YOU: A Work in Progress

YOU: A WORK
IN PROGRESS

WE ARE ENOUGH, JUST AS WE ARE

BE KIND TO YOURSELF, YOU’RE STILL LOADING…

It can sometimes be quite a strange thing being a coach. Talk about experiencing imposter syndrome… this is something I deal with pretty often. One would assume that because of my training and the nature of the business I’m building, I’m pretty much immune to negativity and instantly manage to filter my emotions and lead a healthy, balanced and stress free life. The same way I assume a plumber has the piping system in his home running perfectly smoothly and problem free. Or that a doctor doesn’t have unhealthy habits, like smoking or eating fatty foods. Or that a teacher knows as much as there is to know about their subject matter… in my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.

Oftentimes, being a coach can make things much worse. It’s like knowing exactly how you’re meant to do something well and effectively, but falling short and then having to deal with the consequences; one of which being that you think you suck at what you do and have no place in telling others how to do better. Not a pretty picture and naturally one that you don’t really feel like exposing to the world because you know, how ridiculous would that look. Right?

I’ve found myself in situations before where people have said things like ‘Andre will know how to handle this because he’s a coach’, and in reality I haven’t got a fucking clue. In some of those instances, I’ve played along, winged it, and made up some kind of solution to deal with the matter at hand, and sometimes I’ve been lucky, other times not so much. There are other times where I’ve felt well equipped to handle a situation, which always serves as a welcome reminder that I’m in the right arena. (Do note that as I continue to write this post, I am not looking for any sympathy, empathy, or pity from you, dear reader. I am simply sharing something that’s been on my mind of late, and that never seems to disappear completely. Perhaps if you dig deep enough, you might find a way to relate).

It’s always a bit of a shock to me, and sometimes to others, when I fuck up. And yes, this happens often. I live my life and experience highs and lows, just like everyone else. And then something happens – a discussion, an event, an argument, a moment with my kids, an interview, a comment – and I shit the bed. Even though I know full well how ‘not to shit the bed’, I still do.

Recently my wife and I have been having some trouble with our 5 year old’s attitude. I suppose it’s normal for his age, but he’s become a tad difficult at times and we’ve been struggling to keep him in check. I’ve never had a ton of patience, but in the last couple of months, I’ve had almost zero. I certainly do my best to keep my cool and level with him, but there are times where I simply lose my shit; and I know I really shouldn’t. I usually say something that I instantly regret, but instead of immediately correcting myself, I let my ego, my anger and frustration get in the way, and actually begin to justify myself to my wife, who usually shakes her head in disagreement and disappointment… and then, yes – you guessed it – I have to deal with that argument too. I’m sure she won’t mind me writing here that in those moments she tends to remind me of my coaching tools and suggests I listen to myself and act as a preach. I know she’s right, but it truly isn’t that simple. There’s this line between my personal life and my coaching that can become very blurry, and it can cause me to question my authenticity and aptitude as a coach rather severely. That really sucks. Whilst this example was around my recent experience as dad and having to deal with my overtired and still very young kid, it’s applicable to other facets of my life. I find that I can become very irritable. It sometimes take very little to get me pissed off. If something doesn’t go my way, or if I’m more tired than usual, or perhaps something as dumb as the floor being dirty 10 minutes after having vacuumed the whole house, I can fly off the handle. It’s truthfully never worth it, and pretty senseless. For someone who knows not to sweat the small things and appreciate the importance of gratitude, serenity, joy and growth mindset – this is ridiculous.

So why the hell does this happen? Why don’t I always show up a coach Andre in every instance of my life? Why isn’t it more obvious to me to use my skills as a coach in my private life? Is it that I’m deceiving myself and making myself pass as an all-round great achiever but in reality struggle to show up as I know I should? Am I full of shit? Am I a fake? Am I an imposter, a liar? Is it all a trick that I love the idea of but actually unable to follow through on? ALL THESE DAMN QUESTIONS THAT COME UP AND MAKE ME FEEL LIKE CRAP.

So, remember when I wrote earlier that there are times where I do show up in line with what I preach and deliver as I know I should? Yeah, that is equally as important as my failures. And I’d argue that my failures are all experiences that give me the opportunity to correct and do better some time, although maybe not the very next time. In fact, most of what I do well today is because I screwed it up at some point. If I can learn a lesson from what I failed at previously, then I’m winning. Simple as that.

