coaching

Why is making constructive change in your life so hard?

Backstory – six months ago, as the result of some coaching, you’d identified some unprofitable behaviours you’d concluded needed to be changed.

To be honest, you’d not really thought much about this kind of thing before but some people’ (including your best friend, your spouse, and your boss) had been increasingly complaining that when things didn’’t go your way, you got angry and  aggressive. Now, as the result of coaching, you understand that this behaviour is down to ‘attachment strategies’ formed during infancy.

OK, it’s time to move on!  After all, who wants baggage from childhood holding them back?

In real time – yet by the end of six months, you are not best pleased to discover that not only are you still not calm in moments of stress but actually you’ve gotten worse. The road rage incident this morning in which you were involved during your commute really scared you.

Epiphany– if you don’t change soon you might kill someone – or worse, get killed yourself.

Environment – You resolve to work harder on on this stuff this time  – you bring some of the techniques you learned in coaching out of the proverbial mothballs –  but just when you’d started your meditation – out of the blue – your boss storms into your office (or cubicle) and accuses you of doing something you did not do  – that’s it – you’ve had it – you quit.

Regret – on your drive home  – after have hung around in a coffee bar working out a story to tell your spouse about what happened – you hear something on the radio about a book named Triggers (available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle) by a guy called Goldsmith – could this really be you?
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The 15 ‘Belief’ Triggers that stop change in its tracks:

  1. Confusion– just because you realised that you needed to change (along with the reasons why and the benefits to be expected) never meant that you would do it.
  2. Overconfidence– just because you’re convinced that you have the necessary willpower to do what’s needed (you did quit smoking, after all) doesn’t mean that you won’t give in to temptation when it sneaks up on you from behind like your boss did today. Who could have expected that?
  3. Indulgent inconsistency– and on your birthday too – well, he (your boss) deserved it and will regret having been so horrible to you – you’d not have reacted the way that you did if it hadn’t been your special day  – and your boss ought to have known that.
  4. Immunity – well, it may not have gone well with the boss but it could have been worse – a couple of years ago something similar happened when some guy named Jim  (an ex pro-boxer) broke your boss’s nose during an argument – quitting is much better than dismissal with cause – at least you had more sense than to get yourself into the same mess as Jim.
  5. Exceptionalism– that coach did mention that you needed to practice those calming techniques every day but hey, that’s for other people, not you, right?
  6. Depletion– you were tired – if you’d been sleeping better, that wouldn’t have happened – but with the new baby and all…God, life is difficult.
  7. Procrastination– OK, to be honest, you’d been putting off practicing those calming techniques – and maybe things would have turned out better if you had – but there’s always tomorrow – yea, that’s it – you’ll start practicing those techniques tomorrow.
  8. Unrealistic expectations – no one in their right might could have predicted that your boss would behave so badly today and right after you’d had that road rage close call on the morning commute too – when it rains, it pours, right?
  9. Epiphany – so unfortunate that you’d just had your epiphany this morning – before you’d had a chance to get back on track.
  10. False sense of permanence – if only the changes you’d put into place six months ago had lasted – they should have done – but they didn’t – it seems acutely unfair that you would have to continue to work at them.
  11. Future challenges – just when you’d got that new promotion as the result of having implemented those changes six months ago, it all went wrong – how could you possibly have known that the new job would be more demanding than the old one especially with the new baby at home…
  12. Resentment – your boss really should have been more appreciative of the changes you’d already implemented six months ago – at the time he’d seemed pleased enough but then he just kept demanding more and more – it’s not fair.
  13. Isolation– you were just sitting quietly in your own office (cubicle) minding your own business and privately nursing the wounds inflicted by your earlier road rage epiphany – and then your boss jumped you.
  14. It’s just the way that I am – to be honest, you’ve always been a little hot-headed – and what’s wrong with that? At least it has kept others from imposing themselves on you – in fact if you’d not done that coaching and tried to be something that you’re not (i.e. calm and collected) this wouldn’t have happened.
  15. Objectivity – by the way, who were all those people (best friend, your spouse, and your boss) who said that you needed to change anyway – aren’t you the best judge of your behaviour? Of course, you are and besides, you aren’t angry as often as are least 75% of the people in your office – no, if you were to be honest, you’re calmer and more collected than 90% of the people you (used to) work with. It’s the office environment caused by hot-headed bosses like yours (or at least the boss that you used to have until this morning).

