I’ve been really excited to write this particular blog because it’s kind of uncomfortable, and one of the things I love most about being a coach is that it’s actually my job to point out uncomfortable truths.
I’m not saying I like making people squirm … I’m not a creepy medieval torturer or anything … but I love bringing people’s awareness to things that are secretly sabotaging them because, even though it’s uncomfortable to face the truths that lurk beneath the surface, the reward is always monumentally big.
So, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to have a “monumentally big” kind of shift today by asking you to stare an uncomfortable truth in the face, which is …
No one can tell you what you’re going to get out of anything … you get to decide your own results. In everything that you do. All the time.
LET ME BACK UP AND TELL YOU WHERE THIS CAME FROM
Kristen and I get asked all the time, “So, what exactly am I going to get out of coaching?”
When people ask that, I know they’re pretty desperate for concrete answers like, “You will have a new job in 3 months.” Or “You will have a brand new relationship and be head-over-heels in love with everything around you.”
It makes sense that people want tangible evidence of what they’re going to get, because typically when you invest in something you can see the result: “If I buy this gym membership, I get unlimited access to this gym.” Or “If I order this off of the menu, I expect to be presented with the exact steak and potatoes described here.”
We long for specifics and concrete evidence. It makes us feel secure and safe. Knowing what you’re going to get takes the unknown out of the equation … and the unknown is that dark, menacing void that typically scares the crap out of us.
We crave some sort of “guarantee” that our time, money, and effort won’t ever be wasted because in most of our minds “guarantee” = “safety.”
So, as it happens, I probably burst a lot of bubbles when I tell my new clients:
“I’m not a psychic, and I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t see into your future. I don’t have the power to tell you what you’re going to get … that’s up to you.”
EVEN IF I DID HAVE THE POWER TO PROMISE PEOPLE CONCRETE RESULTS, I WOULDN’T DO IT
Sure, if someone was really miserable in their current job, I could work really hard and help them find a new job ASAP, but what would the point of that be?
Handing someone a shiny new job (or romantic relationship, or car, or whatever) isn’t going to solve the original issue … which is (as far as the people I work with go, anyway) the lack of fulfillment, the stress, the frustration, the overwhelm, etc.
The job or the relationship or whatever else you’re dying to change isn’t the problem. Life is going to present you with stress and challenges all the time. It’s not about removing all of the difficult stuff … it’s about changing how you relate to the difficult stuff (and everything else).
If I handed you a new job, I’d be stealing the most important gift of all from you, which is the power for you to change your life yourself, at all times. So, that is what I promise people. I tell them:
“You’re going to walk out of here with a new level of awareness. You’re going to relate to your life completely differently. Because you’ll know what your blocks are, what you truly value, and who you are on a deep level … you’ll have the power to know what to do and how you want to live from here on out. What you do with that newfound power is completely up to you.”
WHETHER YOU BELIEVE ME OR NOT … YOU REALLY ARE IN CONTROL OF ALMOST EVERYTHING
Not to burst even more bubbles, but …
Even the things you think are concrete aren’t as tangible as you think. Sure, you might know what that unlimited gym membership buys you … but buying it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually go. You have to make that choice.
If your waiter brings you that steak and potatoes you ordered, you get to decide how much you enjoy it. Do you rush through it, barely paying attention because you’re so stressed about what’s coming up at work this afternoon? Or do you slow down and close your eyes and savor it for a few minutes?
Even something as big and life changing as coaching won’t “guarantee” you anything.
I’ve had clients who were constantly late to sessions, never really did anything in between sessions, and despite their investment, never took change seriously. It’s like they somehow thought that the act of investing in themselves meant I would wave a magic wand over their life and everything would magically alter.
I’ve also had clients who take it upon themselves to absorb everything they can — who give themselves challenging things to do before our next session, and who ask me to hold them accountable for their choices.
Want to take a wild guess at who goes much further in life?
So, here’s the deal. You’ve shaken up the magic 8 ball, and it has spoken: “My sources say NO.”
NO, you cannot know in advance what you’re going to get out of anything. You get to decide that.
NO, there isn’t a human being alive who can promise you specific results. You get to decide those, too.
NO, stress and everything else life throws your way is not an external thing that you’re “at the effect” of. You get to choose how you relate and respond to life.
And NO, I have no concrete answers for you. You get to decide the answer … and isn’t that so much better?
Rachel (+ Kristen)