“I’m so distracted. I need to be more accountable.”
Often times people come to coaching because something is not working and they would like to figure out how to make the necessary changes to get more of what they desire in life to be happy.
The risk for new coaches is that they focus in on what is wrong and what needs to be fixed instead of getting clear about what a client wants. A new coach can easily be fooled to think that if they just work on time management, getting the client to focus more, eliminate distractions, use positive affirmations, goal set, or set positive intentions the problem will be solved. But what if there is no problem? What if they are just results?
By getting clear on what a client wants, where they are now and listening deeply, I can hear the client’s inner wisdom rising up and out of the conversation. I can hear what’s not being said, what is being repeated and uncover the motivation behind the behaviours that are creating the unsatisfying results. By uncovering that, my client and I can change the original cause of unsatisfying results and create, strong, powerful, positive behaviours that align with the client’s goals.
The client I am working with today, describes how at first, she was so busy and her calendar was so full, that she never seemed to find the time to get to the projects that she really wanted to work on. Whenever anyone asked her to do something, she said yes, immediately, without consideration of her already full calendar. She never contemplated if it was something she really wanted to do, or if it would take her away from completing personal projects. The busy-ness, created a distraction.
I worked with her on her time management and helped her develop new strategies that supported her efforts to complete her business tasks and personal projects. It worked for a bit, but it wasn’t long before she found herself sitting down to work on her personal projects only to find new distractions. She went from keeping herself over the top busy as a distraction, to, using social media, household chores, or whatever else her mind could focus in on to distract her from the personal project scheduled during that time.
This shift from one form of distraction to another, tells me that a strategy is activated. A strategy that the client is using to avoid feeling a certain way. Overwhelmed.
Chances are, some time in this client’s life she has felt a deep sense of being overwhelmed and it scared her. It scared her so much that she created a “distraction” strategy so that she would never have to feel that way again. Most often, people are not aware that they have created such strategies, and that these strategies are continuously being played out in different aspects of their lives.
What’s so fascinating is that these strategies are often created in our childhood to deal with negative emotions. As a child, if I had an experience where I responded in a certain way, and that reaction gave me relief from negative feelings, my brain would make the connection that “Hey that worked. Let’s remember that and do it again next time we feel bad.”
For example, if I get criticized as a child for not being responsible, I might avoid taking responsibility for things, so I don’t feel bad. If I am not responsible for anything, then there is no risk of trying to be responsible and getting criticized for it. Keep in mind, that the response may have provided relief for that 5-year-old, or 6-year-old me, but that strategy may now be outdated and no longer provide relief. Imagine, if I avoided taking responsibility as an adult.
This client’s outdated strategy of getting distracted was supposed to keep her from feeling overwhelmed, but saying yes and overloading her calendar to be super busy ended up overwhelming her. She was actually getting more of what she didn’t want.
As soon as she decreased her busy-ness by scheduling time for personal projects, other distractions started popping up during personal project work time. She was recreating busy-ness. Then, the constant looping of thoughts about how she was not being productive, or not being accountable during personal work periods was making her feel overwhelmed. It was a no-win situation.
It’s likely that this client had an experience in her past where she began to believe some or all of the following limiting beliefs.
It never ends.
It’s better not to start.
It doesn’t matter what I do.
It’s too much.
The task is too big.
I don’t know where to start.
I can’t do it all.
I can’t do it.
…….and there are probably more.
In order to make long lasting change, my client and I need to isolate the thought or thoughts that the client is believing to be true. By seeing how the thought is connected to the feeling of being overwhelmed, I can work with her to transform the limiting belief, the feelings attached to them and create new, life affirming strategies that she can use to achieve her goals.
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