Ending 2016 with 3 questions

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This time of the year one looks back at the year and reflect on the challenges and lessons learned. At the beginning of 2016 I started my own coaching business. One of the important skills of a coach is to learn to ask good questions. Therefore, I decided to translate some of the main lessons learned this year into coaching questions so that you can discover your own answer.

  1. How committed are you to you and your vision?

Peter Senge writes in his book ‘The Fifth Discipline’ that a core strategy for any leader is to commit yourself to your own personal mastery and your personal vision. Shared visions for an organisation (what we care about and want to create) arises from personal visions (what motivates me and the future I seek). He writes that ‘ If people don’t have their own vision, all they can do is “sign up” for someone else’s. The result is compliance never commitment’.

But what does commitment really mean? It means that you commit yourself to the process of refining what you truly want. It means that you relentlessly root out the ways you are limiting yourself and continually practise to broaden your awareness. In essence it means that you genuinely care. When you are committed you genuinely care about yourself and what you truly believe you should do. You may think it sounds selfish. It’s not. When I’m genuinely committed to me. I’m also genuinely committed to you. My commitment to my vision is imbedded in my deep desire to serve others. It is not about me. It is about something larger than me but it starts with a genuine commitment to me.

  1. How can you discover your way between the cup and the quart?

The space between the cup and the quart was a metaphor that I kept in mind this year as I held the tension between my current reality and my vision.

In his book ‘The Anatomy of Change’, Richard Strozzi-Heckler provides a wonderful metaphor for the anatomy of change that I want to share with you:

‘Imagine yourself sitting at a table holding a cup. The cup represents the quantity of potential, or energy or responsibility that you are able to integrate into your life at this particular moment. After being with this cup of yourself for some time, you notice that there is a quart container on the table. The quart represents the possibility of even more energy, responsibility, and love. You begin to recognise the quart is within your reach.

 Since you have explored the limits of your cup, you feel an urge to move toward the quart. To remain with only the cup of yourself is no longer tolerable. You make the choice to reach across the table and take the “more” of yourself. Realising it is impossible to hold both cup and quart at the same time, you put the cup down and extend toward the quart. Panic!

 Part way into your reach, you realise that the comfort and familiarity of the cup are gone, and you haven’t yet touched the quart. There is nothing. There are no boundaries, there is no known sense of identity or self – only emplty space, a strange new land. You are thrust into fear and doubt.

 At this point, what usually happens is we quickly retreat to that which is known: the cup. It is safe, familiar, and easily handleable. Or we contract, frozen in our fear of the unknown. Somehow our system of education never teaches us how to navigate these open waters, to trust ourself and our energy in times of change. We need to rediscover the passage between the cup and the quart of ourselves.

The space between the cup and the quart creates emotional tension as well as creative tension. When you use the tension wisely it can be a source of energy. The tension is then exactly what you need to creatively discover your way between the cup and the quart.

  1. How are you tapping into and building your network?

We cannot reach our goals on our own. We need people who care about us and share in our vision. This year I learned the importance of building relationships that nourish you and help to nurture your vision. In her book “Playing Big”, Tara Mohr refers to these type of people as ‘champions’. According to Tara a champion is a person that can see the future that hasn’t arrived yet. They are the people who think that the vision you have is achievable, and even destined. This then helps you to believe it can be done and motivates you to take the next step.

We don’t only need a network of support; we also need a professional network to derive new business from. This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. I realised that these types of networks don’t fall in your lap. You have to be disciplined to build relationships and grow your network in the field you wish to work in. Building that means stepping out of your comfort zone. It also means sharing your vision and making your work visible in a graceful and respectful way.

I trust that the above questions will be as valuable for you to ponder on as it was for me. That it will assist you to bring your unique vision to the world that so desperately needs it.

I met my mountain


I met the mountain

and it met me.

I climbed on its curvy back

and stood on its shoulders.

I played with the ‘klipspringer’

and sang with the birds.

I sailed down its rocky tummy

and stroked my hands through its ‘fynbos’ hair.

I sat on the mountain

and it sat with me.

I met the mountain

I met me.

Financial stress during the festive season

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With the holidays coming up, one would assume that it would be a time of relaxation and fun for everyone. If you don’t feel as joyous as the Christmas carols that are playing in the shops don’t feel alone. Many people are experiencing a lot of financial stress this time of the year, they just don’t always talk about it.

If you can’t afford to go on the trip overseas or treat your family with a summer holiday or spoil your partner with a special dinner, it’s normal. Don’t allow your feelings of inadequacy or feeling like a failure take away the one special gift that only you can give – you. Don’t allow your financial stress to overwhelm you in a way that you can’t be present to yourself and those you love.

In my own life I’ve experienced different types of financial stress and witnessed loved ones go through periods of severe financial uncertainty. I’m not out of the woods yet but what I’ve learned is that money can’t buy everything. Yes, money can buy peace of mind and lovely holidays and lots of things we enjoy doing. But money can only control you if you allow it to. You can decide if financial stress is going to rob you of you. You will be surprised of the abundance of support that is ready to surround you if you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to it.

Money can also not buy time or take it away. It remains your choice as how you want to use your time. I urge you to use it to reconnect with yourself and deepen your relationship with others. It does not cost anything. It only asks that you slow down and be present. Use this holiday to take long walks in nature and listen to the wisdom that it has to offer.

You may feel disappointed or bored by the idea of staying at home during the festive season. You may be thinking ‘what can be worse?’ What is worst is if you moan through it and focus your attention on everything you don’t have. I would like to invite you to focus on the things you do have. Even if it is just you! How can you view this festive season as an opportunity to be creative, on how to have fun and connect with others by spending the least money? I’m certainly going to try.

Learning: You can decide if financial stress is going to rob you of you.

 Healing question: How can you not allow your financial stress to overwhelm you in a way that you can’t be present to yourself and those you love?