Saturday, November 17, 2012

A tiny flow from a deep well.

I like to help other people move forward in accomplishing their goals. Actually, "like" is understating the case. I love doing that - or feeling like I've done that - and I want to do a lot more of it.

There are at least a couple of reasons why I don't do a lot more of it.

1. Most of the time, with most people, I don't know what their goals are. In some cases, this is easily cured by asking. In other cases, asking reveals that people don't know themselves what their goals are. If they're content with not knowing, I guess that's ok. If they're not, then figuring out goals might itself be the goal.

2. Sometimes I feel that I don't have the right to help others until I have perfected myself: "You need to get your own act together first." I think the empowering response to that feeling is, "I'm gonna help others as I can while I continue getting my act together."

So I have thought about becoming a life coach, although I blush to say so. I blush to say so because I know that entire swaths of the population find the very idea of life coaching absurd, that for those people it smacks of fakery and snake oil.

Which does not mean that I have to feel embarrassed about being interested in doing it (LIFEKEY 47: No particular circumstance requires any particular emotional response). It just means that I if I did do it, I should not expect anyone with that view to become a client.

This post was sparked by a phone conversation that just ended, with my sister Doris. She said she had just realized that she made a schedule for herself a couple of weeks ago, and that she hadn't followed it. It included things like going swimming at the Y, and calling a computer tech person to help her with her computer skills.

I said that I was familiar with the syndrome. I didn't tell her that when Janet called me to the phone to speak with her, I was preparing for my weekly review, which will consist mostly of rescheduling things I didn't do this week.

She asked, "How do you get out of that?"

"One action at a time," I said. Then I made it more specific: by taking the smallest possible action. Then I explained that figuring out what the smallest possible action is not always as easy as it may sound. For instance, calling someone may actually require finding their phone number first. Or finding the piece of paper on which you've written down the phone number.

I used the example of her calling a computer tech person, and I asked who she was going to call and she gave me a name (if she had said, "I don't know," I would have suggested that the smallest possible action would have to do with finding out/deciding who to call). And she said she had the person's number.

I said that her knowing who she wants to call and having the person's phone number made this case a bad example of the need to figure out the next smallest possible action, but a good chance to do it. And that I was going to let her go ahead and make that call.

She made funny noises. "You mean actually do something?"


I told her I was going to hang up and that she could call me back after she spoke with the computer tech person (which also includes the possibility of not getting the person, leaving a voicemail msg).

And as I hung up, I felt like I was helping her. And I really liked that feeling. And here we are.
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