A client asked me to coach her so she could get more clarity about whether or not to move from her home into a condo or an apartment. Within the first session it was apparent that she had never loved owning a home, that she had many mixed feelings about the responsibilities of home ownership, and that she’d once been very happy when she’d lived in an apartment. As the coaching progressed she gained greater awareness of the reasons for her mixed feelings about home ownership. Still, she sat on the fence.
I expressed curiosity about her fence sitting, despite real evidence that she’d not been a happy homeowner and she had had a positive experience with apartment living. She told me that one reason she was still undecided was that she feared that she was overlooking something important about homeownership. Fear was a factor keeping her in your home.
My client had lived in her house for over 20 years, long enough to discover the real value of home ownership. I asked her where that concern was coming from. She told me that many of her friends were urging her to stay in her home, and were cautioning her against selling her home and moving to an apartment. One friend was particularly adamant about the value of owning a home.
Apparently my client was surrounded by friends who placed a high value on homeownership. Their perspective was that owning a home was preferable to apartment or condo living. Because a number of those friends were saying the same thing, they were people she loved and whose opinions she trusted and respected, and they often shared similar values and viewpoints, she began to question her own perception of homeownership.
After some discussion my client agreed that she’d really had ample time to discover the hidden joys of homeownership. It was clear to her that unlike her friends, homeownership is not high on her list of values. She even admitted that she’s not a “traditional” homeowner. Her perspective on home ownership, unlike the positive perspective of her friends, was that owning a home was a lot of work and cost a lot of money. She had been stuck sitting in indecision because she questioned her own values and perspective about homeownership in the face of strong opposition by her friends.
It’s easy to be swayed by the opinions of others if you aren’t clear about your values. Are you living according to your values? Are you even aware of what they are? Many people are not. And, sadly many people are living out the values of important others, wondering why they aren’t very happy. Coaching is a great option to get clear about your values and needs, to discover what floats YOUR boat, and to put your and what really matters to you into perspective. Get a coach and get on with YOUR life.
Internal clutter. We all have it. It shows up as negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, faulty thinking and limiting perspectives. Most of us are unconscious about the variety of clutter that runs the show in our brains.
You’re probably noticing that I’m including myself when I talk about mental clutter. The first therapist I worked with told me that I had a black cloud over my head. She was referring to the array of negative beliefs about life and what I could expect from it that I had laid out before her.
Upon reflection I was able to identify that I had inherited many of those beliefs from my father who has always been a glass half empty kind of guy. I remember him referring to “the malevolent universe” when talking about the state of our world. Little did I know that being exposed to that type of perspective and other pessimistic beliefs colored my view of our world as a scary, dark, unpredictable place. When my therapist shared her observation with me, she made me aware that toxic internal clutter was blocking me from being able to trust and experience feelings of joy. She opened a door for healing and developing a new perspective.
When I can’t seem to get traction in my life, when I get caught up in self-doubt, self-criticism and feeling uncertain and shaky about aspects of my life, I remind myself that I need to check in with the voices in my head. I examine my thoughts, the beliefs that are surfacing, my current perspectives regarding my purpose, my performance, and my journey. Invariably I discover that I’ve slipped into old ways of thinking. Bringing those monsters into awareness is essential before I can change them and make my way back to being fully connected with my best self.
If you find yourself struggling, check for mental clutter. What messages are playing in your head? How are you viewing your reality? Like attracts like. Negative beliefs, self-talk and perspectives attract more of the same.
Bring that clutter to light. Notice it. Don’t judge it. Internal clutter is a choice. But, you must first notice it and its effect on your feelings, behavior and view of your life and the world. Bring mental clutter to light and you’ll be on your way to a better life. Awareness first. You cannot expel energies you haven’t identified. It may not be pleasant process. But, it’s a step in the direction of positive change.
Are you dragging your feet about getting a task done? What’s the barrier to forward movement?
Recently I observed myself dragging my feet about taking action to begin the legwork to shift my business from a hands-on organizing/feng shui model to a coaching/writing model with hands-on organizing and feng shui as components of coaching and writing. I was committed to the shift, but could not make myself take steps to move forward to put my vision into reality. My plan was to offer my services as a coach who can move clients from stuck to moving and then thriving. And, there I was. Stuck!
By chance while on a road trip with my husband I told him that I was considering experimenting with group coaching as an alternative way to offer coaching to people who can’t afford one on one coaching. My husband is a therapist, so I asked him to describe how he ran group counseling groups, thinking that perhaps that information could help me develop a group coaching process. I was delighted to discover that there is a distinct possibility that the group counseling process could work for group coaching.
As we talked, I noticed that my energy level around jumping into action to integrate coaching in my business skyrocketed. It was such fun to explore the possibilities of group coaching, to consider doing more than one on one coaching. With that conversation the prospect of integrating coaching into my business shifted from a scary, daunting task to a creative opportunity.
I had been stuck because something about the task at hand wasn’t motivating. The thought of doing just one on one coaching as the main activity in my business did not float my boat. I was trying to get started on creating something that wasn’t quite the right fit for me, but it wasn’t until I reached out for support from Bob that I gained clarity about that. By making a connection with Bob, a knowledgeable resource, and exploring a new possibility with him, I was able to expand my vision for my business. When I did that my creative juices kicked in, and I was off and running.
My learning from this experience? Sometimes the task I’m trying to make myself do with no success is not the right task to be doing. When I get stuck reaching out for information and support can get me going again. I learned that I am more likely to take action if I can find a way to view a task as a creative challenge. When the work I need to do meets some of my basic needs, like having fun and being creative, I am more likely to engage in it.
When you’re stuck, stop and see if you can determine the barrier to action. What is blocking forward movement? Be curious about your inaction. The awareness that may emerge could shift your energy from stuck to moving.