Archive for July, 2009
I received my report from my coach this morning. Here’s one of the things that jumped out at me:
“Our history has NO impact on us unless we give it new life each morning. Give life to something else!”
This was in response to my growing awareness of operating from the position of victim rather than taking ownership of my moods.
While I was writing my report on Sunday I tried an enquiry into who I was being when I was in one of these moods. It went like this:
“Who are you being when you feel this way. (Low mood, down, heavy).
Someone who feels hopeless
That I’m never going to change
That I’m always going to feel this way
It’s like I see the truth of the victim/owner distinction but my history proves that I can’t change it. Other people can – my clients even – but not me.
And as soon as I write that down I think “WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH”! It’s laughable. (Owner)
But then I think “Oh yeah? Well, then why did you not choose to own your feelings this week?” (Victim)
And the owner replies. “Who cares about this week. I’m only concerned with now and I can’t stay here chatting with you. I’ve got cleaning to do before my guest arrives”.
I was amazed at how quickly I was able to shift my energy by getting in touch with the victim side of me instead of just believing I had no control over my mood. And suddenly I felt energised again. However, this type of work takes practice, apparently, as yesterday morning I was back again to feeling down.
This time the shift came by creating something a bit outrageous to focus on.
A friend of mine is visiting and we are both signed up to Michael Neill’s Creating the Impossible in 30 Days. We were both feeling a bit hurrumph and stuck so we decided we’d go back to day 1 and see how much of it we could get done before she goes home in a few days time.
We started by going for a walk and getting clear about our impossible challenge again. Then we came home and set to. We whizzed through day 1 and set 3 tasks which were required for day 2. We were also required to attack our goal with overwhelming energy. And, since we’d been so stuck earlier in the day this seemed even more crazy which made us jump around the room like mad things waving our arms and shouting “I’m wild and overwhelming”!
My 12 year old stuck his head around the door and beat a fast retreat muttering in his ‘I’m practicing being a teenager’ way, “Oh My God!” But even he couldn’t resist the energy and next thing you know he’s in the garage with my mate holding up her jewelights (long story) while she took photographs.
So, it’s plain to see that there’s more to this mood thing than it being something that happens to me. And I have a long history here. But that last night, before I went to bed, I wrote down the above quote and promised myself I would read it first thing this morning.
Not only did I read it but I also listened to my ‘Life’s Vitim Owner Choice’ CD, despite waking in the usual low mood. And next thing you know the mood’s lifted and I’m looking forward to the day ahead. As soon as I felt the heaviness I said to myself “I will not go there. My history has NO impact on me unless I give it new life this morning. I will not do that!” I didn’t even know what the “something else” was I wanted to give life to. But that didn’t matter. Saying “no” to history and the heaviness was sufficient to set a positive mood for the day.
If this is something that you can relate to I encourage you to give this a go and then to leave a comment and let us know how it went.
What are you choosing to give life to today?
Following on from yesterday’s post about mood and victimhood I thought this was interesting.
I’m giving a talk/mini workshop on August 5th about the owner/victim distinction and I wonder is this the last bastion of my victimhood?.
In a nutshell, the owner/victim distinction relects how victim’s wait for life to happen to them and owner’s take control of their lives and create what they want. However, we’re rarely one or the other. We can turn up as one in one area of our lives or as the other in another area. And it can change at any time without us noticing.
One area of my life where I take ownership, but little action (despite my having made a commitment to this last week) is physical fitness. I know that if I exercise I will feel better and have more energy and that it is up to me to do this.
However, one area where I frequently play victim, is that of mood. Since I started working with my coach in June it is a topic that has reared it’s head a few times, especially these last couple of weeks and it always stops me moving forwards. (Hmmmm. Notice the victim language there? “it always stops me moving forwards”. More accurate would be “I often allow it stop me moving forward”). Yesterday I dragged myself around the house, ate comfort food and watched television feeling that I had no control over my mood. Or that if I did, it was just too hard to choose a different one.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, mood has long been a biggie for me. But this morning I felt sick of being at it’s mercy. Even if it feels too hard or I don’t quite believe that I have the power to change it I can commit to investigating what might be done and what works for me.
So let’s see where I’m starting from . . .
. . . one thing I believe is that low mood can be improved by exercise. There is plenty of research to show that this is the case but I’ve not tested this. I’ve already shown that, until now, I’ve not been totally committed to improving my fitness levels. I know this because I haven’t consistently followed through with my agreement with myself to walk every day. However, in order to do some of the things on my wish list I’ll need to be fitter. (See my don’t go back to sleep) post.
Later . . . I can’t believe how hard I’m finding it to write this post. My energy levels have dropped. It is such a familiar, but unwanted space so, in the spirit of investigation, I’m going to leave it for now and do something to shift my mood – go for a walk . . .
