I Need a Daily Practice

imagesAccording to one of my teachers, adults who are returning to a school environment find learning a new skill difficult because of a ‘know it all’ mindset. It’s a shock to the system when we discover that, in fact, we do not know it all. 

Hearing this spurred a moment of self-awareness for which I wasn’t prepared. For some reason this annoying little factoid has added an element of negative self-talk to my already challenging course of study. And although learning is exciting and fun, my negative self-talk has been detrimental to the process.

Thank goodness I’m cyber-surrounded by fellow peer coaches who will, with curiosity and empathy, ask the right questions – questions that will encourage me to look below the surface  to find the root of ‘mini-Mimm’s’ assault on my fragile confidence.

Last January, when I began course work to become a coach withInternational Coaching Academy, an ICF certified online training school based in Australia, I knew it would be a cake walk. My attitude was based on previous, less than satisfying online learning experiences and the truth that while I have always been intrigued by coaching my Pavlovian response to the words ‘life coach’ was a dramatic eye roll. 

As it happens, online learning has changed in the last ten years and my Pavlovian response was unwarranted. Coaching – whether it’s life, executive, health or transformational – is a powerful tool for shifting the perspectives and the mental blocks that keep our goals just out of reach. My mentor, Merci Miglino, is a masterful coach. In a recent group session she repeated something that was taught to her, “Coaching is about what can be, not what was. It’s personal archeology – you don’t go in with a backhoe. You use a toothbrush.”

The simple but powerful questions posed by a masterful coach help us gently discover the underlying beliefs that inform our behavior (and our negative self-talk). The right questions help us bring into focus our unique truth.

My goal is to be a masterful coach. I expect this to take years several lifetimes. I guess coaching is like yoga in that way – we’re forever students, dedicated to our practice. In the meantime I will be a good beginning coach. In order to meet that goal, just like yoga, I need a daily practice.

Care to help? I’m offering pro bono sessions through August. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about coaching and perhaps a bit more about yourself leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch.

Faith, Strength and Losing Control

On the Tuesday morning that I cried in the shower, something very freeing happened.  I let go of the rules I had imposed upon myself and gave myself permission to write about anything I wanted – simply for the joy of putting “pen to paper” as it were.  (Except, of course, it’s rare anyone actually puts pen to paper these days.  Maybe I should have said, ‘fingers to keyboard’).

I don’t believe I was aware of how immobilizing my good intentions were.  The truth is facing the tables I had created to chart my progress only charted failure.  I could never meet the high expectations I had set for myself. They had to go.

I know there are plenty of writers, teachers and life coaches who would suggest I’m making a terrible mistake.  That if I don’t have a plan – if I can’t see a clearly defined goal – then I have no chance of reaching it.  I’m willing to take that risk.

Besides, I do have a goal.  It’s simple: be a better writer.

You’re right.  It’s a goal that can’t be quantified.  I won’t be able to – in five weeks or five months or five years – announce to the world “I’ve done it.  I am now a Better Writer.”  It will require faith.  And it will require that I let go.  I have to believe that if relinquish control of the flow chart that took over my life and instead find the strength to build a deep and unshakable foundation of discipline – if I write every day, relentlessly, without fail, about anything I want – then I will learn how to write.  I will be a better writer.  Goal.

As much as I would like, someday, to have those other things – a book to call my own and an audience who want to read it – I must consider this time in my career as a writer a precious gift.  This is my time to explore, to make mistakes, to discover if I have an affinity for fiction or personal essay.  It’s my time to provide myself the space to discover who I am as a writer.

And that’s what I’m going to do.