Once the choice to be different is apparent to me, visible, possible; Once I know what I want, I’m ready to move. Impatient. I can see the sweeties on the shelf and I want them … now!
At moments of deep realisation for my coaching clients, I often get asked in those sessions where the sweeties become apparent, a question a bit like this one … “So how do I change that?”
This question intrigues me.
Of course, it presupposes change is possible and that’s great in a coaching context; we want our clients to come keen to achieve their goals. But the presupposed simplicity implied within the question is another matter.
Often the new awareness pertains to a way of being that we have honed for many years; It is well practiced, in the muscle, part of how we are. The idea we can shift to a new model, a new way of being through one or two simple steps is fascinating.
We all possess many ‘things’ in this ‘modern’ world. If they stop functioning to our needs we fix them, or replace them. It is as if we somehow seek to apply the laws of our materialistic consumerist ‘thing’ world to our very humanity. I’m ready to change me, where do I go, who has the upgrade part?
If my car stops working, I take it to a dealer or garage and say please fix this. Generally that works. In part, that’s because the car is one of many identical models. It has a specification. The mechanics are trained and no doubt have detailed manuals describing how every part works, along with the knowledge and experience required to breathe life back into those parts that don’t.
If I have a two slice toaster and more family members are eating together I can upgrade to a four slice model. No matter how long I have lived with the two slice, my needs have changed, so I can just change that aspect of my life. An hour down the shops, five minutes on line, change made, life easier.
But, here’s the thing…
human beings are inordinately more complicated and each one is stunningly and beautifully unique.
No manuals. No upgrade models down the shops.
To hope that all of your learning, life experience and behavioural pattern making since birth can somehow be re-modelled in a few simple steps … a bit like reprogramming the central heating timer … is curious.
And yet we do. It’s almost as if we believe we’ve just missed out on a chapter in the book ‘How to be a happy human being’. Or perhaps we misinterpreted some instruction along the living highway which explained how we were supposed to be? Or maybe that we think someone else messed it up for us, but now we know that, we can just pull the tiller and steer the right course? Whatever our thinking about how we came to be like this, we seem to think this ‘expert’ in front of us, this ‘human mechanic’, this ‘coach’ can somehow put us right.
Changing ourselves is hard work. Possible. The prizes can be enormous. Life changing. But it’s always hard work.