“What you resist not only persists but will grow in size.” Carl Jung
This past weekend I was asked if I wanted to be coached in front of a whole room full of people. I was to be part of a demonstration to train coaches in a technique used to help deal with emotionally charged situations. I had to identify something I found difficult to “be with.” I chose the feeling of being out of control. Its close cousins are fear of failure and fear of exposure. There are many examples (big and small) of how it comes up in my life but underlying it is this – preventing the feeling often determines how I make decisions. I hoped to find a better way to deal with my distaste for feeling out of control. Despite being anxious, I said I was willing. With the coach as my guide, my job was to go to that unpleasant, out of control place, fully experience it and take note of what was there instead of hurrying through or avoiding it. The coach had me pause in several places along the way. The purpose of the whole exercise was to see what I could learn, and stay with the feeling until I felt the energy change or even start to diffuse. I was nervous.
The emotional landscape of my Out-Of-Control space is dark and stormy with rocky, uneven ground. It’s a place that’s full of risk, uncertainty and potential catastrophe. I can’t see clearly and feel I might easily fall or get lost. At my coaches’ request, I stayed there observing what was going on for me emotionally. I found that what felt unbearable initially, eased somewhat a few minutes into the process. I began to wonder why I’d spent so much energy avoiding feeling out of control. I didn’t like it, but I could tolerate it. I started to relax a little and, at that moment, began to see some other options for the specific situation I had described at the start of the session. I felt emotionally drained after we were done but also like something had loosened up inside me.
With less energy focused on avoidance and some confidence in knowing I could tolerate a situation that felt out of control, I found myself making some different decisions – better, more conscious choices that are in line with who I want to be and where I’m heading. This 12-minute mini coaching session had a significant impact not only on my capacity to deal with feeling out of control but also on my tolerance for fear of failure. I have more work to do, but I’m thrilled with this great start!
“When someone is walking beside us, we have more courage to walk into the unknown and to risk the dark and messy places in our journey.” Karen Kimsey-House, Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead
If you have an emotionally charged area that is difficult for you to deal with, I’d love to work with you. I’m excited to be able to add this kind of transformational Process coaching to my repertoire of skills. If you’d like a sample session, you can connect with me here. I’m a writer, speaker and coach, who is passionate about helping ordinary people move beyond what is holding them back so that they can live extraordinary lives.