I want to talk about something really important.
Strangely we don’t hear much about it when we talk about changing our lives and I think that’s because most people simply haven’t experienced it for themselves.
As a life coach, I spend a lot of my time discovering and trying out life-hacks. I have hundreds of them, and they’re all helpful. In fact, if you were to start doing any one of them, I bet you’d see your life begin to change in some way or another.
The point is that no matter what we want to change, there are probably a hundred ways to approach it, all of which could be helpful. The possibilities are endless, really.
For example, want to improve your relationship? I can list five practices right off the bat that I guarantee will bring more intimacy and connection to you and your partner. The first five that come to mind are:
1. Set a timer for two minutes each day to look into each other’s eyes.
2. Keep a journal simply describing the feelings you have about the relationship every day.
3. Write a gratitude list about your partner.
4. If there’s anything you wish you’d done differently with your partner, make an apology.
5. Tell them a secret.
These are all great things to do and I highly recommend them no matter who you are or who you’re with. I’ve even used them myself and they always make a difference. But sadly, most people reading this won’t even give them a try.
How do I know this? Well, I work with a lot of people and it’s just how most of us are trained to operate. We don’t break out of our patterns and take on new practices easily. We need some re-training to begin doing so.
But there are certain clients of mine who behave noticeably differently in this area. They leave each session excited and optimistic, they try everything they agreed to try, and upon seeing me again for our next session, they proceed to tell me how wondrously different things have been as a result.
These people have something special that most of us don’t have and I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, a little more about coaching (I tend to tell all my stories through the lens of coaching since it’s what I do the most and it’s where I learn all my best lessons).
There’s a generally accepted truth among life coaches that we can only take our clients as far as we’ve taken ourselves. That’s not to say we need to have accomplished exactly what they hope to accomplish, but more accurately, that we need to have already overcome for ourselves whatever fear or limiting belief is standing in our clients’ way. There’s a really good reason why this is true and it has to do with the conviction that one earns after having broken through a barrier. Prior to breaking through it, we may be uncertain it’s possible. Afterward, we have no doubt.
You’ve gotta have no doubt your client can do the thing they want to do. You have to believe in them 100 percent.
Whenever I’ve asked myself how it’s possible to be of great service to someone’s dreams and goals when I have just barely discovered the way through for myself, I’ve been reminded of what it means to be a coach. It means I am a professional at personal progress. It means I know beyond a doubt that progress is always possible.
Yes, I have many tools of the trade in my coaching arsenal. I know how to ask powerful questions, leading to powerful insights, leading to powerful steps forward, and that’s valuable stuff.
But I have something I consider even more valuable than all my skill and all my life hacks.
I have a firm belief that there’s always a way through. I am certain that every setback is a chance to learn, and with each learning experience, we are better equipped to succeed. I’m certain that if we keep at it, continuously willing to try something new instead of repeating the same patterns, we will eventually break through to the other side of our challenge.
For all my listening skills, motivation tricks, and understanding of human nature, often, the most important quality I bring to the table for my clients is my certainty in the boundlessness of possibility.
Now let’s rewind a bit. Remember the client I talked about earlier? The one who leaves our session, tries everything on the list, and comes back having experienced great results?
What special quality do they have that many of us don’t?
It’s simple: A lack of cynicism.
That is the simplest, most powerful life-hack ever.
They believe if they do things differently their lives will change. And because of that belief, they are willing to make a concentrated effort to do things differently. And when they change what they’re doing, they break the patterns they’ve been hamster-wheeling in. And when they do that, their lives change.
It’s not by accident. They’re not just especially lucky in a way the rest of us could never hope to be.
It’s simply that, whether they’re conscious of it or not, on a fundamental level they understand something that a surprising number of people don’t get: The reason we get stuck isn’t because change isn’t possible. We get stuck because we become hopeless about ever changing. We follow the same patterns, see no change, and then give up and repeat the cycle, and it happens so many times that change actually begins to look impossible.
It’s actually pretty insane but it makes perfect sense. We’re not stuck because of any shortage of ideas, answers, or insights. We’re stuck because we have a really hard time believing any of them will work and we don’t give them a chance.
Well, I believe that if we want to get moving, doing anything is better than doing nothing.
So why not give it a try and see what happens?