Habits are powerful. Human beings intuitively know this, otherwise New Year’s resolutions – whether you believe in them or not – wouldn’t be such a big deal. At some point, every individual identifies an old negative habit that they would like to break, or a positive new habit that they would like to start, but what then? How to kick that habitual behaviour that’s been holding you back, or activate new behaviour to move you forward?
Few people look for a coach when everything in their life is working well and feeling good. They seek a coach when they need to change something, even if they’re not sure what that ‘something’ might be. It might be their diet, their career, their work-life balance or their sense of disconnection from their life goals – whatever it is, a coach’s role is to facilitate healthy change that connects an unsatisfactory present with a more gratifying future.
Proverbs have always made me feel a little sad. When I was a boy, my grandmother used to be gratuitously fond of telling me that, ‘the early bird catches the worm,’ or that ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ Those expressions irritated me because they were usually delivered to cheerfully highlight a lesson that I didn’t particularly want to learn at the time. But they also left me feeling a peculiar emptiness.
A long time ago, when most of our species were living in caves, survival was generally more difficult than it is today. So, responding to the almost constant threat of death at the teeth of wild animals, the human brain made some intelligent adjustments.
I don’t mind admitting that the Disney movie Frozen brought tears to my eyes. As the father of two daughters, it was the self-sacrificing love between sisters that really caught me in the tear ducts. But the film is full of other powerful archetypal themes: hero, obstacle, quest, death and rebirth, and the story of human transformation that connects them all.
A few years ago, my partner and I had the lofty idea of starting our own healthy food business. Like most small startups, we were passion-rich but resource-poor, so I used our growing network of cool customers as a well of intelligence from which I could draw information and advice. In this process, I struck up a regular chat with a customer who was also a fellow small business owner.
In 1949, American mythologist Joseph Campbell published The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a work of tremendous breadth and depth that compared ancient mythologies from across the world. In thousands of myths and stories, Campbell found a common structure that could be distilled into one monomyth: The Hero’s Journey.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) recognizes more than 50 000 professional accredited coaches worldwide. This represents tremendous growth for an industry that didn’t exist in the mainstream until the 1980’s, especially as these numbers do not include non-accredited individuals providing coaching services, or managers using coaching skills as part of their work. With so much choice and so many different types of coaches out there, it can be difficult to know where to start in choosing a coach.
Change is unavoidable – it is written into the fabric of our existence. So, it seems, is the fear of change, the opposing force that tries to keep the status quo firmly locked the way it is. Because change represents a step into the unknown, a movement away from the safety of the familiar. Even in those circumstances when we actively seek change, fear of transformation arises, often manifesting in subtle and subversive ways that are difficult to spot. Yet, far from something to be beaten back and repelled, this natural resistance needs to be embraced and understood. Within it lies tremendous value to our personal evolution.
One doesn’t need to look very far to find an example of society’s obsession with age. It jumps out from every magazine shelf and TV ad break in the form of slogans and products promising a cure for the relentless progress of time. Ageing is viewed as a disease or enemy, and slowing it down, or eliminating it altogether, is a burgeoning industry. Everyone wants to look younger and live longer, but the keys to longevity are not found inside a bottle. They reside in the lifestyles we lead, especially in healthy relationships.
How have you ended your 2017 work year? Did you enter the holiday season feeling grounded, confident and complete, or did you hobble to the finish line, every resource spent on a year’s hard work? For most people, including many leaders, it is the latter. In this age of relentless pressure and increasing expectation to perform, it is easy to push yourself beyond your limits.
Subscribe to our podcast and get our articles using your favorite podcast playeriTunes l Spotify l TuneIn l Stitcher l Podcast Page It is almost the end of 2017, and much of the world has entered the end-of-year holiday season. This is traditionally a time to spend...
Human beings feel a strong affinity for the notion of free will – it helps us feel like autonomous beings with power over our own destiny. This is a contentious issue, but while the debate about free will continues, we can reliably point to a mechanism in our psyche that often governs our behavior without our knowledge, awareness, or control. It’s called the shadow, and it’s with you right now.
With the help of radically new technologies, neuroscience has taken interstellar leaps forward in the last few decades, with the result that we are now able to see what happens when people are in different states of consciousness. And brainwaves are the key.
The concept of intelligence has undergone, and continues to undergo, a massive transformation in the west. Most western readers will have a personal experience of sitting an IQ test, usually at some point in their schooling career, and for the longest time, your results in such a test were used as the primary indicator of your intelligence. But modern research has revealed that not only is this particular measurement flawed, it has blinkered our view. Intelligence is not one thing, it is many, and to understand the full impact of that is to understand your capacity to access latent levels of higher intelligence.
Anyone who has ever sought advice, looked for a mentor or hired a coach has done so because, at least intuitively, they know that transformation and success seldom happen accidentally. Often, we need help achieving our dreams, but we also need a plan. That plan inevitably includes goals, but how does one make sure those goals serve you? Genuinely effective goal setting is part art, part science, and very very personal.
As originally published on Paul Sanbar’s blog
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In 1656, Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens rocked the scientific world with the invention of the pendulum clock. Admittedly ‘rocked’ is a bit of an overstatement, but there was certainly an audible ‘tick-tock’. The pendulum clock was the most accurate timekeeping device ever know, but nine years late Huygens discovered something possibly more fascinating: when two pendulum clocks are hung from the same wall, their pendulums will always synchronise. So it is with mindful leadership.
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