“Life is difficult.”
It’s the opening line from The Road Less Traveled. It is sage advice no one should take lightly. We continually need to consider that life is difficult for most, as we coach people at work or in their personal lives. Always keep it top of mind and always be prepared to offer a heavy “dose of gentleness” because of it.
QwikCoach shares this perspective now. We do this because it strikes us that with the mounting pressures of home and work, we often forget that the experiences people are having ARE very difficult. They will continue to be more so in our increasingly complex world.
Coaching Plays a Vital Role
In exploring the ways in which life is harder than ever, QwikCoach urges everyone to be open to learning and trying new and better ways. For example, try coaching yourself and others. Rather than just thinking about doing it (our most common default action) — do it! Coach yourself and coach others. Don’t avoid patterns of behavior that have worked successfully in the past, but try a “something else first” strategy from time to time. Being open to trying something new is key when it comes to leading others and gaining new and even more helpful insights.
Be Open to New Ways of Thinking
A post on LinkedIn called This is what Tibetan monks and Navy SEALS have in common – and how we can use it to our advantage by Steven Kotler (published February 25, 2017) is related to this point. It too discusses how life can be difficult.
Here’s the key point:
Most of us are not using relevant and practical information at hand to help us (and our clients) mitigate some of the pressures we feel trying to “solve” every life and work problem we face.
The author makes the point that many of us are over-thinking: using our minds like a hammer in search of a nail.
Here’s a quote:
Rather than treating our psychology like the unquestioned operating system (or OS, in computer terminology) of our entire lives, we can re-purpose it to function more like a user interface (or UI) – that easy to use dashboard that sits atop all the other more complex programs.
If we are feeling slightly depressed (very common) about a situation, rather than jumping in to solve it, we can decide to run on a treadmill, or take a walk in the sunshine or meditate. All are ways proven to improve our mood.
Be Open to New Ways of Working
At work, we can use choices like this as well. Rather than waiting for a performance review nervously, we can stand up and breathe deeply and try (as Amy Cuddy in her book Presence would suggest) physical behaviors that make us feel more in control and more confident.
If we as workplace coaches help people use this approach we would be doing a tremendous service. A simple suggestion to take a walk or meditate can begin to open minds. QwikCoach actually tested “itself” halfway through this blog post. Frustrated at our seeming inability to complete this post, we got up and took a short break. It worked!
Bottom Line . . .
People need their minds clear, calm, and purposely active, to handle all the challenges set before them. As caring coaches, we can help those we coach be better thinkers and problem solvers by suggesting some alternatives when things are most difficult and challenging and thinking is best postponed until it can be productive again.
For those who want even more:
Another one of Kotler’s book sounds like a must-read too for us as coaches: Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALS, and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.
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