I gave a talk to a group of local leaders yesterday and I explained how my coaching had changed over the years.
At first, when a leader came to me asking for help around delegation, or stress, or executive presence, I would respond with techniques, or with models of development.
We would identify where that leader was on the developmental path and create strategies and techniques to get them to the next level.
It was all very heady. Sometimes, it was effective.
It was effective enough that we both wanted to continue. But over time, I realized that something felt amiss. I realized that there were so many things that leaders came to me with that were symptoms of a larger problem.
And that the problem is a simple and yet profound misunderstanding.
Let’s take stress as an example. It’s easy to add breathing techniques or yoga or exercise as a prescription for stress. But while stress can be managed with those techniques, it returns as soon as the techniques are no longer applied.
Stop meditating or running for a few days and you will be just as stressed out as you were before.
But what if you saw what creates the experience of stress? What if you saw what creates every experience?
My experience and yours are constantly being created, inside of us rather than by our circumstances. And then that personal reality is experienced as solid and real.
Yet the solidity of this experience can easily be tested. Think of how different people can experience the same events totally differently. Think of how YOU can experience the same event differently a day later, or even a moment later.
Or one thought later.
When people see that their assumptions about life, that it is out there, that it is happening to them, that to change how you feel, you have to change your outer circumstances, are not true, then suddenly, magically almost, stress dramatically reduces or even disappears.
Because when you see that you are the one creating your experience, and feeling that creation, when you see that everything in that experience can and does change from moment to moment, you take the whole thing, what some have called the “cosmic joke,” a lot less seriously. You know that if you only wait to settle a bit, the same thing “out there” will look completely different.
You don’t have to do affirmations or think positive thoughts. If left alone, your thinking settles. Calm and clear is your default setting.
Just about everything is impacted by seeing through this fundamental misunderstanding.
And I find the longer you are willing to stay in the conversation, the deeper the impact will be.