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Ingrid Martine and Rick Maurer - The Un-Game Book Interview

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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Challenging Your Popular Notions

Un-Game principle: Belief creates the fact. You don’t have to believe everything you think.

I’m experiencing some troubling, now-chronic health issues in my family. Since I love my family, I feel emotionally vulnerable. In reflecting on this state of my affairs, I noticed that I was acting on my thought “You have to be in good emotional shape to coach.” In my readers’ and clients’ lives, this might look like “I have to be in good shape to manage well.” Or, “I have to be in good shape to run for office.” Or, “I have to be in good shape to have this confrontation.” You fill in the blank.

What popular but constricting notions, thoughts, conclusions, or assumptions of yours are you willing to challenge?

Actually, let me tweak what I just said about ‘acting on my thought’. I wasn’t acting on my thought. My thought was acting ME! I was a puppet on a string, not the author or creator of my actions. I wasn’t even aware of the thought…until…I became aware.

We will automatically, unconsciously live in alignment with an assumption, thought, or conclusion we empower. That’s a fact. Whenever I had a coaching client while I was not in good shape according to my thought, thanks to my internal critic, I acted like I couldn’t be a very good coach. I occasionally caught myself thinking about my woes rather than my client. I drifted. I was unable to listen really deeply. You get the picture.

I can’t be in charge unless I’m conscious. You can imagine that I am grateful to have noticed; I immediately became conscious, and my options dramatically multiplied.

I could challenge my thought (conclusion), or at least I could do research on it. I had wonderful opportunities to test out the validity of this long-standing conclusion ‘I have to be in good emotional shape to coach well’, which in retrospect I experienced as rock-solid truth (A conclusion is never a fact. It’s merely what we make the facts mean. Lawyers are adept at recognizing this. We not so much.).

My research was as close as my next coaching client. Up until I became conscious, I just felt a queasiness in my stomach, and I noticed thoughts that were clearly worry thoughts. “Would I be able to serve my client? Should I cancel/reschedule to be fair? Would I be good enough so the client would come back?” The moment I became conscious of the conclusion “I have to be in good emotional shape to coach well,” the options I could exercise became apparent.

#1 – I asked myself “What is the most important quality I bring to coaching that makes my coaching successful?” The answer was almost immediate. Being present. To be present in any interaction with another person is to listen whole-heartedly and with a clear mind. The other is the only entity that exists for you. They are the most important person in your universe for every moment of time you spend with him or her. While this in no way means you don’t take care of yourself, your own problems don’t exist while present to this interaction. If they did, you would be absent from (and not present to) the interaction before you.

#2 – I asked myself “Can I be present to my client for the next hour?” The answer was a confident ‘Yes.’ I also knew I could ask the question again for another client. And I was confident I could come up with the same answer, but I didn’t need to future about that. The time would come soon enough.

For me, becoming conscious was enough. I have some skills and make some distinctions that enable me to move from a Victim-orientation (The oppressor was my sad circumstances) to a Creator-orientation. The creator moves in a different paradigm. S/he knows how to get out of the drama triangle ( see here, here, and here for more on the drama triangle). One question the creator knows how to ask and answer is the question “Who am I willing to be in order to produce an extraordinary result out of this interaction?” The creator also knows how to measure whether he or she has acted in accordance with the qualities that are the answer to that question. S/he would reflect on the action(s) taken and say, “Yes, my action is congruent with being loving, a quality I said I am willing to be: not smoking in a house where I want healthy air for my family is acting in accordance with being loving.”

You get the picture.

I answered the question “Who am I willing to be…..” with “I’m willing to be present, courageous, and open.” I thought those qualities of being would serve me well, and they have as I reflect on my coaching sessions. While I couldn’t guarantee that my actions would be a reflection of those qualities, what I could guarantee was ‘I am willing.’ Magic is invoked from being willing. It is different from ‘I want to’ where we act more on our feelings, and not necessarily on our commitments. We act on our commitments when we declare ourselves ‘willing.’

For others, becoming conscious will be the first challenge. Many people do not think about what they’re doing. You are probably not one of them, if you’re reading this. Those other folks just ‘pick up the club and swing.’ They avoid their polar opposite– people like me.

Not thinking about and not observing are usually not the path to assuming the Creator role in your life. Being the creator often is simply the result of shifting consciously to the creator path. Put yourself and your actions on a make-believe movie screen in front of you. You must look with the intention to learn. Not to find out why you do things. That’s analyzing, not observing. Observe yourself and your actions in order to surface the thinking that drives your actions. My thinking was “I have to be in good emotional shape to coach.” Really? Says who? And what actions did that thinking make im-possible?

With discipline and practice you can become the challenger of your own heretofore unexamined notions that drive your actions. The gift of challenging yourself are wisdom, compassion, and love for life. Those gifts are not fool’s gold. They are the real deal.

Test it out. Consciously choose the Creator role. You might ask “If I am being the creator here, and if I choose to be present in my next interaction, what does being present ask of me? What would that way of being look like? What would I not be doing that I’m doing now?”

Questions like that are powerful. You eventually live into the answers. Rather than thinking of the destination, empower the thinking ‘The journey is the destination.’ Wouldn’t that influence your experience? I rest my case (smile). In other words, you don’t have to immediately act on what you now see. Just observe. Look for when the old notion shows up again. Trust me. It will. Be kind to yourself and just notice.

You have a well-worn neural pathway in your brain for that old conclusion. You’ve acted on it many times. Now you can just observe it. It is said that observation is often curative. Good will come of your self-observation. Stay alert. You may be surprised. Sometimes things just change when you find another conclusion more interesting. As the creator, you can always declare the conclusion you are willing to empower with action (In the beginning there was the word!). Here’s one that interests me: ‘I am able even in hard times to be present in my interaction with others.’ What conclusion are you willing to act on? And what conclusion are you willing to sideline? You are in charge.