A big part of the coaching process I do with people is to help them clearly identify what they want.
This is harder than it may sound.
Many times, people are focused on what is not working and what they do NOT want.
Staying in that place of NO isn’t helpful, but, if you can recognize it as a stepping stone, you can leverage your knowledge from the No into finding the YES.
This process of discovering more of what you do want by seeing or comparing it against what you’re realizing is uncomfortable, not fun, or isn’t working for you is called Contrast Learning.
Sometimes you are not aware of what you want until you experience what you don’t want.
You might not be able to know what being happy is like if you have never felt sad.
Contrast is part of what continues to guide you closer to the truth of what you do want.
Emotions, too, play a role in what guides you to move forward in the direction that is aligned with your truth.
- If something feels good on a deep level, usually you are in the right space and on the right track. You then continue to follow that energy.
- If something feels uncomfortable in some shape or form, it’s often a sign that you are going in the wrong direction or something is out of alignment in some way with your core or authentic self.
I personally feel that contrast is neither bad nor good but is instead a great learning opportunity. Allowing yourself this moment of contrast provides greater clarification for you.
You get to play with creating the picture of what the life you want will be for you. You imagine it then test it out and see what arises. As things happen – because what we think we want or how we call it in sometimes shows up in unexpected ways – you then sift out what I call the “not that part, thank you” and add more in the “I want this instead, please”.
I recently had a client expand her YES for herself with her Core Self Summary Sheet (the end result one gets from doing the Magnificent Self Discovery Session). This sheet lists several aspects that reflect and make up of one’s core self that are used to see if you are living or doing activities that align with your core self.
My client has been struggling with a long-term pattern of overwhelm in her life and business. She recently became aware that her natural energies of giving, healing, and creativity had become imbalanced by putting all this energy outward and not having a solid foundation within to receive these energies for herself.
In looking at her Summary Sheet, she could see all those energies listed were true and right, but realized she had left off some pieces that honored her own foundation.
She took one of her core values of self-expression and added in some new pieces – pieces she realized were missing by having a pattern that wasn’t working and bringing stress and discomfort to her life.
Her value started out as Graciousness – true path, fitting my style, driven by impulse to help and uplift with a heart connection.
With her new awareness, here was the change she made… Graciousness- to be of service to others from a place of personal strength. Sharing, uplifting and helping will come naturally and happen graciously without taking ANYTHING away from me and my goals. To be doing what I am choosing to do is all that is needed of me. No over extension, no losing my base is required to graciously be.
From her AHA, my client was able to immediately take two actions to support a new, more comfortable path:
- Write out more clearly what she does want. The process of writing helps to further integrate and clarify. One can then post that new information to act as a future reminder.
- Have a conversation with her partner to share her new perspective and ask for his help in holding a space honoring her goals in a balanced way to his goals and desires.
An Activity to Reframe Your No’s
If you’d like to leverage a No into a Yes, try this activity.
- Make a T chart on a piece of paper –draw a horizontal line at the top with a vertical line down the center of the page like the image to the right.
- On the left side, write out what you are unhappy with or isn’t working in whatever issue or area you are exploring. Most of the time, these come easily as they are bothering you!
- On the right side, for each item that isn’t working, put what you want INSTEAD of what you have. For example, if on the chart you have “feeling overwhelmed by too many projects”, on the other side you might put “working on one project at a time in a sequential order (rather than simultaneously) so I feel relaxed, focused, and complete the project.”
- Fold a piece of paper in half vertically so your YES column is the only one visual.
- Post the paper somewhere you can see it daily or regularly to remind yourself of what you are wanting to focus on and create.
- Any time your mind starts to go into one of the No’s, remind yourself instead of the Yes, and ask what you can do in that moment to take one small step towards that Yes.
©2016, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Life Coach at Abundant You Coaching in Brookfield, WI