Ending 2016 with 3 questions

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Photo: unsplash.com

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.

Starting 2016 on a personal note

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I clearly remember that the 7th of January 2007 was a bright sunshine morning and I was in hospital due to illness. While I was busy with my spiritual morning read it became clear that I needed to start trusting and listening to my Inner (true) voice. I was unconsciously causing my own suffering by avoiding it.

Exactly 9 years (to the day), after I had made a conscious decision to start following the calling that had been entrusted on me, the website of my own business has been made live! For the first time in my life I can honestly answer the question: If you could do anything in the world what would you do?, with Exactly what I am doing now! Not that I have any certainty about the road ahead. In fact, the road ahead is the most uncertain it has ever been, but I’m curious to see where it takes me.

During the holiday I read the insightful book “Power vs. Force” by David R. Hawkins. Through his studies he developed a ‘Map of consciousness’ that represents the levels at which certain emotions and attitudes calibrate. His research indicates that the level associated with courage and integrity (a calibration of 200) is the critical response point in the scale of consciousness. Any emotions below that make a person go weak and emotions above that level (such as trust, optimism, acceptance, understanding, love, joy, peace and enlightenment) give us strength.

The book reminded me of my nine-year journey. I had to work through emotions of shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride to build up the courage to follow my dream. Hawkins defines courage as;

the willingness to try new things and deal with the challenges of life.

Looking at the year there are many challenges that I still have to face. Knowing that overcoming them are all part of my personal growth process gives me the strength to tackle them one at a time. I want to invite you to join me on this journey in 2016.

What are the challenges and emotions that you need to work through to move to the next level this year?