Control is an illusion. I scribbled that down on a scrap of paper years ago and posted it near my desk. I have to say, with certainty, that I have found this to be absolutely true. There is only so much that is in my control. What is it the Serenity Prayer says? We need the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the Courage to change the things we can and the Wisdom to know the difference.
We play in the field of possibility and probability but sometimes life just turns out differently than we planned. If you had asked me ten years ago, what my life would look like I could have imagined some of it… but not much of it. That is not to say things have turned out badly, but there have been unexpected challenges and surprises. Who plans on divorce, health issues, death, etc.? I did not see those things coming my way, but they did. Loved ones dying, leaving, moving on… I have learned to stay more curious but many days, I am still surprised.
Life is, in fact, a mixed bag and it is so far from “perfect.”
I would say it is only perfect in its imperfection.
And by that, I mean… some things happen TO us…. but all things happen FOR us if we choose to see life that way.
Just suppose, imagine if you will, the possibility that we may have chosen the events of our lives to learn certain lessons and move along our evolutionary path. What would those lessons be? If this is even possible, I would suspect then that on some unconscious level, we might see things coming even if we are not tuned into the signs. Sometimes hindsight feels 20/20…. and I can look back and say: YES! Of course, it was right under my nose.
If we don’t have a belief system that supports difficult times, we can easily slip into feeling like the “victim” of circumstances. When we or our clients get attached to that role, it seems logical that the antidote would be “to act or to do something.” In fact, the first steps to shifting out of that disempowered place are to tell our story, to sort the truth from the fiction and to become aware… to separate what is and is not in our control so that we may begin the parallel process of Action and Acceptance.
As coaches, the best, first thing we can do is listen with no judgement and with empathy and compassion…. mindful of the days we may have felt the same as they have. We respect them enough NOT to fix or rescue… but to partner with them in their process. When clients know we see them as “whole and resourceful” no matter how broken they may feel it can create the space they need to reconnect with their inner resources and spirit.
Look, I am a self-professed control freak… but my journey, as many as you know, has been to learn to get into the flow… when the unexpected occurs… and to believe that the Universe is unfolding exactly as it should. Of course, that can be tough when the situation involves seeing the people you love suffering or in pain and you cannot change it.
I remember my mother and father both, as they were nearing their transitions out of this world, both telling me how much it meant to them for me to just be with them on both their journeys… more than all the supplements and super foods I could come up with.
I will never forget my father holding so tightly to my hand as he took his last breaths… and in the very next moment.. he simply let go.
So perhaps you will think about what you are gripping onto so tightly today. Where are you trying to maintain control when perhaps you simply need to let go? Where are your clients doing the same?
The unexpected twists and turns (even if painful) have shown me that I can be open to something that was not in my game plan– a new opportunity, relationship, or experience. They also have shown me that I am strong and whole no matter how broken or alone I might believe I am.
Life happens. This is often when people come to coaching. They need support, answers, strategies.. and to fix what they believe to be wrong including themselves. All they know is that they want it to be better than it is. Be the witness to their story…listen to them with compassion and help them explore the possibilities. Be their partner in building a bridge to what they are striving for… while at the same time helping them accept that some days it is not only OK to surrender with no shame or blame about it… but it is the exact, most powerful thing that their highest self is calling them to do.
Going Quantum With You…