Last week, I wrote to you about my friend Jonathan Robinson and his powerful statement to me on the phone, “it is easier to be a teacher than a student.” We got a lot of interesting comments and email about that, and this week I want to jam on the same theme a little more, and talk about the art of being able to receive support in your life.
It is hard to believe that, a little more than 20 years ago, coaching only existed in the world of sports. Back in the 80’s, you could find a tennis coach, a swimming coach, a basketball coach, but that was it. It was an extraordinarily brilliant and innovative man by the name of Thomas J. Leonard who saw the extraordinary possibilities of the coaching relationship in sports and transferred it to other areas of life. It is to Leonard that we are indebted for the development of “life coaching,” which has blossomed into so many fields in the intervening years.
These days, everybody is a coach. I think there are more coaches in my little town of Nevada City than there are potential clients! What kind of coach are you? “I’m a wellness coach.” “I’m a find-your-mate coach.” “I’m a relationship coach.” “I’m a divorce coach.” “I’m a brush-your-hair coach” “I’m a find-the-right-kind-of-coach coach.”
You name it, coaching has been developed for every area of life you could think of. So now we may have gotten a little blasé about coaching. ”Yes, I know all about it. I’ve been there and done that.”
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. I want to remind you today that getting coached is one of the smartest, most effective, most generous and self-loving things you could possibly do for yourself. It is hard to think of anyone, in any field of life, who would not benefit from this extraordinary and magical relationship. I am going to give you five compelling reasons today why it is such a great idea for you and me and everyone we know, to make sure we are in some kind of coaching relationship.
#1 Overcome the single greatest obstacle.
Distraction. Have you noticed? You get a new job, or you start a new business, full of optimism and high intentions, but then your attention goes in other directions. You and your partner get pregnant: a new birth, a new life, a new beginning. But how many years is it before that vision of possibilities is overtaken by busy schedules and homework and driving everywhere? You move into a new house. Now you’re going to live clutter free. It is going to look like an article from O Magazine… You get the picture.
If there is one thing that all human beings have in common, it is that we are endlessly distracted.
Getting coached is probably the most effective and simple antidote to distraction. Somebody who cares about you helps you drill down to what is really important and then to stick with it. A good coach will hold you accountable, “Send me a little report every day to tell me how you’re doing.” With a coach in your life, you are much more likely to stay in alignment with your deepest longing and purpose.
#2 You know what to do.
The majority of people I coach are not only interested in awakening as a state of inner freedom, they are deeply interested also in living from that freedom in every aspect of their lives. And that is when things get tricky. Sitting in a cave, or on a meditation cushion, contemplating emptiness, presents less real challenges to most of us than carpooling, paying bills, and keeping a heart open in relationship… while remaining spacious. When we are faced with challenges in our day-to-day life in relationship, at work, with family, or health. We all have a very strong temptation to ask “what to do” from other people. From experts. That’s why we gravitate towards authority figures. We feel lost, we hope that somebody else has the key. But have you noticed what happens when you turn for advice to other people? You might take that advice on and try it out. It might work for a while. But as often as not the solution doesn’t fit you perfectly. It was borrowed from somebody else’s life experience. And also, as often as not, you may end up feeling resentful: almost like you’ve been betrayed or cheated. Now you have something else to add to the long list of things that didn’t work.
Most coaching rests solidly on the assumption that you know what to do, even if you don’t remember to do it. You remember that song by 10,000 Maniacs? Natalie Merchant sings,
“I may know the word,
but I do not say it.
I may know the truth
But not face it”
That’s everybody’s story. You know how to reduce stress. You know how to make money. You know how to bring harmony into your marriage. You’ve done all those things before. You don’t need more strategies. You need somebody to remind you of the wisdom you’ve already gained from your life, and hold you accountable to using it.
#3 Holding certainty.
A few years ago I was visiting Jack Canfield in his home near Santa Barbara. As you may remember, he was one of the big stars of the movie The Secret, which was all about manifesting and intention. We had a conversation there, on his patio, about why so few people who experiment with ‘manifesting’ end up being successful. He showed me a simple test. He asked me to think of something I wanted for myself, like more money for me, or a new gadget for me. Then he did a simple muscle test using applied kinesiology. My arm was quite weak. Then he told me to think of something I wanted that would benefit not only me, but the people around me: my family, my students. My arm became much stronger. Finally he asked me to think of something I wanted for somebody else or even something I wanted for the planet. I thought of something I wanted for other people and my arm became completely strong.
