Business Coach
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When I was growing up, I looked around at the world and felt I didn’t fit in. I was excruciatingly shy, introverted and as an abstract thinker I did not fit the mold in school. In my shyness I had a lot of time to observe the world and the people all around me.
I didn’t like the world I saw. I didn’t like all the injustice I witnessed. I hated the corporations that were ruining the environment without seeming to bat an eye. I hated that if I cared about the environment I was pegged a hippy tree hugger. And so on…
I just really scratched my head at what I thought was a "horrible" world I had been born into. Think about it, from racism to melting ice-caps to sex-trafficking at Walmart, the world humans created is complicated.
Even if we choose to not talk about it, we all feel the impact of these things in hearts each time the next news flash goes by.
My chronic linear focus on what was "wrong", drew me to an equally linear conclusion.
reached our potential as a human race and
we were now headed downhill.
What I discovered is that my conclusion was sorely short-sited.
I discovered that we are only a fraction towards reaching our human potential. Furthermore, things were so “off” because we haven’t even experienced true success on a larger scale yet.
Most people, and most company teams, operated through linear thinking. This linear thinking was delivering equally linear results. The problem with linear results is they don't yield truly successful outcomes. Let me share an example.
If I say to you, “Hey, guess what!? I achieved my goal and created this stellar million dollar company!” Most people would be like, “Wow, congrats, that is amazing! Good work!” followed by a high-five. And if my goal is linear, like going from zero to a million, and I hit that marker, then I can consider myself a true success, right?! I can even call my company “stellar” because it met my limited criteria.
Ok, let’s look at the broader truth. What if I came to you and said, “Hey guess what?! I created this stellar million dollar company! Our products pollute the ocean and our employees are all unhappy and overworked, but that’s ok because we moved our base across seas and employ children as young as eight years, on the cheap, to keep our costs down.”
To you I ask, have I reached true success?
Is anything a true success if it also initiates negative impact?
I say no. True success doesn't include failure.
Wouldn't true success encompass successful outcomes in all areas an endeavor reaches? For example, "Hey guess what?! I created this amazing million dollar company! Our products are 100% biodegradable, our product line is run on 100% solar, our employee base is like a large supportive family and our turnover is lower than any other company in our sales bracket for over a decade. We have so much left over after all the high end profit sharing that we donate all the excess to support families struck by poverty."
Again, most companies want to be successful in all areas, they just started out with linear goals and gotten themselves limited solutions. Time to pivot.
Understand this. Even the way success is defined in the dictionary points directly to this unintended limitation we've placed on human potential.
1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
2. a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
Can you see the singular focus? Interesting isn't it.
If true success doesn't include failure then the dictionary might read:
1. the successful outcomes created as a result of an accomplishment or purpose.
2. surpassing desired aims and attaining prosperity, for self and others, as a result.
Can you see the movement from the linear into the expanded? It is a huge difference in implication.
Linear thinking creates limitation, intended or not. Linear solutions are prone to unintended consequences because they are, by their very nature, short-sighted solutions.
I have good news though! The problems we face nowadays are not due to a lack of intelligence. We are highly intelligent, but we are not yet integratively intelligent.
I am willing to bet not one company team started out saying, "I want to cause damage to the environment and take more for myself than I want to provide for my staff."
Yet, they may have started out saying, "Let's create a million dollar company!" and then got lost in the excitement, cut corners, and sold out their values for venues.
Not one person would say, “Yes, I want to swim in a disgusting polluted dying ocean!! Wooho!” Not one. Yet, that is very sadly what is happening.
So, we've failed to see through the lens true success. That is ok. We can start now.
So, we've forgot to choose the outcome that made the millions and left positive impacts in multiple areas. That is ok. We can expand our vision and engage our full potential.
So, we've settled for the money goal and ignore, justify, or numb out, the guilt each night. That is ok. We can align with our values whenever we choose and touch people's lives in positive ways as we do so.
Envision a global company that solved more problems than it created economically, socially, politically, relationally, environmentally and fiscally. You can’t tell me we are not intelligent enough to pull this off. Yet, if we don't include aspects of the whole, we can and will miss the true mark of human potential.
So do we have yet to tap into our human potential? Heck yes we do! And I'm excited to be a part of the movement towards integrative thinking and true human potential.
This is the good news!
Integrative coaches are one way humanity is helping humanity shift into more positive and impactful solutions in all areas, not just one or two.
Integrative means to include all aspects. This lens of intelligence helps people see farther, dig deeper, include their core values into their work/life, remove obstacles and minimize limitation. As we do so, people start to truly thrive.
What I challenge our politicians, leaders and companies to say is... "Challenge accepted! Yes, let's create the solutions that only have positive impact in all areas we reach!"
It has been said we are living in pivotal times. So let's pivot!
Are you with me?
Adjective: Having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
Noun: Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
Potential to me is found within a blend of capacity and possibility. As we expand our capacity to respond to life in masterful ways, we increase the amount of possibilities we have access to.
For example: If I’m stuck in a self-deception cycle of “I’m limited” and as a result I am reactive with my co-workers, I’m less likely to get that promotion I wanted because my capacity for being fluent with my team was so low. The possibility is there, but I'm blocked from accessing it.
In essence, our potential correlates to our ability to increase our capacity, opening the door to opportunities and granting access to more and more possibilities. Life gets exciting at this point because we then get to choose which ones we want to step into.
Also, there is an irony in the definition of potential. When we define it, we limit it.
What I mean by this is that by defining potential, we then put a box around and can unintentionally limit it. Yet, ironically we need to define it to head in the direction of it. Head scratching!
In masterfully approaching our potential then it is best to not attach to our goals for our potential as if they were the end all. Then, when we reach the goals of our potential, to redefine them in new ways, or not at all.
The other key is to unfold in the direction of our potential and not away from it. This is where teachers and coaching comes in. They ensure we are unfolding in the correct direction. This sounds like a no brainer, however, it is a common error to completely “go it alone”. (I say completely, because part of our work is on, and of, our own.)
go through the phase of growth
where self-deception is harder to detect.
The tricky thing about self-deception is that we often can’t see we are being clouded by it. This is where a teacher or coach steps in to help counter illusions we face during the growth process.
Coaching is a very key short-cut to our potential.
We can't fix what we don't see.
Coaching was the answer to the question: "How does one help someone move beyond learning success externally to learning success internally?"
Success can be taught, yet, only up to a point. There is a point where one's potential can only be found when they relinquish learning externally and dig deep within for answers... their answers.
The Course in Miracles states: "You have [been] taught what you are. You have yet to allow what you are teach you."
Coaching was born of the recognition that true potential comes from an inner exploration, uprooting limited beliefs, locating the wisdom of the True Self.
The term coaching was also born when people, like Thomas Leonard, learned that other modalities were already in place and not capturing the essence of what was happening in coaching.
Consultants gave specialized advice and information. Therapists guided their patients to emotional healing. Mentors and clergy offered advice on how to approach a trial. Yet, there was nothing yet that truly captured the heart and essence of the process that invoked a person's own wisdom to come forth.
So over a decade ago, the distinction of coaching was born.
In both therapy and consulting there is a set path and destination that the therapist and consultant provide.
In coaching, the client is the one in the driver's seat at all times, "Sir, please take me by Woolsworth on the way to the beach."
This concept, of facilitating wisdom to come forth, is also secretly captured in the ancient text of the Tao Te Ching:
When people barely know he exists.
Of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, “We did this ourselves.”
― Lao Tzu
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By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty