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Self-Mastery

Natural Law #6: Behaviour=Belief

John Owens

Natural Law #6: Your Behavior is a Reflection of What You Truly Believe

What is it that you believe about yourself and the world?

Here’s a little story that illustrates the point made from the title of this blog. A shoe manufacturer once wanted to expand his market, and sent his two best salespeople to Africa to prospect the potential to sell his shoes there. The first salesman spent a week there and emailed back. “No one here wears shoes. Market potential for shoes looks very dim.”

The second salesperson also toured Africa for a week and emailed back. “No one here wears shoes. We’ve hit the jackpot!”

We are always looking at Reality from different perspectives, and those perspectives arise from our beliefs. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that we make those beliefs from concious or unconscious choice. If our beliefs are a set of choices we make, and perspectives arise from those beliefs, our behaviors are also based on choice. The first salesman, believing the world is a hard place, or that people are not willing to change their ways, takes on a perspective that there is no viable market for shoes. The second salesman processes the same information, but her belief, that people are adaptable and willing to try new things if they are useful, sees enormous opportunity. The behaviors of these two salespeople, arising from opposing beliefs, will be very different. I’d expect the first one to quit and go back. And the second one I could see setting up shop and demonstrating to anyone who would listen the benefits of her company’s shoes. The behaviors of each of these two hypothetical examples will most likely be consistent with their beliefs.

So when we look at our own behavior, what we chose to do, or chose not to do, we can trace those actions to our beliefs that are in operation. We can gain valuable self-knowledge about why we do the things that we do. Beliefs about oneself are some of the most powerful motivators or de-motivators we will ever experience. If I was raised by family that consistently gave me messages that I am clumsy, for example, I will likely internalize the message, and believe that about myself long after others have stopped telling me so. And if I believe I’m clumsy, I might avoid rock or ladder climbing, and many other things that require agility. Each time I spill my food, I’m aware of it, and curse myself for my clumsiness. The more I act according to my belief about myself, the more I make my reality and belief consistently the same. If I believe that money is the root of all evil, it’s filthy lucre, and comes as the result of servitude, what will be my behavior? And how much wealth might I manifest in my life?

Fortunately, our beliefs are choices, and we can change them. We humans are supremely able to adapt our beliefs to new information that we take in, and adjust our behavior accordingly. At times, we may struggle, caught between two conflicting beliefs that demand very different actions. Which one do we go with? How do we choose? This is where I am compelled (by my belief) to mention that having a life coach can be immeasurably valuable in helping to dispel and let go of old, self-limiting beliefs and behaviors. Coaching helps with making these choices through a comprehensive inventory of your core values, and looking for the direction that feels most alive and resonant with your core values. Coaching can also help to get you started in behaving in new ways, that over time may lead you to change the internal beliefs you hold to new ones that are better aligned with reality.

So here are some pointers that will bring greater self-knowledge and peace:

  • You can examine your behavior patterns to understand clearly what you believe about yourself and the world.
  • Your perspective on any given topic is a choice that often is a reflection of what you believe at that time.
  • You have the ability, as a human being, to change your perspective on a topic at any time. You may change it due to new information you get, or you may change perspective and gain new information as a result. It works both ways.
  • Changing behaviors can lead to changing beliefs.
  • A life coach is a great resource for helping to try on new perspectives and behaviors that can lead to new, more lively self-beliefs that replace self-limiting ones.
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Ten Natural Laws, #5: Daily Planning

John Owens

Ten Natural Laws, #5: Daily Planning Leverages Time Through Increased Focus

I get up on Saturday morning, with nothing definite to do, and like magic, the day evaporates in activity traps like email, crosswords, reading the newspaper and emptying the garbage. Suddenly, it’s 5 o’clock, and time to cook dinner. I wasted my day. Again.

Does this ever happen to you?

There is certainly nothing wrong with being in the moment and enjoying yourself. We all have our favorite activity traps, be it TV or computer games, email, puzzles, shopping, napping, or cleaning. By “activity trap” I mean the stuff that takes up our time that is discretionary and does not lead to greater fulfillment. It may be pleasurable in the moment, but a trap will never get us where we are going in life. And wasted days add up to wasted energy and wasted life.

