Monday, June 15, 2009

Where Do You Play It Small?

I see it everywhere and it shows up in many conversations. People don’t want much more than what they have. They typically want or expect a small improvement in their work/life conditions. They want to be appreciated for a job well-done, they expect a raise or a promotion for outstanding performance and achieving their goals, they expect a better quality of life, a nicer house, a better vacation, etc. After all, it is only fair that things should get better. This type of living is what has been going on in most developed nations. The economic crisis has changed and shifted this a bit. Those who are closer to retirement, feel cheated watching their retirement disappear in the stock market. They feel like the rug was pulled from under them.

The recent presidential election in Iran also reminds me of those who believed in a new leader, believed in change, believed in their ability to make a difference and having that proverbial rug pulled from under them. Those supporters of Mousavi did not vote for a regime change, they voted for things to be just a little bit better. And somehow, it just seems unfair especially when you want what seems so little and yet you can’t reach it. It doesn’t seem to make sense.

Most of the people who come to me are in a similar place in their lives. They want a little bit more and find themselves lost. I like to ask the question: “what do you want?” a few times during each session. The answer sometimes changes throughout our time. As they think about what it is that they really want, they start feeling bold and ask for what might have seemed like a lot in the beginning of the session. That is the only sign for me as the coach, that things are going in the “right” direction and that I am doing my job. Coaching is really all about giving permission to people to truly clarify and verbalize what exactly it is that they want. This might seem silly, but it is astonishing that so many of us don’t feel like we can actually get what we really want. There is that small thing that we tell ourselves or we have been told that we want (the promotion, the raise, the bigger house, etc.) and by repeating it in our own heads, believe as being the goal. Typically, this goal is in someone else’s hands and so we give our power away once again by thinking and believing that someone out there can give us our little dream. Then there is what we tell our coaches we want in the safe and intimate space of coaching, that sometimes surprises even ourselves. Our true desires are not up to someone else to give, they are ours to seek and obtain. Coaching is about declaring our true secret desires that go against most belief systems we have bought into.

Once we are clear on what we want and realize that it is ours to have, our life will change. We are now able to see the bigger picture, the promotion that we so badly wanted, seems so insignificant and petty in comparison to our heart’s true desires. The vacation in some tropical island in a grand resort seems small in comparison to living life on our own terms. Life feels bigger than our smaller needs. Those are the moments from which major decisions and transitions are made. Unfortunately, for most of us, this only happens after an involuntary transition (loss of a job, loss of a loved one, health crisis, etc.) brings us to the doorsteps of a therapist or a life coach. Regardless of how it happens or why it happens, transitions are opportunities to live a bigger life than the one we have been used to living. Transitions are opportunities to fall into the warm arms of our own core values and then stand back on our own feet full of our own authentic selves and ready to live an ever expanding and uncompromising life.

These words are not coming from an optimist blind to reality. Rather, they come from a familiar place to anyone who resonates with them. Thoughts of failure, betrayal, or loss can leave you bitter and lonely. My job as a coach is to provide the opportunity to redefine what you think to be true and what stands in the way of believing in yourself. So, the next time you ask for what you think is fair and are not given it, the next time you are handed a raw deal, the next time your heart is broken and you feel lost, think again and find what thought or thoughts are nailing you on your cross and what thoughts would free you once again. And please don’t worry about “reality” and the “real world”. We’ve all found out recently, that the so-called “real world” can come crashing down at any moment. So, create your own reality, go for it, don’t give away your own power, and stop playing it small.


Angelynn said...

Thanks! affirmation that I was not the only person that wants something more out of my life ..then things.
Possibilities. : ) I enjoy reading your blog.

Sherry Bakhtian said...

Thank you Angelynn! Please come back.