A question I encounter again and again as a coach is: what problem do you solve ? Do you work with people trying to lose weight or are confused about their career path, or have relationship struggles?
The short answer is, sure, yes. These issues come up.
But here’s my problem with problem based coaching: it keeps us oriented toward the idea that we and our lives are a problem to be fixed.
This might make us feel empowered in the short term, but ultimately it keeps us from developing a wise and compassionate relationship with ourselves – one in which we can connect to meaning, well-being, gratitude and heartfelt connection regardless of the outer circumstances in our lives or the unresolved troubles we still carry with us.
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the
problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved .
They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together
again and fall apart again. It’s just like that.
The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this
to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ”
from When Things Fall Apart
Most of the time what I hear from clients is that they feel stuck. Sometimes there are goals that they aren’t reaching that are external symptoms of this feeling. But 100% of the time is there’s an inner conflict going that’s creating that feeling.
It’s the feeling of being stuck, or that something just doesn’t feel right, or even a conscious struggle over a choice that is perceived as an either/or that’s a signal from some wise place within you.
This signal is saying, “Hey, look here, there’s a opportunity for healing!” Not, “Hey, you need to fix this problem in order to be valuable.”
In talking about story, writer George Saunders puts it beautifully,
“Once you put it down on the page and write it and rewrite
it, it’s actually your own discontent with it that in some slow
mysterious way urges it to higher ground.”
-from “On Story ”
Think of this in the creative process of your own life story, too.
Your discontent is important . It’s what urges you to move beyond the comfort of the status quo – in your own life and in the world we live in.
Don’t worry. Breakthroughs still happen. Problems get solved. But your value and your connection to your own wisdom doesn’t depend on that.
This week, I challenge you to follow your discontent and see where it urges you.