Some people have a great ability to self-manage. I envy them. They can go through their day from one fulfilling or important maintenance activity to another. They just don’t much get distracted. I can’t do that. I have to make a list and then plan my day around what I choose from my list to get done. Without it, I might open the refrigerator to get my lunch, and eat two hours later because I suddenly saw the need to clean it. And so my important, but not urgent, task of writing today’s blog gets pushed off until tomorrow, or whatever day it is that I get to it. So what is your preferred style of procrastination?

I like to categorize things into Important / Unimportant and Urgent / Not urgent. When looking at my list of To Do Items, I rate each by a two-by-two matrix. Important / Urgent is Priority I. Important / Not Urgent is Priority II. And Unimportant / Urgent is Priority III. Priority IV, Not Urgent / Not Important can usually get scratched off the list, or used to reward myself. We have to do the Priority I items. That’s usually not one we let slip. It is the Priority II items that often make the long-term differences in our lives, like making that appointment for a physical, or losing weight, applying for that job, or making a date with your spouse. Continual failure to complete these tasks serves to hold us in a place of stagnation and misery. Our internal (or external) Saboteurs love to give us plenty of reasons to put Priority II items on the back burner.

Daily planning is the best and surest way I have found to consistently make progress on the items that will make a difference in my professional and personal life. What works best for me is to plan my day’s appointments, tasks and calls the night before. That way I go to bed with my intention set for the following day for what is critical for me to accomplish. I use a form, of my own making, but a store-bought one can work just as well. (I am willing to send you a copy of my Excel-based daily planner if you send me an email, which you can do through my website). This helps me be at choice for what I want to do each day and when I will do it. On the days that I don’t plan things out, well, I can see a huge difference in what I do or don’t get done, and how much fulfillment I feel for the day.

To summarize, here is a method to get more fulfillment out of each day:

  • List your calls, appointments and tasks each day, preferably the night before.
  • Prioritize by importance and urgency.
  • Set an intention and schedule for working on important/not urgent tasks each day.
  • Schedule your day in time slots. Adjust your time slots as necessary when things get off-track. Drop Priority III and IV items as needed, or schedule them for later in the day.
  • Reward yourself with Priority IV items when you meet your goals.
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Coaching Self-Mastery

Ten Natural Laws, #3: Inner Peace

John Owens

Ten Natural Laws, #3: Achieve Inner Peace by Resonating With Your Core Values Daily

Can you remember a time in your life when everything was going perfectly? When you felt fully alive, peaceful, and resonating with all that is? Take a moment to put yourself there again. Breathe into it and notice whatever it is you are experiencing. What is that like for you?

When your daily activities reflect your core values, you experience inner peace. It doesn’t take effort so much as mindfulness to align your core values, actions and thoughts into a single wholeness of being. Suddenly the internal voices that we all have, advising us about what we should or shouldn’t be, or should or shouldn’t do, quiet down so that we can hear and feel how who we are being and our life purpose have become one. For most, if not all of us, this is a powerful and often profoundly joyful experience.

I’ll share one such experience I had a that illustrates this alignment of actions and values. I had just decided that I would take my first coaching classes, and I was about to make the call to register. I had been searching for a way that would work for me in helping others transform their lives and live purposefully. A friend had suggested I look into coaching as a possible way for me. I was to learn later how much that commitment would help me to live my values of caring for, and deeply respecting, others, and my value of creating sacred space to do courageous work. As I reached over to pick up the phone to register for the classes, I was astonished to see my hand shaking! The hair on my arms stood up with goose bumps. I stopped moving momentarily, and checked myself out. Yes, I felt fear, that good kind of fear I feel when entering into the unknown of much greater possibilities. I also felt my heart peaceful, singing. I realized suddenly that I was meeting my destiny. I completed my call, and have since felt many, many moments of deep fulfillment and joy in my coaching career.

We are all striving for that feeling of fulfillment that gives us deep inner peace and connection to self and others. What are you doing to make that a daily occurrence for yourself? Here’s a few tips to get you going:

