I’m going through 8 months of extensive life coach training with Martha Beck. My decision to become a life coach for creatives came from my own adventure in discovering the power of writing our own narrative and designing our own lives. But sometimes the stories we tell ourselves can hold us back or keep us feeling stuck. This column on & Kathleen will be exploring the lessons and concepts I am learning as I become a coach.
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Everything is shit.
There isn’t enough time.
I’m afraid of failing.
Nobody likes me.
I’m spread thin and scattered.
These are very common statements I hear from the creatives I coach. (Yup, we all like to think we’re special snowflakes with our neurosis, but the truth is we pretty much all suffer from similar and surprisingly predictable insecurities.) The thing is, our thoughts make up our reality. So if you think “Everything is shit” then you’re probably going to have a pretty shitty reality. So, my favorite line of kind interrogation when it comes to dissolving these self-limiting beliefs is asking the simple question:
Is it true?
9 times out of 10 the response is almost immediately “No, but …” and that when we get to the core – or the reality – of the negative thought. Here it is in action:
“Nobody likes me.”
“Is that true?”
“No, but … I do lack community and creative collaboration.”
See how limiting it can be when you stop the story at “Nobody likes me.”? You’re a victim, completely powerless to everybody and “nobody”. If you can recognize the reality of the situation you can change the narrative. “Nobody likes me.” is now transformed into a recognized need for community and creative collaboration. Joining a club or finding a mentor is a whole hell of a lot easier than the impossible task and unrealistic need of making everybody like you.
I love using the question “Is it true?” on myself when I’m being completely irrational but can’t seem to get out of my funk – statements like “I suck” or “I’m fat” are great ones to question with “Is it true?”. Some other questions you can ask yourself to get even deeper are: “Is it really true?” – asking twice can jolt you out of your line of thinking if you’re really stuck. Or “When is the opposite true?” helps to create another path of reality to acknowledge vs. the singular negative line of thinking.
Try it out for yourself and report back!
P.S. As I was composing this entry I accidentally erased my entire post just as WordPress was auto-saving my progress. I lost everything. I exclaimed “This always happens!” I asked myself “Is it true?” And the truth is no… I post almost every day without any hitch. Was I still annoyed? Yeah. But by acknowledging the reality of the situation (that this actually never happens) kept me cool and from playing the angry victim powerless to technology glitches.
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P.P.S. I have just 4 spots left for my 6-week 1:1 Life Coaching for Creatives offering – but they’re going fast. So email me ASAP if you’re interested.