Posts Tagged ‘self image’

Success Questions: Stop Asking This. Start Asking This.

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

In the last few weeks, I’ve had several people ask me these questions:

shutterstock_161072735Do I have what it takes to be successful?

  • Can I make it in coaching?
  • Can I earn as much at coaching as what I’m making in my corporate job?

At the risk of sounding rude, I replied:

“You’re asking the wrong question!”

Over the years, I’ve had a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the people who were asking me these questions. They want to be successful in coaching.

Once people are clear on what they want—“yes, I want this” or “no, I don’t want this”—they should:

  • Stop asking the “can-I-make-it” questions, and
  • Start asking the “how-do-I-make-it” questions

As a side note, an interesting thing happens in our brains with these two types of questions:

“Can-I-make-it” questions can easily trigger the fight-flight response because they are often “code” for these safety-security questions:

  • Am I going to be okay?
  • Am I going to experience pain, embarrassment, financial hardship, etc.?

“How-do-I-make-it” questions might also trigger fight-flight responses, but if we ask with a sense of playfulness and social-oriented curiosity, we can avoid fight-flight-freeze and instead shift to calm-connect-curiosity.

So how do you STOP the “can-I-make-it” questions?

  • First, consider your world view. Do you see the world as a scary place, full of landmines and people who don’t want to help you, don’t want to learn from you, and don’t want to exchange their money for the value you’d bring them? Or do you see the world as a safe place, full of fascinating people, amazing adventures, and astonishing provision?With the latter view, the “can-I-make-it” question becomes irrelevant.
  • Next, take it up a level. What’s your take on God? Is He a cosmic cop, playing hide-and-seek, just waiting to catch you and punish you for doing something bad? Or do you see Him as the loving provider of every need, ready-willing-and-able to guide, support, encourage? Or something completely different?Our world view greatly affects our success view!

Finally, how do you START asking the “how-do-I-make-it” questions?

  • First, be curious. Operate from a place of wonder. Ask, “Who IS doing well at what I want to do?” “What exactly are they doing?” “How did they learn to do what they do?” “What strengths do I possess that will make it easy for me to learn what I need?”Hang out with these people, read about them, coach with them, learn to think like them!
  • Next, be self-compassionate. Tell yourself, “I am learning a new way to think and act. I want to be patient with myself as I not only find these answers but also begin to learn the new skills to implement and master them. It’s okay if I don’t do it perfectly right out of the gate.”Neuroscience studies show that when it comes to motivation, self-compassion works better than beating yourself up!

How about you? What questions do you want to START asking?

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Life’s Vice Grip, or Life’s Hugs?

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

Have you or your clients ever felt like Life had you in a “vice grip”? A vice grip is something unpleasant that you (or your clients) would love to get out of, and yet you can’t! For example:

  • shutterstock_212341042The uncertainty of how long a job search will last
  • Bills that need paid and not enough money
  • A relationship that’s causing angst
  • A job that is killing you, but feeling like you can’t quit
  • New skills that need mastered without the hope you can learn it all
  • Important projects that need done and not enough time, focus, or energy to finish

The vice grip can feel like an intersection of uncertainty, pain, fear, lack, and loss of control. You want things to change. You want it to be fixed. Or you wonder if it’s possible to be fixed. Or you wonder if anyone even knows what you’re going through, or cares.

Being a student of emotional intelligence, I’ve been acutely aware of how my current vice grip is causing me to react (I’ll skip the details—suffice to say that I can claim several of the bullets above … and I’m probably amongst good company!).

I vacillate between being nervous and scared, then kicking into action to control whatever controllables I can, then back to being nervous and scared, then wondering if things will work out, then back to being nervous and scared, then taking action, etc. It’s a bit of a roller coaster.

shutterstock_97094300In the midst of all of this, I stumbled on an article about why hugs are important. Hugging allows us to relax, and enables us to be more resilient. The writer suggested an exercise, for example, that when a spouse comes home from work, the other spouse should greet the partner with a full-frontal hug—and hold the hug long enough until each feels the other relax. (Absent a spouse, look for a friend, family member, or even a pet to try this out—it works!).

And then I saw a bigger-picture connection. Maybe life’s vice grips are really Life’s full-frontal hugs—circumstances allowed into our lives that cause us to hold tight to our values, tap into our strengths, believe it will all work out . . . and relax.

And like the full-frontal hug exercise, we must hold on until we relax. And with that relaxation, we find the calm-connect and energy-action to meet the possibilities in front of us. With gratitude. With creativity. With perseverance. With love.

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Do You See What I See?

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

shutterstock_138535850My daughter passed along a You Tube video to me recently that really caused me to stop and ponder. Dove (the soap people) hired a talented forensic artist to create sketches of ordinary women based on verbal descriptions only. Separated by a curtain in a loft filled with beautiful light, the artist asked one woman at a time to describe herself. “Tell me about your hair. Tell me about your chin… your jaw … your most prominent feature…,” he asked.

Prior to entering the artist’s loft, each woman had been introduced to another woman—a stranger who was given instructions to simply get to know the person. The stranger, unaware of the sketching experiment, was ushered into the studio a bit later. The artist once again began his questioning to draw a second composite of the original woman, this time from the perspective of the stranger: “Tell me about the woman you just visited with … her hair … her chin … her jaw … her most prominent feature.”

The two sketches were later revealed side by side. In each case, the self-description sketch looked harsh and less attractive, while the stranger’s description was softer, gentler, and more alive. Clearly, the strangers saw a uniqueness and beauty that the women couldn’t see or own.

shutterstock_102846440

 

If you’re working with clients who see the worst in themselves (and shoot themselves in the foot in the process because of it), consider this coaching idea:

Give your client a comparison assignment: Ask the client to describe him/herself in just 1 word plus and then list 3 of your best professional skills. Next, have the client ask some close friends to “describe me in just 1 word, and then 3 of my best professional skills.” (As a variation, a tool such as the 360Reach can also generate some positive feedback.) If the client operates from a faith-based dimension, ask how a loving and merciful God would describe him/her.

Once the results come in:

  • —  Explore the comparisons.
  • —  More importantly, explore what it would take to “own” the compliments and accolades that come in … or the motives/rationale for not believing the good things that others say.
  • —  Offer “stretch requests” by asking the client to be grateful for those specific attributes!
  • —  shutterstock_131955923Look for ways that the compliments translate into part of the client’s value to employers and gift to the world!

All of these activities can add to your client’s confidence and resiliency!

P.S. Here’s the Dove video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk

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