THE NUMBER 1 REASON YOU AREN’T ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.

When values are clear,
decisions are easy

Walt Disney

 

In the common image, coaching is summarized in the sentence: the coach motivates.

The sentence in its brevity contains a number of misunderstandings.
First, the subject of the coaching is the client, in the sense that it is the client who works during the session and the professional leads with the instruments in the “toolbox”.
Then, “motivation” never comes from outside, so no one can actually give you reasons to perform certain actions if you do not find them inside of you.
And if that was not enough …

We can also believe intensely that we have an authentic and personal push, nevertheless this is not always true.

We are convinced that we want to achieve certain objectives and this idea is supported by an impeccable logic. But the main symptom of the fact that we are not so convinced lies in the results that do not come!
“I want to be fit because I have a myriad of clothes that I’m not going to throw!”; “Yes, I am committed to the business objective, so I will have the bonus this year as I will have real freedom when I have finished paying the mortgage”, etc. etc.
With motivations like these, we end up not only not being effective, but also to mature a opinion of us as not sufficiently strong or capable. How many times have you told yourself: “I do not have strong willpower”?

I will be tranchant to simplify the reasoning, but let me throw a challenge a little “disrespectful” (as I would not do in session: your goals are really valuable to me too, but…) how important it will be if you throw your clothes? And are you really telling me that having a mortgage undermines the perception of you as a free person?

The question is: what really is essential for you.

I used examples on physical appearance and success not by chance. These are very frequent cases of social imperatives that (to be precise, not always, but certainly most of the time) do not have to do with what really matters to us.

It is also possible that there is another type of push within you to achieve the same objectives and the real one, the one that “mysteriously” keeps getting up on Monday at 6 am and running or at work makes you send the toad down with an unbearable customer: do you give importance to health? Do you have a large family to keep or certain activities in which you express yourself that are expensive?

The key is understanding your values.

Understanding our values ​​means identifying what has always pushed us to do what we do. I add: with enthusiasm and direction.

Enthusiasm is a whole inner spark that we do not know where it comes from, but since childhood it enlightens us as human being and gives us the energy of life. Among the Greeks it was the condition of those who were invaded by a divine force or fury. The logic here is little at stake: the work is in not analysing but recognizing the values, in identifying them.

The direction comes from internal consistency. Let me explain: we think of the personality of the human being as a monolith, while inside us there are many facets. Said so, it is comprehensible that certain values ​could come into conflict: fun and professional success, typically, or freedom and family … This does not mean that one is to be sacrificed to the detriment of the other. One of the best possibilities offered by coaching lies in favoring the mediation between apparently antithetical impulses.

 

In the meantime, what you can do right away.

Imagine your goal. It can probably be expressed as a generic “I should be …”.
Divide a sheet in half and write this obligation and all its because, again in the form of a duty.
In the other half, express your goal in the form of “I want to do …” and in a more specific, circumstantial and realistic way, with all the goal it facilitates, one by one.
Example: “I have to be slim, because I have to wear the pants size 46, because, being in shape, I feel proud when I go around ….” becomes “I want to stay inside my ideal weight… So I can enjoy the energy and flexibility of a light body… So I can dedicate myself to all my interests and sports…  So I can live my passions…”

What did you understand from this exercise? If you want, please share your comments.

 

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COUPLE. AN EVERYDAY DEAL.

When we imagine a love story, we almost always end in the script of a romantic movie.

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we are absorbed in a repertoire of images full of burning passion: it is not real love “…if we don’t love as the first day”, “..if we cannot live without”, “…if everything the rest of the world disappears”.

Actually, the ancient wisdom coming form Greece tells us about a different kind of love: a feeling that changes, born as eros, becoming agape. Agape is a feeling of communion based on affection and sharing that has to deal with common decisions.
The erotic attraction is an uncontrollable inner feeling. Originated by the charm of the other person, it dies as soon as the defects become clear. It does not imply any real contact with the other.
Romantic love is an individual phenomenon. Long lasting love requires a daily compromise between two.

The key question is “is there any purpose for us be in couple?”.

The answer to this question shows us who our ideal partner could be, and how to renew the motivation of the couple in which we already live.

