The paradox of life coaching is that your coach needs coaching just as much as you do. I learned that a few weeks ago when I took part in Handel Group’s Design Your Life Weekend. It wasn’t something that was expressly stated, rather it was embodied by our head coach Laurie Gerber. She made it perfectly clear that she is an imperfect being and indirectly invited us to accept our own imperfections by being so unapologetically Laurie.
There is so much to say about what I learned and how I felt in my 2 day foray into The Handel Method, but it’s very important to me that I convey it’s helpfulness as eloquently and succinctly as possible. The big take-away was that my life can be anything I want it to be. Not in that middle-school-motto-adopted-to-uplift-flailing-students type of uplifting, but in a practical, logical, I-can’t-believe-it-never-occurred-to-me this-is-so-basic type of way.
I experienced a nice, steady trend of revelations. My biggest ones were about lying and character traits. Our whole lives we’re taught not to lie because of the consequences, because it’s bad, people will find it hard to trust us, there’s a focus on how it affects the outside world with little regard to what it does to our inner-man. In Handel Group’s DYLW we’re taught that lying is any misrepresentation of yourself. Playing small, hiding, develops a habit of hiding who you are; an anxiety about this hidden part of yourself no one is ever shown. Your lies cover your truth, and my coach said “all your confidence, and pride and freedom comes from telling the truth … it’s impossible to lie and feel confident about yourself.”
Epiphany on top of epiphany, even as I write this. The degree to which I have shrunk myself has covered up my brilliance. When I hold back because I’m too chicken to expose myself to criticism or confrontation, I train myself to do that, to mistrust the true me – to not believe she is enough. Which I suppose leads into the whole self-sabotage thing we (and most of the people in my life who know me well) touched on briefly. I don’t want to lose this amazing, opinionated woman I have inside of me, I don’t want to lock her in, and while I can say that, and many other beautiful sayings and insights about life and the lessons I’ve learned, I have no idea how to accomplish it.
Therein lies another lesson, not one of the big 2 previously mentioned, this one comes from the reflective nature of prose. It’s as simple as designing, or authoring who you want to be. You don’t need anything but knowledge. You need to know who you are, or rather be who you are, which leads to the other major revelation: traits. Laurie explained it perfectly, if you grow up in a house speaking French, when you leave that house you’re not going to be speaking Mandarin. Everything we are comes from somewhere, or someone. Get where I’m going …? Our parents! Everything I am is a result of the individuals who raised me. Whether I determinedly behave differently, create my own complex mixture of rebellion and imitation, or mirror what I observed growing up, it is all them. My dad’s mystery and coldness lives on in the hurt my friends sometimes express at my own indifference. If only they knew that right beneath the surface rushes oceans of feelings that I just don’t or won’t bring myself to express. I wonder if that’s how it is for my dad … My mom’s danger zone, those rare occasions where her temper boils over and she becomes volatile, are my own self-administered kryptonite. Instead of boiling over I poison myself with unexpressed emotions, while she let them out in periodic, perhaps unhealthy bursts.
So I learned that I need to be me, and how to find out who me is (parents), and why it’s so important. And I formed a truly genuine connection with a group of complete strangers who in any other setting I’m sure I wouldn’t have connected with at all. Everyone showed their unhealed bruises, revealed that despite what we think, we are not the only ones recovering from something, recoiling emotional at certain triggers. It made us close, and it reinforced the above mentioned quote about how confidence and pride and truth come from telling the truth, from showing your less than perfect parts.
I once heard someone say, “the best thing we can do for the world is work on ourselves.” Make sure the person you send out into the world everyday is contributing positively. That gets lost in our constant search for a greater purpose, something that will save lives and hearts and souls. We want to be good people and think of others and we forget that we were created to connect, to love and share whatever light we have with others. It’s most important to keep that light alive and strong, it’s never frivolous or a “first-world” issue to want to work on ourselves. It’s the height of progress to recognize that you are a work in progress. That may have been my overall take-away from the DYLW, that I am not the only work in progress, we are all getting our shit together. But that’s something we all know and accept, you don’t need me to tell you that, you need to live it.
Fiona is the New York Lead for SERENE, a writer, social butterfly, and naturally inquisitive about most things. If you meet her, mention God, Harry Potter or Amy Winehouse and you’ll be lifelong friends.
About Handel Group:
HG LIFE® coaches individuals to design and live inspired lives. By developing Personal Integrity® and aligning heart, mind and actions with dreams, HG Life deals head on with current challenges in the most critical areas of your life, such as health, love, family, career and money. Their private and group programs provide the tools and support needed to awaken your dreams and affect lasting change.