  • Know your values. Being aware of what makes you tick goes a long way towards making the daily choices — both big and little — that will honor your values in thought and deed. Engaging a life coach can help greatly in finding your core values, and there are other ways (see blog #2 from last week for pointers).
  • Pick one of your values that you want to honor more of in your life. It need not be your most important value. Pick something that will be easy for you to take action on. The key is to get moving with success right away.
  • Plan, or set a firm intention, every day to do something to express that value. If you value ‘family,’ set aside some amount of time, even 15 minutes each day, to be fully present and connected to a family member. If you value ‘fun,’ do something that is fun for you, like dance with your partner or kids, play a game, or make funny faces with someone you’re close to. The possibilities are endless. What is important is to take action, and notice how you feel while you are doing it.
  • Celebrate your success. I can’t emphasize this enough. Too much in our culture we do something, check off the To Do List box, and just move on to the next thing as if nothing important happened. Reward yourself and others you take with you in honoring your values. A fist pump, a dance move, a song you sing are simple, immediate things that you can do to celebrate. Use your large muscles when you celebrate to help anchor the feeling of peace and joy in your body. Breathe, and notice what you feel. Lock in your joy, and you will find it increasingly easy to seek out the things that will help you feel that joy. This is training your brain to seek success and inner peace!
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Ten Natural Laws, #4: Leave your Comfort Zone

John Owens

Ten Natural Laws, #4: To Reach Any Significant Goal You Must Leave Your Comfort Zone

There is a part of me that responds to the words of this blog title with fear and loathing. I don’t like it that, once again, I’ll have to leave my small circle of comfort to reach a significant goal. “Not again,” a part of me says, “you don’t really have to work that hard, and feel all those feelings. Let somebody else do it.”

So whose voice is that? When I ask myself if that voice is coming from my heart and resonating with my core values, I know it is not. It’s the voice of my Saboteur, the part of me whose job it is to keep me safe, small, and ultimately miserable. Parts of our old brain are designed to do just that: keep us safe, not stand out to be a target, and take care of our wants and needs, maintain the status quo—at all costs. Anytime we want to change our lives, reach for a meaningful goal, start something new, and live our values more fully (see my previous Natural Law blogs), the Saboteur will appear (that’s its job!) and try to talk us back into our comfort zone of homeostasis.

The Saboteur can be ingenious, or as blunt as shaming us into retreating from what our heart wants. The most subtle and confusing is how we can co-create a Saboteur external to ourselves, a boss, ‘friend’, parent or spouse that fills the role perfectly of giving us compelling reasons to stay just where we are. And it takes a heck of a lot of discomfort to effectively stand up to either our internal or external Saboteurs (or both!) to change what we have been doing and how we have been being to move toward something new and meaningful. If you did not have to leave your comfort zone to achieve something of real value, you would already be doing it, right?

Much of the time we are existing in our comfort zone. If not, the constant state of stimulation that would result would cause physical and high anxiety. Paradoxically, the reverse is also true: Living entirely in our comfort zone will cause physical and mental illness, like an addict hooked on a very specific state of being and feeling that gets increasingly difficult to maintain, and eventually he/she breaks down. So it is important for us to manage our discomfort, to push outside from Comfort Zone into Learning Zone on occasion. Here is where change happens in our lives. There is excitement, which is a combination of both fear and joy. Pushed beyond the Learning Zone, we enter the Panic Zone, where our physical, social or psychic safety is challenged, and the old parts of the brain light up, preventing us from learning and growing. Obviously, this state of affairs will not lead us toward any significant goal if it is maintained for long.

So here are a few tips for moving out of your comfort zone and achieving your important goals. Keep in mind that using a life coach can be a powerful ally to keep you on track for all of the points here:

  • Write down your goals. Write the reasons that achieving these goals are important to you. What are the impacts on your and others’ lives that you want to make?
  • Keep your goal and your reasons with you. If I want to lose 20 pounds (yes, I do!), I’ll write that as my goal. I’ll also give my reasons, for lowering my risk of heart and circulatory disease, lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, much easier to bike up hills, improved self-image, more energy, etc. I’ll post that right at my spot in the dining room where I eat and another copy on the snack cabinet.
  • Identify your Saboteur. What’s the justification line your Saboteur rehearses for you to hold you to the status quo? Get to know this part so you don’t get caught unconscious and automatically do its bidding, like finishing an entire bag of potato chips, and then thinking, “I can’t believe I just did that!”
  • Be a compassionate self-manager. Good managers don’t shame, blame or yell or pass harsh judgment. Don’t do that to yourself. Change is not easy. You will have failures, just like you did when you were learning to walk as an infant. Take in the learning from the failure, and try again. Start anew each day.
  • Collaborate by design. What I mean by that is to enroll people around you, friends, coworkers, spouse or kids. Tell them your goal, and why it is important to you and to them. Ask for their support, and let them know what that support looks like for you. You may need to train them, but having a support system will help ensure you get the reinforcement we all need at times. You don’t have to do it alone.
  • Be accountable. That’s not a shaming experience; accountable means giving an account of yourself. If you did not meet a goal, be honest about what sidetracked you. Get beyond the circumstances (the refuge of the victim) and explore what messages you are giving yourself that prevents you from progress.
  • Celebrate each success. Every giant or baby step towards your goal is earned. Celebrate accordingly! You, and those around you, will want more of the part of you that grows and celebrates. Let that continue in a virtuous cycle. Yay me! I lost a pound this week! I’ll celebrate with a victory walk. Woohoo!
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Ten Natural Laws #2: Your Governing Values Are the Foundation of Your Fulfillment

