This post was in response to an overwhelming “I so GET THIS” reaction from my community. You can read part 1 here.
The response from my “where I’ve been” email was incredible. I sooo appreciate how many of you replied, “I feel this.”
With this touching a nerve, I wanted to offer the next step in bridging that values gap and freeing up time and energy to tend to your health.
Because when we let “busy” and “always be productive” values run our lives, there is often very little time, let alone energy or desire, to cook or exercise.
Most coaching focuses on tactics like time management hacks or asking for more help. This can be useful. And, the root cause is rarely addressed.
The root issue is that not being super productive or busy makes us feel at risk in some way. If you don’t address this risk, you will continue to put more on your plate with your new found time because it feels unsafe to slow down.
In other words, having free time, just for yourself or to do something that won’t contribute to your work or other responsibilities, probably feels too risky for other reasons.
Ask me how I know…
In my example, I was worried about losing financial security, opportunities, and my “exceptional identity”.
While most coaching focuses on “Know your Why” or listing the reasons you want to eat well or create other healthy habits, I’ve found the transformational gold is in our “Why Not”.
Our “Why Not” is: What becomes at risk if I do the thing I know I should?
This risk can be real or perceived.
If you are struggling with slowing down and doing less, ask yourself, “What is at risk or might happen if I am not always working hard? Or doing enough?”
Your answer will most likely involve the potential loss of some combination of security (i.e. financial or relationship) or status.
The great news is you don’t necessarily have to choose between your Why and Why Not.
Part of this about really understanding what you value versus what you’ve been socialized to value.
For example, while I did share some of the self-coaching and questions I used to work through my “Why Not” to regain my health and lose 20 pounds, what I left out is that in working through this with my Truce Coaching, I discovered what I really valued was Impact.
And my value of Impact was compromised by my need to be busy and always productive! When I asked myself, “How am I measuring if I’m busy?”, the answer was how many hours I worked.
Why am I measuring hours? Rooted in Industrial-era Capitalism, “money as time” was a reality because the more time you put in, the more you would produce and be paid on an assembly line for example.
My work is the opposite of an assembly line. It’s boutique. It’s creative. I’m a better coach, teacher, and podcaster when I have space and down time.
And in valuing impact, it forced me to get more discerning on what was actually making an impact in my work and family life. For example, I realized most of my clients come from referrals from my clients or highly respected health and wellness professionals.
This means social media isn’t the best use of my time in this phase of my life 🙇. This is one example of many shifts leading to fulfilling, elegant solutions.
Making decisions through the value of Impact still honors my other values of my work, financial security, and collaboration opportunities. And it has freed up time and energy to honor my health value.
Now, there’s a twist. Because powerful change is never that simple.
Another problem with traditional coaching, especially in the domain of Motivational Interviewing, is that we are told to connect the change we want to our core values.
The problem is how we define these core values is often also based on how we’ve been socialized. And we’ve been socialized in very sick systems.
So for example, Impact can mean a ton of things. Most of us have been socialized to believe that to make an impact, we need to be thin, beautiful, rich, and famous. This is one route to Impact.
And, there’s plenty of other ways to create impact with our lives. For example, depth, social justice, and status quo disruption are meaningful ways to define impact to me.
In next week’s special podcast celebrating my 30th cancer survivorship anniversary, I’ll be talking more about “self-authoring” our values versus relying on the default value ideas we grew up around.
I’ll share how I deeply valued my health after going through cancer. And yet, I thought health was defined by how much I weighed. And how I grew into a healthier, richer definition of health to actually be healthy and lost my weight loss obsession in the process.
Until then, chew on the risk thought experiment. If you were to live more in alignment with your values, what are you afraid would happen?
And if impact instead of busy and productive resonates, what sort of impact really matters to you?
P.S.: Are you a practitioner ready to uplevel your practice rooted in the “Why Not” of your clients? All the while expanding your reach without burning out? Join my upcoming SMART Goals: How they Sabotage Eating and Exercise Goals and What Works for Deeper Coaching Impact workshop.
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