 

 

Astrology

Attachment Theory & Narrative Coaching

Recent studies show that the stories we tell ourselves become so enmeshed with our cognitive functions, that they – and not any accurate assessment of actual experience –  underpin 80% of our actions.

images.pngAccording to ‘attachment theory’, the majority of these stories are formed during infancy, when we are first bonding with ‘mother’. Not only are our stories archetypal in nature (i.e. common to all humankind), but they are so deeply imbedded in our psyches that, without us even realising it, they play out over and over again. Worse, these stories are so important to our perceived safety, that they engender a whole host of defence mechanisms.

Narrative coaching provides a safe space for clients to revisit their stories – to understand how they impact their lives. Once this is process is underway, clients can rewrite their stories and/or create alternative stories – stories, which are specifically framed to promote happier, more unified lives.

Astrology can speed up this process.

For example, your rising sign and its rulers, symbolise how you’re most likely to frame your worldview. I have Cancer rising and so I tend to frame my world through emotional experiences.  It would help if I were able to more easily get in touch with my emotions but my Moon (ruler of Cancer) is in Gemini where relates not through feelings but through ideas. Indeed, taken as a whole, my chart suggests that once activated, my emotions are a loose cannon on deck. Worse, this is odds with who I essentially am (i.e. rational and balanced) as shown by my Sun (in Libra).

Frustration and anger (my Moon is in square aspect to Mars) are the result and I will admit that I have a tendency to remain emotionally isolated from others just in case (as I thoroughly expect) all goes wrong. I can further relate that my personal experience with ‘mother’ as an infant was similarly frustrated. It took years for me to understand how deeply frustrated and angry she was with my very existence. There are reasons why I was an only child.

Whenever I’m trying to get emotionally close to someone, my habitual narrative pattern of anger and frustration kicks in. Little surprise (that just as I expected) their reciprocal anger and frustration keeps us from forming a bond. Sadly, I will keep re-enacting my same story again and again until I can gain enough distance and perspective to rewrite it.

For example, I might ask how I’d like my new story to end. Assuming that it is in increased intimacy rather than in a fight, then I’ll ask myself what kind of person would enjoy such a happy ending and how might that person differ from me? The point is that although I will never be able to make my Moon/Mars and Cancer Ascendant go away, once I learn how they are running the show, I can purposefully find healthier and more satisfying ways to express them.

Astrology

Uranus in Aries – (or why I’m so angry…)

Dear friends,

It’s time to explain why there’s so much anger in my recent posts.

Uranus is in Aries = anger is in the air.

But more specifically, transiting Uranus in Aries  (in my–very public– 10th house) is now making a direct opposition to my Libra sun (in my–very private–4th house).

  • Keywords for Libra are ingratiating and amiable.
  • Keywords for Aries are assertive and angry.
  • Now is the time for my anger to go live.

According to Howard Sasportas, in his excellent book, The Gods of Change, my Uranus – Sun transit suggests a time when I am in accord with my inner need to develop and expand in ways I’ve not done before.  Astrologically, I’m in the mood to open up and experiment with life.

Because Uranus is in opposition to my Sun,this comes at the price of upheaval and pain. I can  also expect to feel restless and bored–trapped by circumstances beyond my control. My inner Self is demanding change and if I deny it, my world may collapse on my head (or worse I will get ill). But if can go with the flow, then I can make way for a brand new me.

My Uranus–Sun transit is also about finding “the father inside me”– i.e. the ability to take charge and direct my life, rather than adjusting (as I always have done)  to others’ needs. The anger generated by Uranus in Aries allows me to do this.  For the first time, I’m standing up for myself big time.   If this seems abrasive, antisocial, and discourteous, then so be it – to apologise would be too Libra – and that’s not what I’m meant to be about right now.

So until December this year, when my Uranus-Sun transit comes to a close,  please support me as best you can.

If I can accept this new influx of energy, and make the necessary changes in my life, then I will have taken a major step forward in the process that Carl Jung has coined, individuation.  In other words, I will have done nothing less than to have discovered the Divine in me.

 

 

For more information on the process of individuation see http://www.thesap.org.uk/Individuation.

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