When you commit to change, why does life seem to get in the way?
Originally posted on 03/01/12
Isn’t it interesting how the universe seems to conspire against you just when you decide you are going to make a positive change? You say you are going to eat healthy, and then your co-worker brings you a donut. You get that gym membership, and then you twist your ankle. You commit to paying down your debt, and then your car dies.
Lately, I’ve talked to a string of people who are fed up with how their lives are going. They’ve had enough of the status quo and they are ready to make positive changes. Something inside them has finally clicked, and the motivation they needed seems to have come to the surface. Some of them have decided to work with me and get some coaching through the process. They’re excited about the work they’ve decided to do, and in fact, it seems like life had been pushing them in the right direction for a while until they reached that exciting point where they felt like a living, breathing Nike ad, ready to Just Do It.
And then something happens. Life happens. Someone gets sick. An unexpected expense arises. A relationship goes awry. Work becomes more demanding.
And they get distracted by the very real, very urgent needs of their current lives. And rather than move forward with coaching, they put it off, intending to get back to it later, once life settles down.
Who can blame them? Certainly not me. I hear in their voices how stressed out they feel by the circumstances, and how disappointed they feel about having to put off their goals, and how embarrassed they feel by canceling their coaching sessions.
I trust every person to make the best decision for himself or herself. But oh, how I wish I could encourage them to keep that coaching commitment! Because when life throws you a curveball—and you’re already struggling—that is the time to make sure your support systems are in place. That is the time to invest in yourself. That is the time to get clearer about your values and needs and make sure that you are living in a way that gets them met, even in the face of the newest adversity. Especially in the face of the newest adversity.
Sure, I’m biased. I was blessed to have great coaches in my life when I needed them most. And I’ve been privileged to work with people when they needed me the most. It’s tough to watch people walk away from coaching when it seems like this is exactly the time that coaching could be of the biggest benefit. It’s not my place to do more than say what I feel, and then remind them I’ll still be here when they’re ready. It hurts to see them go because I want to help. And because they want help. But they don’t feel like they deserve to spend time and money on themselves in the face of the most recent crisis. I wish I could convince them that working with a coach isn’t selfish, but that it’s actually the most generous thing they can do for those who depend on them. When we fill our own buckets, we can fill the buckets of others. Coaching fills buckets.
Don’t lose your resolve. The universe pushed you to make a good decision and brought the right people to you to help you succeed. That unexpected crisis might just be there to make sure you’re serious about your commitment. So answer the universe back by sticking to your resolve. Move forward. Trust your gut. Don’t freak out. Fill your bucket. And let your coach help.