When we were kids, Halloween was a little bit scary and LOTS of fun. Dress up as something funny or pretty or terrifying, meet up with friends and go collect tons of candy -- how sweet is that?? Now that we are older and wiser, we still love to dress up and play pretend. Am I right?? You know I'm right. But what is it about playing pretend that has us hooked?
I'm guessing it's the pretend part, the escape of stepping into someone else's clothes (costume) and wearing a mask or make-up to help us forget about ourselves, even if it's just for a couple of hours.
Guess what I'm dressing up as this Halloween?... A fortune teller. Yes, Nostradama, that's me. Funny though, I didn't choose it for myself. My daughter's wonderful Girl Scout troop leader, the amazing Miss Mary asked if I would consider the job for the troop's Halloween Party this weekend. Of course, I said yes. I've got a great skirt and loads of accessories and well, Mary is amazing so I said yes! I will be Nostradama the Fortune Teller.
Since agreeing to this bit of folly, I've been thinking about something... How is a life coach like a fortune teller? Or the opposite: How is a life coach NOT like a fortune teller?
1) Coaches read between the lines of their clients' answers to questions rather than reading palms, tea leaves, stars and other prognosticative paraphenalia. We do this to help clients realize their own insights rather than making predictions FOR them and basically telling them what to do or not to do.
2) Coaches encourage clients to foretell their own processes, make their own plans, stick to their own schedules. Fortune tellers generally TELL their clients what is likely to happen.
3) Coaches don't usually tell you when they are scared, lonely, grouchy, anxious or any number of other human emotions in order to instill confidence. (Come to think of it, fortune tellers probably don't do this, either...)
That's right, we pretend. After all, we coaches are your go-to people when the going gets rocky, your cheerleaders, your mentors, your inspirations! We can't fail. It just wouldn't do. Right??
Well, I sure can foretell one thing: No one's going to believe that. Any coach worth her salt talks about how she failed at least once, in a really big way, before becoming a coach. So how did she get from failure to coach? She got back up, that's how. She didn't let failure define her.
As a matter of fact, I am the first to admit that I'm not perfect by any means. For about a week, I've been in a very dark and grouchy place myself. All kinds of negative and nasty outside influences have wrapped their icy fingers around my conscious mind... car repairs... PMS... stomach flu... ENDLESS weight plateau... friend with drama... January/February business plans... Christmas gifts to buy... writing this newsletter!... *sigh*
To be honest, the stomach flu mixed with PMS had me sinking pretty fast over the past couple of days. I was so low that I couldn't face writing this newsletter. Who's afraid -- ME?? You betcha. Not afraid of the dark but terrified of scary movies. Not afraid to eat raw oysters (yum) but terrified to embark on a 3-day green smoothie cleanse. Not afraid to move to a foreign country and back home across the ocean again but terrified to fail at something as simple as writing my own newsletter. How could I pretend to be strong when I was feeling so weak? How could I blather on about conquering YOUR fears when I was wallowing in my own?
Well, I took one (not so pretty) look at my wallowing insides and decided to clean them up to make them match my outside, my positive coaching exterior. Got back up. Didn't let a couple of dark days define me. And guess what -- it worked. I'M BAAAACK!!!
If you don't change, you stand still. If you pretend to change, you just end up running around in circles. The only way to change is to walk forward, straight through all of the sh*t. Worry about cleaning up once you get to the other side.
That, my friend, is where the ELASTICITY meets the road.