By: Candace L. Dorsey, MA, NCC, LPC
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
Starting somewhere is highly likely to be better than not starting at all. This is a great reason to hire a coach. Most of us know when we are not fulfilled in our lives. Beyond that, many of us continue to be confused. Being confused and not having a clue where to start often leads to paralysis. Once there is insight and some level of clarity, traction may be gained and progress made.
Clarity may be accessed via various and sometimes opposite processes. Omission is one possible starting point. If the client says, “I really don’t know what I want to do,” a question such as, “Are there some things you know you absolutely do not want to do?” could elicit the process of elimination and stimulate the mind to engage in a sort of Socratic dialog the purpose of which is to gain insight and wisdom.
Omission is a reductionist method. Expansion may be useful as well. Techniques that invite projective fantasy include: imagery, visioning, and dream work. They may be used to expand the horizon of the current though process. By venturing into fantasy, we may become increasingly aware of suppressed desires and unrealized dreams. While a person may not choose to live out a fantasy (sexual or not) in real life even if it were possible, fantasy can spark the imagination and allow one to enter into an inner and sometimes forbidden world. Fantasy knows no boundaries, and there is no fear of adverse consequences in real life. It may entice an overly cautious person to take more risk.
Fantasy can excite, stimulate, and inspire but simply fantasizing may not lead to focus, direction, and purpose. Therefore, fantasy alone may ignite a fire that quickly burns up and out. Inspirational jump starts are great but are not sufficient without staying power. Too much freedom can be overwhelming. How does one choose from an infinite array of options?
By gently rocking back and forth between thought processes that are reductionist to those that are expansive, a distillation process may be set in motion. In cooking, when one reduces a sauce, the liquid is removed by gently simmering until the sauce becomes not only thicker but much richer. Richness is almost always seen as a desirable quality. Whether in regard to food or their lives, few would say, “Wow! I really want it to be bland!”
Powerful questions may provide answers with either reductionist or expansive qualities; although, some may elicit more neutral responses. Powerful questions may be used to help explore a wide range of various options (expansive) or to narrow them down (reductionist). Ultimately, they are a useful tool to aid in definition.
Definition may be mostly a reductionist method, but it is enhanced by richness. A definition need not be overly simplistic without embellishment; however, it may be clouded by too much verbiage in an effort to enrich the definition. If someone is able to define desires, wants, and dreams and to distill them into a more realistic framework that includes concrete goals with specific steps towards actualizing those goals, there is both a vision (destination) and some sort of guidance (map). Focused effort and discipline are also required if complete actualization is to be realized.
Of course, as one moves forward in the journey, new insights may pop up along the way. These could indicate that the vision needs to be changed anywhere along the continuum from totally scrapping the original vision or slightly modifying it in some way. Even if the vision remains the same, the original outline of the methods or steps towards actualizing it may need to be tweaked.
One of the most rewarding things about coaching is being able to participate in the process of helping the client gain clarity without projecting our own wants, needs, or desires upon the process and to gain the motivation and discipline to bring the vision into reality. The client may start by looking outside but cannot reach the peak experience of revelation without turning inward.
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
Candace L. Dorsey, MA, NCC, LPC, BCC, became a Board Certified Coach (BCC) in May of 2012 and has been in solo practice as a Professional Counselor since 1995. She is on her own transformative journey from full time counselor to part-time life coach in semi-retirement. Candace thrives on helping her clients to become fully actualized individuals by identifying and clearing any impediments that block this process. She may be reached by email at [email protected].