This week provided me with a quite humbling opportunity to learn while helping someone strengthen their resolve, commitment and action to become who they truly want to be in this world.
Lea* was clear that she wants to expand her impact in the world, and help others “become everything they were created to become”. Yet, as she talked with energy and hope for the future, she was continually returning to her past, the formative experiences and trauma that had shaped her life to date – this showed up particularly in a language frame of “try” instead of “do”
[which always makes me think of Yoda’s wisdom – “Do, or do not, there is no try”]
As I sought to understand where the “try” was coming from, it was clear that Lea had survived things that no human-being should endure, and she had a survivor’s identity. The legacy was written into her physiology so deeply that it was clear even through the long-distance phone line.
As I coached Lea through the core aspects of how her pain was showing up right now, and how she can actively recondition herself to move from “try” to “do”, I was struck by how in any given situation there are really 3 selves at play: past, emergent, and future.
- Our past self – our history and who we needed to be, and became, in order to navigate our life context safely.
- Our emergent self – who we are right now and, because we are organisms that live with consciousness of time, who we choose to become next.
- Our future self – the vision we hold of who we want to become at some point that isn’t “next”
Lea had clear insight into her past self, and best wishes for her future self, but her focus on both had blinded her to the fact that she wasn’t actively shaping her emergent self. While she had some commitments to living a healthier life-style, I felt that there were huge opportunities for her to make tangible, pragmatic, and exciting commitments in her everyday activities that would powerfully accelerate her development.
After some time spent honouring and thanking her past self for its protection, and building a practice that would release its legacy, we moved to specifying the live-time commitments, and Lea has her homework to do! I’m looking forward to checking in with her in a week.
As I reflected on our progress last night, connecting the dots with other clients and my own experience, I was struck by how the emergent self is so often overlooked in the world of self-help. Traditional therapy typically looks backward, new age solutions too often present halcyon views of nirvana – the reality is that we live in each moment; that past and future are merely reference points to what we experience now, and what we’ll do next.
I think it’s this emergent self that draws me so strongly towards coaching people through change, and why it’s so exciting to be in those moments where things click for my client and all barriers seems to dissolve. Such a rush and such an honour to be able to help people this way.
As we closed our conversation, Lea shared that she’d spoken with several coaches before, each of whom had been able to provide some insight – then she floored me by sharing that I’d given her something no-one else had, describing it as a unique gift. Wow. There are no words for how thankful I feel to be who I am, and to be able to serve people this way.
We are each an emergent self, in every moment, all of the time. I would be honoured to help you step into your “next”, let’s talk.
* name changed, my coaching is strictly confidential