That is the only thing to remember. None of my coach training laid out the game book on how to show up exactly as I should in each instance of my life. But my training did reinforce to me the idea that it’s OK to mess up, notice it, address it and take action on it. And since I’m writing a post about how I sometimes really suck at managing my emotions, I’d say that’s a clear indication that I’m honest with myself and others, that I’m self aware most of the time, and that I’m interested in bettering myself, no matter how far away I feel I am from my best self. Thankfully, this is the kind of mindset that keeps me going, and shuts down all the noise in my head about how maybe I’m just a piece of shit.

I know you know that voice. We all hear it and the crucial question here is – do you listen to it? I don’t know where I’d be if I listened to mine… I certainly wouldn’t be here writing about all of this. I’d probably be divorced, have abandoned my role as father, and most likely be doing something furthest away from coaching. I don’t want to think about that ‘what if’ too much, because I don’t like that picture and it doesn’t serve me in any way.

Here’s what my internal dialogue would look like if I listened to it carefully (and I have done so on a few occasions in the past):

“Andre, you’re a total failure of a human being. You go around ‘coaching’ people like you know what you’re talking about, but in reality you’re a liar and a loser. You’re not even able to refrain from shouting at your kids for more than a couple of days… seriously? You’re not a good dad, and you’re probably not a good husband. What kind of shitty example are you setting for your children? And how do you expect anyone to take you seriously if you can’t show up for them the way they deserve… it actually doesn’t matter, because you don’t even know what that looks or feels like. You should just be honest with yourself and everyone else and give up. Your kids are better off without you. Just give up! It’s not worth any more energy because whatever you put in, becomes a waste. And by the way, YES… give up on your dreams of building your coaching business too. Because that will also be a lie, and you’ll get found out. You shouldn’t be a coach to anyone for anything. Do what you always do and give up, you piece of crap”.

Told ya, it ain’t pretty. Okay, maybe I exaggerated this one a little bit, but it was to make my point come across clearly.

Whatever experiences we have create thoughts in us, which in turn create emotions, and finally move us to some kind of reaction. We can’t control the events that happens around us, but we can control our thoughts before we feel and react, and therefore we can choose how we want to show up for ourselves and others. If this is true, then we all have the power to control how we treat ourselves, and more importantly, our inner conversation. We choose how we perceive things, so why not choose a path that elevates us? This is what ‘being kind to yourself’ means. When I can flip my inner script from the crap you read above to something more positive that lends itself to progress and acceptance, then I can show up better for myself and everyone around me. As long as I remain self-aware and can make that distinction, I know I can seek forgiveness when needed, and choose to move on with a lesson tied to my core. And you can too.

So it really doesn’t matter how I think other people perceive me, or how they might define my coaching abilities. It only matters that I’m aware of my personal journey and that I operate from a place of intentionality. It is this example that stands for who I am as a coach, nothing else. After all, what good is a coach who doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t continue to learn through their experience of living? I would argue that such a coach is a dangerous person to be inspired by and learn from, since whatever one would aspire to by working with this kind of coach would likely be a life of perfection, which simply does not exist.

To wrap this one up, I’d like to challenge you. If you have 10 minutes, think back to the last couple of days, revisit your recent experiences and point out moments when you feel you could have been kinder to yourself. Grab a sheet of paper and write down a couple of instances when you treated yourself poorly by engaging with and possibly even listening to your self-degrading self-talk. What led you to do this, and how could you reframe the script? What would you change now, after the fact? Do you notice the self-sabotage and how limiting this is for you? What can you decide to do about it next time this happens?

Let me remind of you this: you are enough, just as you are. Your success and happiness come only from how you treat and believe in yourself. Be sure to take some time to reduce the unnecessary noise in your head, and fill it with what it needs the most: love, attention, acceptance, encouragement, forgiveness, space and time. This is something I often do for myself too, and yes, being a coach is not always enough. We’re all human and we all question ourselves. We just need to make sure that when we do, we do it for our own good. But, since you’re here reading this, something tells me you know that already, champ!

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