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An Outside Set of Ears

August 21, 2009

I’ve been in a mild funk the last few days. No big deal, it happens sometimes. However, because of my profession I tend to think I should be able to get out of funks quickly – a life coach should be able to coach herself back into bliss, right? I guess not.

Yesterday I had a client who showed me that no matter how much self-care we practice or how self-aware we are, sometimes we just need someone on the outside to help us. My client, whom I’ll call Lily, is normally bubbly and outgoing. She’s run her own personal training business for over 25 years, is a mom, regularly practices meditation and other relaxation exercises, and is a big believer in the Law of Attraction.

When I spoke to her, though, she was far, far away from her usual center. I could tell as soon as the call started, and because she is so aware, she was quickly able to tell me what was getting her off track. She’s in a huge transitionary period right now, with everything from her business to her relationship to where she lives up in the air. She said even though she was still meditating and trying to stay on course, she couldn’t seem to get back to a happy place.

Hmmm, that sure sounded familiar! From my point of view I was quickly able to show her that she was worrying about a future whose outcome she couldn’t predict. In general, if you don’t know which way something is going to go but are going to spend time thinking about it, it always feels better to assume the best, not the worst. I’m absolutely sure she could have realized that on her own without me, but for some reason me reminding her of that really seemed to help her.

Also, when we were talking some of her fears about her currently long-distance relationship came out. By her tone I could tell that she was saying things out loud for the first time – even to herself. This is one of the other tremendous benefits of having a non-judgemental pair of ears (Hey, maybe everyone should hire a life coach!) listening¬† when they share their fears. Before Lily’s conversation with me, she’d been unable to let herself feel the fear she was experiencing about her romantic relationship. Even when she went into meditations and tried to feel her feelings, it was still too scary for her. With me available and open to helping her, she was able to acknowledge some of her fears, and this is truly the first step to healing.

Once we established what was really bothering her it was a relatively simple process to weed out the scary stories she was telling herself and work on resolutions for the various things bothering her. When our phone call ended I think we both felt much better.

I learn so much from my clients, it never ceases to amaze me. After our session I saw clearly, for the first time, that it’s okay if I am never, ever able to consistently coach myself. I expect that as time goes by and my experience and happiness grow that I’ll be able to stay centered more and more, and be able to see my own problems more and more clearly. However, I truly believe sometimes our problems are not something we have to or even should tackle alone.

We get so lost in our stories, so fixated on tiny details, that we don’t see that we’re even stuck. We get lost in what we think is the truth, when another person (not to harp on this, but especially a trained professional!) can quickly point out to us that we’re wandering around in La La Land, nowhere near reality.

The takeaway? Practice as much self care as you can, but if you’re suffering and have a trusted friend, colleague, therapist, life coach, or other resource, seek them out. Talk to them. Tell them what’s going on and see if their fresh perspective can’t cheer you up much more quickly than you could cheer yourself up. Do the same for others – listen and reflect back their doubts and fears, and show them that everything is going to be okay.

I don’t have to solve all my problems by myself. In fact, yesterday’s session made me even more thankful that I have two wonderful life coach friends to whom I speak regularly, because I need help, too!And that’s just fine with me.

Be Joyful!

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