You’ve probably heard stories of people who get sick. Then a group at their church prays for them and they get better overnight. The powerful intentions we hold for other people are often way stronger than the desires we have for our own gratification. This is another great reason to hire a coach. Once you get into a relationship with a coach, they will hold you in their prayers and intentions. The coach will want the best for you. With my clients (and I don’t take on very many people at one time for this very reason), I hold them in awareness before I go to sleep. I think of each person I’m working with and what they’re hoping to accomplish in their life. This is one of the most powerful reasons to get coached: is to have somebody else holding you in intention in this way.
#4 Antidoting hierarchy.
We talked already, a few paragraphs back, about our collective habit of relying on external authority. But there is another benefit to coaching beyond tapping into solutions that arise from within yourself. A good coach will not give you advice, but ask you powerful questions.
“So when this problem state arises, how does it make you feel?
Where do you feel that in the body?
Would you recommend this (event, feeling, pattern, etc…) to a friend?
Would you choose it from a menu?
What is it that you would prefer to be experiencing instead of this?
Have you ever experienced that before?
When you experienced it before, was it tied to a particular action that you took or words that you spoke?
Do you know how to recreate that again? “
You get the picture. The coach asks you questions which remind you that your true nature is resourceful,creative, intelligent, generous, giving and humorous. In fact, in the words of one of my very favorite spiritual teachers ever, you can also say with some confidence, “I and the Father are One.” Who you really are is one with the source of all creative intelligence. Coaching not only gives you solutions, but it reminds you that you are the source of all those solutions. You are the one you have been waiting to meet your whole life. In this sense, getting coached, if it’s done well, is ultimately empowering.
#5 Ultimate fulfillment.
I tend to be a curious little f*ck*r, always poking my nose where it may or may not belong. I like talking to people who are really, really happy, or really, really fulfilled and picking their brains for what made the difference. As you may know, my 2005 book The Translucent Revolution was based in 170 interviews with very, very fulfilled people and 13,000 surveys. My friends call me compulsive.
So what do you think? What is the one magic key that brings fulfillment to life and puts everything else in its rightful context? Because I am an awakening coach, you might guess that my answer would be awakening. But it’s not true. Many people have had, and continue to have, very profound moments of awakening or resting in awakening, but their external life is still not flowing freely, and prone to frustration. Perhaps you might think that love is the key: if you are married to someone you are really devoted to, if you have the right number of beautiful children.
Well let me give you a shortcut here. Throughout all these interviews, I’ve discovered that there is one magic ingredient that brings lasting, deep and unshakeable fulfillment. It is when someone discovers the unique gift they were born to give to the world, and they give it fully. I’m thinking here of John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Or Dave Ellis who wrote The Master Student and now coaches the CEOs of most of the world’s biggest nonprofit organizations. Or Lynne Twist who has raised over $2 billion to alleviate world hunger. These people have discovered, beyond a doubt, why they are here on the planet and they are doing it with great gusto.
This is another great reason to get coached. Finding your true purpose and living it is not as huge a mountain to climb as it may seem. The clues are scattered everywhere throughout your life, like little foil-wrapped chocolates at Easter time.
I love being coached. I love to roll over on my back, expose my soft underbelly and let someone else ask the questions. I love to return back to the place of “I don’t know,” and then be surprised again when I’m reminded that the answer was right under my nose.
I also love to coach. I love to see people remembering to laugh about their lives. I love to see people revitalize their relationship, just with small tweaks here and there. I love to feel people discovering why they’re here on the planet and then stepping into it and owning it.
There are many different kinds of coaches available to you and it’s important to find someone you resonate with.What I am particularly good at is helping people to bring creative projects into fruition. I like to work with writers who know there is a book in there, but need support to get it all the way through to a publisher and into readers’ hands. I love to work with a film maker to help them cultivate amazing dialogue and unexpected twists in the plot. I love to work with innovators who have dreamed up new things to improve the quality of our lives.
So, dear friend, go forth and get coached. You won’t regret it. If you’d like to know more about our approach, you can fill out an application and someone will get in touch with you. If you’d like to explore other approaches, do some searching on Google. Type in the name of the field that you want help with (robbing banks, tattoo art, camel mating) plus the word ‘coach,’ and I’m sure you can find somebody who will ask you all the right questions, and usher you forward into the most glorious version of you imaginable.
All the best,