From this point of view, a couple is a project. So mission, vision and action plan are elements that must be held in consideration.

“A client asked me:
“I don’t know if I love my wife anymore. What I can do?”
“Love her!”

Steven Covey

At the base of each project that gets results and is durable, there is the awareness oto the question: how will I know that this will be successful to me.

The answer is behind the values: my personal values and those that we put in common in the relation. Without forgetting the value of the values: trust.

HAPPINESS AS THE GOAL

Yesterday I assisted to the conference of my friend and coleague José Manuel Sanchéz. A sentence draw my attention: «we don’t meditate to meditate, but to bring the presence to our everyday life» It reminded me a similar sentence by Aristotle: «we do not pursue the democracy for the democracy, but for the happiness».

Probably, there no real reason to explain that object of this article. This longing is innate, inherit to human nature.
What I am looking for is a tool kit to facilitate the coachee to obtain it and for to make the coach to stay in this perspective.

Personally I share the eudaemonist vision marking the interpretation of human life since the origins, both in Western and East philosophy. Before Aristotle, Buddhism identified his reasons into removing the causes of unhappiness. «We are all longing for happiness» says Daisuke Ikea.

Why then not to adopt this objective to the coaching process: that the individual is in contact and consistent to her/his own desire of happiness… and then transcend it?

Transcendence restores humor.
Ken Wilber

However, the value of happiness is not that obvious.

Our culture, and in particular the interpretation of christianity, resulted in the belief that happiness is bad. A lesson that is coming from the division between body and soul, leading to the extreme consequences in the “cogito ergo sum”, making the suffering the path to transcendence.
The idea of paradise, hell and purgatory, sinners and their carnality in decomposition are compensated by the intelectual contemplative price gave to the blessed ones. A contemplation in ec-stasis, static then, as the core essence of happiness was on the other side of vital dynamism, incompatible with life.

Another complication come from the confusion between happiness and joy. This misunderstanding is so deeply integrated then even the dictionary defines happiness as satisfaction or luck and ecstasy as the happiness of soul.

Where to find a way out? I love to come back to the basics. Body is the source the pleasures, indeed. This should be our blueprint to understand happiness. Happiness in not an emotion. I share the idea that emotions are only the negative ones, since their objetive is to e-move you from a state of malaise to one of well being. The so called positive emotions are message of reassurance that the change has been effectively concluded. Joy is the state of mind arising after you overtook the danger who activated rage – fear or the time to recoup from a loss who developed sadness.

We do not confuse pleasure with the good feelings after the release of the tension. Pleasure, trascended to the ecstasy, in the body (!), is not mere satisfaction, but realization of body inherent nature, that is to say its sense. In a similar way, happiness is the tendency of being, beyond yet with and in the body. It is the sense of having become”what you really are” in accordance to your values, that are the leads to a meaningful life. Nietzsche clearly identified this as the great goal, but thought it was out of the human reach since, every time we are getting there, conditions change. I can share this beliefs.
That is why I understand why many colleagues adopt, as the objective of the coaching process, meta-competences allowing the individual to overcome whatever change.
They work on the Presence, o meditative aptitude, who make the coachee in contact to their authentic needs. It means to develop the heroic (á la Joseph Campbell) ability to stay in contact to your own dark side.
Then there is Awareness, this inner witness who look to the needs of the dark side from the distance. A high level of awareness it the necessary condition to  go further until the comprehension who transcends the emotional nature of ego and acknowledges that being is an expression of the All, deeply understanding that this is the “what you really are”.
I proposte a different perspective in coaching, starting from solving the two main misunderstanding: that happiness is heavenly ecstasy or emotional joy. Both beliefs result in a loss of vitality.
Why should I pursue the values of life, when wellbeing is no here now, but after my death? If I stay in life is only to gain an acceptable eternity, doing well in spite of I really want. In the best case, I believe I am happy, through a profound unconscious introjection of the good values. Let me clarify that I do believe religious values are good, but what it is required if that they are chosen not imposed; personally I am inspired from the great mystics life Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila, who never hide their “dark nights” in which they doubted.
Then, happiness as joy, is a confusion leading to a profound pessimism. Joy not only is fleeting (and to undestrand generates sadness), but also depends on eternal factors (and this generates fear of the always changing context or take to situations or people who separate me from joy). Moreover, the person who suffer and cannot see that happiness is not incompatible with suffering, develop an inner hate to life. The belief could be translated in «Could I die instead of suffer, but life compels me to stay». This is an idea that a misinterpreted systemic approach can encourage: if you see your existence as something at Life’s (capital L) service, that it to say you are a piece to make your family, nation, …until human races go on attaining their objetives, how easy to consider the same existence to slavery!

