This Work Ain’t Easy.

I use the colloquial “ain’t” for “is not”  here as a way of saying that personal or professional growth work is not easy because it is intimate.   And it is intimate because it involves an intimacy with yourself that you may not have experienced before.  It is a process of inner work that requires reflection with a purpose, a looking within yourself for the deeper questions that are now calling out for your deeper answers.  That can be very difficult unless you have a competent guide.  It requires at least some special knowledge, passion and training –  the kind a certified professional coach should have.

It may require expert assistance just because a) life is complicated and b) the work requires a committed effort and c) the courage to begin and sustain the work, getting past the self-defeating “problem of having a problem.” The commitment to do this work usually occurs after a period of growing personal interior pain, when finally I admit I can not handle all my “stuff” by myself.

To be clear, another obstacle stands in our way. There is still the stigma in our society about going to see a psychologist, a “shrink,” a therapist of any sort’ let alone a “Life Coach.”  We still see that as a “weakness,” or an admission of impotence, a lack of power, even of being vulnerable itself.  We judge vulnerability as a fault, an insufficiency, something to be denied.

Americans are supposed to be independent, “can do,” “can handle anything” sort of people.  We do not accept personal help gladly or with humility unless it is well defined in a job description or a social setting that has lots of shared rules and clear ethics, how we are to behave in such-and-such circumstances, like school, job, church, clubs, sports, shared mass events of all kinds, museums, restaurants, driving, flying, traveling, etc, etc.

But what of the times when real upset, pain, rejection, unwanted grief and cost have to be paid that WE DO NOT CHOOSE?  What do we do when Life kick us in the teeth?  Or drags us through the mud, or tells us in no uncertain terms, “you are not wanted here?”  Or when a pattern of my behavior, a habit of mine, conscious or unconscious, proves clearly to be costing me more than it is rewarding me?  Then the “What Now” question is in my face.  When it becomes clear, “I am not reaching my goals.”  Or, “Guess what? That goal is an illusion?

What of the occasion in which we goof up, make a real mistake, create an undeniable mess, or experience a real event that is beyond our sense of control, our ability to manage all our circumstance’s with aplomb and alacrity, when we discover surprisingly that we are NOT always in all situations ABLE?  Then the cat is out of the bag, we are exposed, revealed.  The Truth is out.   And because the event, habit or ‘mistake’ is revealed or made public we are doubly embarrassed or ashamed.  We become more resistant to seek help, assistance and support with this extra burden of ‘mistake’ plus embarrassment.  It even feels humiliating, to even stretch out my hand to be helped just to stand up again. Others without empathy may shame and blame us, making even less of our esteem and our probe-solving ability.  Serious bummer!

And that’s the critical moment, the moment of decision.  We shy away from seeking the help or support, the different or new perspective, a more objective viewpoint, some professional insight, some careful listening, some added knowledge, etc, etc that is there for us.  It can be either accepted or not, by our own choice.  We see an opportunity to grow with support or we shrink away from facing our selves and the new or unexpected, usually painful, truth that is now upon us.

Which is ironic to say the least, because pain and suffering are acknowledged as part of life.  We are problem-solving creatures for sure. Human progress is problem-solving.  But beyond the positive abilities we share and in which we collaborate, or compete to good results too, we have inner issues that are just as real, that can get in the way of the very collaboration, healthy competition, and cooperation we know is useful in making us proud and pleased with ourselves, as individuals, team members, in systems, organizations and corporations.

Then the inner issues, the problem of having problems, will present itself in anxiety, persistent stress, confusion, depression, fears and frustrations, anger or hostility, poor, breaking or broken relationships, etc.  Then it is time to get intimate with our Selves, to examine and solve the problem of finding a new way to deal with a problem BECAUSE  the way we have been dealing with it is not working, and usually is made worse as it is denied and ignored.   Not!

The new category of one such kind of helper the last 10-20 years is of the “Life Coach.”  It’s definition emerges from the wing of modern psychology called Developmental Psychology that began with Maslow in the early 20th century, with his “hierarchy of needs.”  It later permutation became “Positive Psychology,” which main theme or premise is that humans have innate impetus to grow in their very makeup and that that impetus holds the ability to define, clarify and surmount any “problems” that identify themselves in our common fears, anxiety, frustrations or “blocks” that can occur in any human, and commonly do.

And that is what Life Coaches, well and properly trained, do. 

{You get what you pay for.  So ask what is their background and specific training, how long and by whom trained, when considering working with one.  Some get their certification in a week.}

We do no give advice. We do not offer ‘wisdom,’  We do not ‘correct mistakes.”  We do not offer ideology. We are trained to ask questions that have the potency to lead you to seek, discover, explore, embrace and implement “answers” out of your own experience and the Inner Voice that speaks within and out of that Growth Energy that all humans have, as their birthright and as their positive ability to choose what they want, that is ‘good’ for them as they see it.   Coaches do no impose values of theirs. Coaches create the space and offer tools  by which you grow yourself by what we all share in common. the constant impetus to develop, to grow in Beauty, Truth and Goodness.

Come see if these Universals in you, can not work for you.  Your transformation, your “success,” your enlightenment and empowerment await you!

But be warned, remember, “this work ain’t easy.”



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