John Owens

Ten Natural Laws #2: Your Governing Values Are the Foundation of Your Fulfillment

Every one of us humans has a set of core values that make us who we are. These core values are like the DNA of our soul. Our values must be expressed, or bad things happen to us and others around us. And when they are expressed, we feel deep fulfillment. The emotions are often joyful, but not always. Caring for a terminally ill loved one may be an expression of a core value of connection and caring, but the emotions that accompany that might be far more complex than just joy. Still, there is a deep-seated satisfaction that goes with living one’s values. You know it when you feel it.

So how do you know what your core values are? It is enormously helpful to be conscious of what your values are so that you can measure alternatives and make choices for yourself based on your values. But beware, our values are not always what they seem: our parents, our culture, and our circumstances growing up often impose values that we take on, feel they should be important to us, and we go on with life as if they were our own. An example: a bright young girl whose parents, both medical professionals, instill in her the desire to become a doctor. Through college pre-med classes she has done well, but in medical school she has a breakdown and can’t go on. She’s been pleasing her parents (honoring one value), but denying her creative side (stepping on another value). Later, she finds expression of her real value as an artist, and genuine fulfillment.

How do you uncover your core values? There are many ways to do this, but here are a few questions and methods that really get to the heart of this:

  • Think of one or two peak experiences in your life. Times when everything was flowing. What made that experience special? What values were you honoring? Keep probing.There may be just one important value operative, but likely there were more.
  • What are some things without which life would simply not be meaningful? The answers will lead you right to your values.
  • What is it that you can’t stand, that makes you really mad? These things are clues to values you hold dear that are getting stepped on. For instance, I hate it when people interrupt others (doesn’t have to be just me). My value of deep respect feels dishonored when I hear people interrupting one another (the Hindi word “Namaste”, recognizing the divine in one another is how I like to express that value).
  • Who are your heroes? Think of people whom you deeply admire; what is it about them that you hold dear? Their courage or connection, sense of justice or artistic expression? We frequently project onto others the values we hold for ourselves.

Once you have your list of values, you can start examining your behaviors and your choices in this light. It’s useful to rank them in importance to you at this point in time for you. Are you living your values when you take a certain action? Which choice will honor your most important value right now? What values have you not been honoring? What can you do to express that value in your life, work, or relationships?

Finally, notice what changes for you when you are more fully expressing your values. Are you feeling more fulfillment? Are other parts of your life going better as well? Is your heart at peace? Are you more generous, less crabby?

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10 Natural Laws: #1: Controlling your time

John Owens

10 Natural Laws: #1

You control your life by controlling your time.

All too often, we let circumstances take over control of our lives. Today, I set out to write several blog posts. That was at 11 AM. I got distracted when the phone rang, and talked to a friend for awhile. Then I looked at me email inboxes, followed a few links…next I knew, it was 12:30, and time for lunch. It’s now 4:45 PM; finally I’m getting started on my task. Hours of my life slipped away from me forever as I let reaction to those circumstances take over and prevail. I’m feeling crabby and unfulfilled, angry at myself for wasting a good part of my day.