Later still . . .
I enjoyed my walk and it did, indeed, shift my mood somewhat.
However, there is still a sense that something is not right and I’m not feeling energised.
A friend of mine who’s been following my journey with mood this week takes the view that “it takes much more energy to hold a feeling out, than to let it in“. And that taking mood-changing action isn’t the point. She says “I think the point is (for me), to be with whatever it is. No distraction – no music, novels, TV, drugs, alcohol, shopping, telephoning friends, IF I’m only doing it to escape where I really am. Otherwise I’m splitting off part of myself and my life“.
So that’s another view, another approach to experiment with. And the best way to experiment with not being the victim of my moods is to bring curiosity to the table. What happens if I go for a walk? What happens if I sit with it?
I doubt that mood is the last bastion of my victimhood but it certainly merits investigation.
Richard Leider, author of The Power of Purpose, interviewed many people whom he knew to be very successful, about what constitutes “the good life”. The common threads he found were that these 3 conditions were being met:
1. You are living in a place where you feel you belong.
2. You’re in strong and loving relationships at home, at work and with yourself.
3. You are doing work that you were truly meant to do in an environment where you fit and are contributing to something you believe in.
Since I first came across them (thanks to Jim Manton for introducing me) my life has improved considerably in relation to the last 2, in particular.
I was already living in Brighton which I love, so I had that one nailed.
Relationships were pretty good as well although I could do with more “at work” ones. I’ve moved from working on my own in front of a computer all day to working with clients so that’s an improvement but my practice is not yet full and, also, I’d like to run some big workshops with other coaches. My relationship with myself is improving but I could definitely be more loving and less judgemental of myself.
Regarding the third condition, that wasn’t being met at all, just a couple of months ago. But now by returning to coaching, I am creating more of this on a daily basis. I’m experimenting with what I want my working environment to look like and learning how I an contribute more.
So, all in all, I’m living much of “the good life”. How about you? What have you got sorted and what needs attention? Are there other conditions, besides those above, you feel you need before you can say you are truly living your “good life” and, if so, what are they?
I’ve just read the Week 3 Reports from Steven Chandler’s Coaching School. It’s ironic that he introduced them by saying ”week three’s reports are really FUN to read” because when I finished reading them I ended up weeping uncontrollably for about 10 minutes – not my idea of fun!
As part of the School each attendee sends in a report, once a week, and then Steve gives us some coaching on what’s been happening and sends them all back to us as one document. So we get our own coaching and also to see what’s being said to the other group members (9 of us in all).
As I was reading through this morning I found myself grabbing something that had been suggested to another member of the group, then snatching something else that was written for someone else and growing progressively more confused because it seemed like one thing was being said to one person and something else to another. I wanted some certainty about what I should do next but I wasn’t finding any answers.
Then came my own coaching, part of which was “We create it all. All the moments. All the things we later label as “important” versus what we label as unimportant. . . . So all the labeling we do is usually out of habit, not accuracy.”
And I was left floundering. I’d been feeling that certain “important” things that had been happening over the past 3 weeks were “signs” that I was doing it right. By grabbing at the actions suggested to other group members I was attempting to find more ways to “get it right”. So where did that leave me? Sobbing. That’s where. Feeling lost and lonely.
So I got up and walked around. (Movement always works wonders for shifting your emotional state and I thoroughly recommend it.)
I came back and decided to focus on MY coaching and forget about what had been said to the rest of the group, for the time-being. So I copied and pasted all Steve’s responses to my reports into one document.
There was one theme running through consistently -you’re doing a good job with the blog. Keep at it. So, that’s good. I’m managing that!
But there the consistency appeared to end.
Last week I’d spoken about how I wanted to do things my way and building my coaching practice through the blog was my way – as opposed to actively going out and making proposals. Steve’s response to that was “It IS doable. Totally doable. I can’t tell you how many people contact me for coaching because they have just read something in my blog. And other people, too, have built their entire worlds around how popular and useful and inspiring their blogs are. Is it doable? VERY!”
However, in response to my report this week Steve said “I recommend you keep looking for real people to engage with person to person”. My intial reaction to that was that this was contradictory to what he’d said last week. However, I could do this by responding to readers comments on the blogs and, even if, I interpreted it to mean that I look for real people to engage with FACE TO FACE, it’s still not contradictory since things have moved on since last week.
Only yesterday I’d decided that building interest and community through blogging alone was a longer term strategy than I wanted. My experience with one of my clients this week was so good that I wanted more of it. And sooner rather than later. So I went ahead and booked a room so that I can run a mini workshop on August 5th.
So what have I learned from this . . . ?
That looking for the right way is not helpful. Looking for my way is better but only if I remember that this is evolving and changing all the time.
What is certain now can/will change in an instant.