We assume that the stress and business we undergo is just how life is but it doesn’t have to be that way. Unfortunately, we get stuck in routines, some to deal with the pressures and some to avoid the pressures. It is virtually impossible to separate work from home, particularly if there are acute challenges at either or both venues. It is best to openly discuss these before serious illness or eruption occurs.
As a coach, mentor and learning consultant, I often have to delve into the reasons for people’s motivations. Behaviours, thoughts and emotions are rarely predictable, nor should they be lest we lose a large part of our humanity. Many people operate on a beta wave thought frequency, always on the go, always reacting and never contemplating. In this stress, people lose their ability to think rationally, to think positively, to self-reflect and grow from the learning of an experience.
The twist is that I get caught in the same loop without realizing. While I’m helping my clients, I perform for them as I am expected to do and yet I lose sight of my own thinking in the process. Recently, I had an intervention with a parent who has a troubled post-teen at home. This young man was in a struggle to manhood, lost in liminality, short of role models, not finding purpose or direction with the loss of one of the parents. Bad habits formed around the young man and impacted the relationships and harmony of the household including the parent’s ability to manage at home. I felt it was my role to immediately ‘solve’ the problem, to dispense with advice and hold them accountable for implementing it which was a reaction based on my own mental models.
I realize that I was at that time, working with a low tolerance and my own thresholds were down. This resulted in my desire for immediacy, for clear cut methods and hard-handedness. This might work in some circumstances but lacks the caring, the deep listening and wisdom that comes from being in a better place than the person you are coaching. A good coach is resolved to be the person that is needed for the other at the time it is needed, regardless of personal tolerances. This takes self-observation and a grounded open approach.
So, as a coach, how do we put our own advice and philosophy into practice? Simply by practicing what we preach. By being the doing. My approach to personal development and leadership starts with self-understanding, then learning, and finally practice. I go into much more depth in a series of essays in my published volumes of ‘The Experience – A Guide to a Connection of a Lifetime’ in which I attempt to urge the reader into a deep self-examination inducing a connectivity with life and nature. It is not much different in working with people. I also describe some of the mental barriers we have been socially engineered to reproduce in western society, much of which create stress and mental illness.
Like any worthy process, time and patience is necessary to achieve great things. Being of service to others in their time of need is one of the most worthy things we can do. If we do this properly for them, we grow and learn and can take away the learning to help us develop into better practitioners.