This happens to all of us from time to time. It gets dangerous when our important/not urgent intentions get sidelined for days and weeks on end. And it is so easy for that to happen. So if controlling my life is controlling my time, what can I do to better control my time? Here’s some tips:

  • Create a structure that supports your Life Agenda. There are always some actions we can do that support us in becoming our bigger, better self. Create a schedule or rhythm to your day that promotes you working on those important-but-not-urgent tasks. My rhythm includes getting up by 7 AM each morning and being ready for any type of work by 9 o’clock. I can depend on myself to be ready on any given day.
  • Schedule what’s important. If writing this blog is important for me to do, I can put it on my calendar to spend 45 minutes at 11 AM to put into writing. It’s on my calendar, and it alarms me 5 minutes before I planned to start so I can clear off my desk area and be ready to roll.
  • Turn off distractions. Some people are motivated by music. Some are distracted by it. Close down your web browser if you tend to look at emails. Close your door and pull the cord on your phone. The world will not come to an end if you are not available for a couple of hours (belay that if you are an emergency responder). It can be a miracle-worker to design a little with your partner that these two hours today are your quiet time, DND.
  • Reward yourself! Do something that helps anchor the feeling of satisfaction with having completed a task or commitment in your body. Dance a little; twirl around on your chair; give yourself a hug. My advice is to use your large muscles when you celebrate, and let it into your heart that you feel celebration for controlling your time and life.
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Coaching Journal

Hummingbird

John Owens

Hummingbird

In summer I put out hummingbird feeders with suction cups on my bay window. This year we were blessed with an abundance of these creatures’ visits. What a marvel to watch them, hovering motionlessly, with their glorious cloak of iridescent feathers shimmering in the afternoon sun.

Such courageous feats hummingbirds commit to! With a body weighing only a few grams, the hummingbird must eat high energy food constantly to survive. A day or two of fasting should spell certain death. Yet these critters fly across the Gulf of Mexico yearly to their wintering grounds without stopping for food or rest. Many birds must perish on the journey. Another courageous thing I have seen hummingbirds do is hover face to face with my two young (and astonished!) cats, bird eyeing cats curiously before buzzing away. I’ve witnessed this frequently, with predator and prey honoring one another from six inches away (through glass) in highly-charged silence.

My Mission is to create abundant compassion by honoring my connection with all beings. It was with compassion and concern this summer when I came home for lunch and found a hummingbird in my garage. She was flying around the ceiling looking fruitlessly for the exit. The sixteen-foot-wide door was open; still it just could not find the way out. Concerned, I left the garage door open, and hoped it would escape by evening.

Hummingbird still had not exited the garage by evening. I put out some jelly, hoping it could get nourishment. Each time I saw the poor creature, it was flying around randomly at ceiling height, oblivious to the open door beckoning it to freedom. I knew that if I tried catching it with a net, it would probably be injured and die, so its best chance lay in my trusting it could find an exit by itself.

Next morning, the hummingbird was still stuck. I determinedly opened the garage door and the windows, propped open the service door, and slightly shut the overhead door so the bird could see more opening for escape at the top of the door. Something worked: at noon I checked; Hummingbird was gone (and not laying dead on the floor!). I rejoiced my tiny friend had at last found freedom. It found its own way, perhaps with the invitation from me.

Later, I recounted the story with some friends. It was then it occurred to me: Hummingbird was no different than us. How many times have I searched exhaustively and fruitlessly for a solution? Then a coach or friend would give me a little nudge by pointing out a direction, and I’d find the door that had been gaping open in front of me all the while. Occasionally we all need a new perspective to show us the door. I was grateful to have been an ally to hummingbird. I am grateful to serve my clients similarly. And I am grateful that you, too, are there when I bumble about blindly.

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Legacy

John Owens

Legacy

“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.” Billy Graham

From ancient times, tribal elders would ask of any important decision, “What will be the effects of acting on this decision for the next seven generations? Will this benefit our children’s children and beyond?” Who we are and how we manifest our core values with intention can have a long-lasting and positive effect on our communities. Our carelessness and unconsciousness can lead to polluting the earth. Our caring and awareness can lead to a lasting stewardship.

What will you do with your values, your special gifts and abilities, and your time and energy before you pass on from this earth? You are right now creating your legacy, determining with whom and how your values, your work, love and vision survive beyond the scope of your life, and reverberate in the hearts and lives of others.

Legacy need not be money or property given as a final act or bequest. It may be mentorship of those younger than you, a scrapbook, a company culture, camping or hunting trips with the family, or a book written because it was in you. Legacy is the culmination of one’s life purpose and mission. It is your service in the world guided by your vision and values.

When we focus our attention on creating our legacy, we bring to bear all our gifts: our talents and abilities, intention, purpose, vision, relationships, values, our material wealth and our spiritual endowment – all toward something that enriches and empowers, connects and inspires others for generations to come. And through that work of legacy we live on past our own death, in the hearts and memories and stories of those we love and bless, those who would be inspired and carry our legacy values and vision and beliefs to yet another generation.