“Sad people have two reasons to be so”
Albert Camus

For this reason, I propose to start the coaching process by developing the attraction to life through a profound comprehension that happiness is the path to the realization.

It means working on the “I will”, “l deserve” and then “I can”, but what? To be happy. It means develop presence and awareness, yet starting from vitality. From this place, in a intense longing for living, the individual can transcend. Authorizing her/himself to be happy, and pursuing happiness form her/his individual perspective, the coachee will necessarily getting to the discovery that “to be happy is to be happy together” – as Nischiren said – integrating the “I am me, you are you” of Perls into the “I am you, you are me” of Thich Nath Hahn. This is the way to transform even your worst and most horrible obsession hidden behind your dark side in the main path to a meaningful Life. They tell of therapist inventing techniques similar to the way the have been tortured, anorexic girls giving food to needy people, bullies teaching emotional intelligence… and when this happens, Soul actually rejoice.

“I committed the worst of the sins
a man could commit.
I was not happy”
Jorge Luis Borges

To listen to: “Happy” (Pharrell Williams by Boyce Avenue)
To read: Sean Anchor “The Happiness Advantage”

ACCEPT YOURSELF. EMBRACE THE OTHER.

To my sister. And with gratitude to the Netherlands and their kicks.

Family constellations and systemic coaching were born in Germany. The great masters are men coming from cold places. In my opinion, this was the only possible option. Why? Because it was necessary to make a shift in our idea of Love. In the South, we misunderstood it.
Love is what creates union. The opposite is fear and its shades and it maintains divided. That’s all.

“Love. And do what you will”.
Augustine of Ippona

In this sense, Gestalt thinking wisely states that two so called confluent individuals, confused in the belief that “You are me, I am you” or, more subtly, “I cannot live without you”, “I know what it is good for you” or “What they do to you, they do it to me”, are not united. They are confused, actually.

To solve this cases of confusion (or more correctly, disorders), family constellations introduced this ritual: the client takes a bow to the relevant parent, saying something like “The queen is you, mum”, “You come first, dad”. A kick in the ass to the so far (maybe, yes, too) proud client. Don’t you think? I’m not against kicks in the ass, but they seem to me a very paternal not to say paternalistic way of act.
Moreover, dear colleague, would you ever say to a narcissist client, …as it is …rudely, the hard yet liberating truth “you are not any more special then anyone”? They never did it to me (…) because, by listening not feeling that, the client do not go any further in her/his process. This affirmation does not generate any new reality to her/him. Maybe s/he would better close off.

The great ladies of positive thinking (so, women, of course…), such as Luise Hay, they base their therapy on the unconditional love of the client to her/him self, who frecuently is enough to heal. On the other side, the prerequisite of an effective coaching session is that the client “act through her/his adultness”, that it is to say s/he makes her/himself responsible for her/his actions”,

Can those two approaches be integrated?

Bert Hellinger, who we are all grateful to for having introduced the family constellation method, declare that he has not really accepted his father deep in his heart. Discouraging, if the evidence would not say the opposite. What could he possibly yet need to learn from his parents, a man who is healthy in his ninety’s, with a lovely and beautiful young wife, who practise a profession that makes this world better and receive a great material wealth in return?

The awareness as a main goal of systemic coaching is misleading, in my opinion. When is it sufficient? How do you feel it and measure? I would rather say that the coachee is conscious enough when he reng our bell. What s/he really is short of, it is the sufficient amount of happiness to see the love who is always there, although s/he does not see it yet.

Personally, I work on this.

To listen: “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole