The ABC’s of Life Coaching is an alphabet of values to help us consciously identify what is truly important in our lives and if our thoughts and behaviors support those priorities. Or if in fact, we are caught in a routine based more on habit and routine. Having written about accountability and balance to day we focus on CHOICE – The power, right, or liberty to recognize and select by preference what options or alternative are available to you. The best or most preferable part.
Don’t let another day go by where you miss an opportunity to make an alternate choice or pursue a new possibility because your day-to-day activities are unconsciously supporting expectations that were set long ago, or by someone else – such as family, friends, significant other, or society. When we are younger it is natural and even necessary to learn about life through our culture of birth (family history and dynamics, culture, economic opportunities and limitations, religion, geography, etc.) But as adults there are things that we have the power to change. Clearly, family history, ethnicity, and genetic make-up will be with us for the long-haul, but who we associate with, how we spend our free time, where we live and how we participate in our community are all up to us. The past is important and provides us tools to adapt to the future – a future which is often unknown – but a future that will be influenced by the attitude you have and the intentions you set. So ask yourself:
- What do I want?
- What beliefs do I have about those desires?
- What can I do today to move closer to my goals?
Everyday we make thousands of decisions, some are pro-active (to create change) and some are reactive (to adapt to change). Some are driven by distress (from a place of fear), some are driven by ambition (from a place of desire), some are driven by curiosity (from a place of play and wonder) and others are driven by emotion, impulse, or laziness. The goal of coaching is to make sure that regardless of whatever choice you make and whichever direction you travel – that you are not sitting in the back seat being driven but are behind the wheel doing the driving.
H. B. Gelatt, an educator and expert in decision making, came up with THE FOUR COMMANDMENTS OF CHOICE (realizing that most of us wouldn’t be able to remember 10.)
1. Thou shall not worship false goals.
First we want to reflect upon our current goals to confirm if they are as relevant today as they were when we set them. Once we refine and recommit to our future goals, we must not worship them either. Our goals should guide us, not govern us. The paradox is to remain focused and flexible.
2. Covet thy neighbor’s advice.
Once you identify your goals, share them with those around you. As smart as you are, and as much as you’ve learned, your knowledge and experience might actual limit your ability to see new strategies and take advantage of alternate perspectives that can breath new life into your pursuits. As Emile Chartier said, “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” And remember whether it is a friend, neighbor or paid consultant – what they are offering is just an opinion. You get to choose what you want to borrow, modify, integrate and apply.
3. Thou shall sometimes commit credulity.
Credulity is a form of gullibility which leads us to believe what we want to believe, to submit to wishful thinking. Gelatt suggests that strategic self-deception can sometimes be wise, as awareness follows thought and we tend to see the things on which we are focused. If you concentrate on someone’s faults – they will be much more evident to you and will overshadow any strengths and vice-versa. Much like when you are contemplating buying a new car and suddenly you start to notice that the streets and highways are filled with that particular make and model. Such intention is a great tool as your unconscious will gather evidence to support your goals.
4. Honor the right and left brain.
Respect and utilize both your creative/intuitive (right) and your rational/logical (left) brain. Pursuing your dreams does not mean you have to sacrifice your desire for stability. We are complex and multi-faceted creatures who crave spontaneity and security, are capable of balancing silliness and sensibility, and are at our best when we create lives that are both practical and magical.
Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, psychiatrist, founder of logotheraphy, author of Man’s Search for Meaning (1959), and Holocaust survivor said, “Everything can be taken away from a man but once thing, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” This is a concept that I’m guessing most of us understand and agree with, at least theoretically. Our challenge is to take responsibility for its application in our everyday lives.
To that end, here are a few reflection questions that might help you better understand if not positively shift your relationship with CHOICE.
- On a scale of 1-10, at what level of choice are you living?
- In what areas of your life do you feel you have the most choice? What areas are you least at choice?
- What choice(s) are you most proud of in your life?
- What choice or decision would you make if it weren’t such a risk?
- Start to notice the many options that present themselves in a day. Keep a record of the choices you make and your decision making style (i.e.: weighing the pros and cons or trusting your gut instinct, etc.) What do you learn about yourself and your relationships with choice?
Good luck with the many choices that face you today!
Stacey Zackin is a Certified Professional Life, Career & Health Coach who is passionate about helping individuals and groups pro-actively pursue lives of passion, play, & purpose. In addition to academic degrees in Film/Photography, Industrial Social Work, Depth Psychology & Non-Profit Management, Stacey blends her intuition, humor, and sense of story, to help clients discover unexplored narratives and become the authors of their future. To learn more go to: http://www.theCoach4you.com or contact Stacey for a complimentary sample session – Stacey@theCoach4you.com.
“By participating in coaching sessions with Stacey, I found out what I really wanted to be doing and how I could achieve it. I am living proof that by insightful questioning of one’s goals, dreams and beliefs, anyone can gain the confidence to pursue their life’s purpose and achieve newfound joy.” ~ Lauren J., Writer
“I feel truly lucky to be working with Stacey because she has an uncanny ability to make you accountable to yourself. She helps you set goals and deadlines and then provides a support structure to encourage you to achieve those goals. Knowing I have to report back to Stacey, has given me the motivation to get things done and further my career.” ~ Marty E., Director
“Stacey really kicks my ass in gear. She doesn’t let me slack off. She always makes me see my highest possibilities.” ~ Lisa B., Director/Photographer