If we humans did not create legacy, there would be no Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed or Moses. There would be no Gandhi or Mandela or George Washington. Imaging a world without Mozart or Picasso, universities or sports heroes. Through legacy the world is built and bettered for generations to come. It is not just the great and famous who leave a lasting and worthwhile legacy. There are millions of stories that survive those who lived them. We may not know their names as household words; the gifts that these women and men have left us may not bear their names, but certainly their signatures: what is authentic and unique about them that continues to live on.

What is legacy composed of? Certainly there is a vision of a better world. Without these we could not imagine and dream of its creation. It is a vision of what is achievable in one’s lifespan.

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The Client’s Agenda

John Owens

The Client’s Agenda

The date may suddenly loom up on your calendar…”Gee, I’ve got a call with John tonight. What should I coach on? Gosh, I don’t have the slightest idea…Hmmm, maybe I’ll just wing it and see what I think of when I call.”

That’s one perspective, isn’t it? “I’ll just ad lib and see”.

Another perspective might be “I’ve got to be prepared and get this RIGHT”. So you choose to spend time thinking about the biggest problem you’ve experienced over the week, and rehearse what you’re going to say, and maybe anticipate some of the questions the coach will ask.

Another choice might be to ask someone you trust what you should coach on (the ‘let Wise Annie lead my life’ perspective). What perspectives have you had toward your coaching sessions?

Let’s face it: sometimes there is just no burning issue that begs for coaching. Sometimes you may feel just NOT up to the task of spending another 45 minutes talking about your finances, your significant other, or your career, etc. AGAIN. So there you are, stuck on choosing a topic that is not excessively wimpy and weak, and then again, not about that big, excruciating boulder that you keep finding in your path every time you try to move forward with your life.

Sound familiar? I’ve been there myself as a client with my own coach. It happens because we are human, and thrive when we have a balance of all those parts of the Wheel of Life: environment, career, family / friends, fun & recreation, health, personal growth, spiritual/community life, love/romance, and wealth/abundance. We might be stuck in a perspective that coaching sessions have to BE about one sort of thing and not something else. So there’s a place to start!! Look at your wheel in that folder you have for your coaching notes. What have you kept off the table for coaching? What feels out of balance, stuck, empty or dull? What in your life is just sailing along with a strong breeze? Coaching is not JUST about problems, saboteur, and attaining goals (the upward mission). It can and does encompass the downhill parts of life: being, relating, holding oneself and others in particular ways. Curiosity. Creativity. Play. Deepening learning means also exploring what is going well, to see what is present and manifest in those moments. It can be taking time to celebrate change or actions that you have taken that required effort. Coaching can be about celebrating your failures—the sure indicator that you really stretched it out there and took a risk!

Another place to look for an agenda topic is your original goals for coaching. Review the things you said you wanted out of coaching. Are you there yet? What remains to do and be? There is some rich and fertile ground there for taking life to that next level of fulfillment and achievement. Maybe you have achieved your goals. Write some new ones and share them. What could be your topic then? Still stuck? How about redoing the Wheel, see where fulfillment is not yet at level 10. Maybe you just feel bored or enervated. Great! Let’s explore that together and see what treasures lie in those rooms. You get the idea I’m speaking to here, and I trust that you can find several more ways to focus your coaching agendas to walk confidently along the path of your Future Self.

Two cornerstones of Co-Active Coaching (what I do as coach) are to hold the client naturally creative, resourceful and whole (NCRW), and that the agenda comes from the client. If the coach does not hold the client NCRW, it does not even matter where the agenda comes from. There cannot be a powerful relationship between equals, and inevitably, the coach tries to ‘fix’ the client, and the powerful alliance is deflated. From the coach’s perspective that we are all NCRW, I know that the client is completely capable of coming up with their agenda, and will solve their problems in the best possible way: using the coaching session as a means of exploration, testing, and choice for action and deepening the learning.

So here’s my request to all my lovely clients: From this moment on, promise me you will take charge of your coaching sessions by having at least one agenda item or topic, and preferably three or four things you want coaching on. Remember, you can say ‘yes’, ‘no’ or counteroffer to the request. Write me back and let me know what you will do and when you will do it. AND I promise to hold you up to the magnificent, capable human that you are right now.

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