Don’t ask yourself if you are making a difference in the lives of others.
The question is what kind of a difference are you making?
Have you ever neglected to take out your garbage on collection day? Perhaps you forgot. Maybe you were just too tired, or you were out of town. Remember the result? First, an unpleasant odor develops; then, an awful stench. And, then, unwanted creatures, such as gnats, flies, or maggots appear. The failure to properly dispose of our waste spawns all kinds of undesirable and unhealthy conditions.
Similarly, failure to deal with our hurts, grudges, insecurities, irritations, and resentments in a proper and timely fashion not only adversely impacts our emotional and spiritual well-being but also affects our clients.
If you want your character as a coach to be one that positively influences others, then you need to be intentional about clearing out negative attitudes, thoughts, and feelings that are weighing you down. As the writer of Hebrews suggests in chapter 12, verse 1, we want to “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles, and . . . run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” It’s our awareness of what’s holding us back along with the commitment to take action that enables us to remove our emotional trash.
Since we all have plenty of heart-junk and only God knows everything that is in our hearts, it’s essential to carve out time for prayer and self-evaluation. Are you asking God to show you what grudges or other negative thoughts and feelings you’ve grown accustomed to, are ignoring, or can’t see? Here are a couple of questions to help you get started.
What Unfulfilled Expectations or Desires Am I Ignoring?
Ask yourself if you are ignoring any unfulfilled expectations or desires. Dreams and desires are a good thing, but sometimes our legitimate desires or unmet expectations can subtly or not so subtly become something we believe we need. We discount the negative effect they have in our personal relationships or in our work. For example, maybe you desire a calendar filled with coaching clients. Before long you may come to believe it is essential to your well-being. You become fixated on fulfilling this desire.
Your thoughts, words, and actions become all-consuming to the detriment of your health and to your relationships with others. You may even become angry with God.
There is a fine line between hoping a desire will be met and expecting or demanding that it be met. Be willing to let go of your desires when they aren’t fulfilled according to your time frame. Surrender what can’t be met right now, or might never be met, so that you can embrace the reality of what is.
If you continue to ignore your expectations, there will come a point when you’re no longer aware you’re still carrying them around.
What Grudges or Resentments Am I Holding Onto?
Ask yourself if you are holding grudges or resentments. The process of moving from a negative event to a grudge to full-blown resentment is subtle and gradual. Like living near a fast-food restaurant and getting use to the smell of grilled meat or spices, resentment is something we quickly grow use to. We become desensitized to its existence.
One morning after reading Isaiah 43, I considered God’s mercy in blotting out my sins compared to how I remembered others’ transgressions against me. I realized I was holding tightly to an old grudge. Just the night before, I had shared with a friend every little detail about something someone had done to me years ago.
One simple prayer, admitting my unforgiveness and asking God to heal and restore my heart, made such a dramatic difference. I couldn’t believe how light and free I felt compared to the months before. Georgia, I wondered, why did you hold onto those grudges for so long? I knew why. I had grown use to them. They had become such a part of me that I didn’t notice how unattractive they were.
Ask God to shine his light in your heart and mind. You may be surprised by the things God brings to your attention. The more quickly you identify any draining thoughts and feelings, the more quickly you can work through them. Like me, you might even wonder why you held onto that grudge for so long.
Trash removal is about getting rid of anything that corrupts your character so that you are free to be the person and the coach God created you to be. Be willing to take your emotional junk to the dumpster regularly. You will not only experience stronger relationships, better attitudes, and less stress, but you will also positively impact the lives of those you coach.
Coaching the Coach Tip:
Because we gradually gather all kinds of discouraging thoughts and negative feelings over time, it is helpful to routinely take time for self-examination and to compare this month to last month. Which of the following statements best describes where you are today?
- My heart is becoming heavier with discouragements, doubts, and insecurities.
- My heart has some worries, fear, and anxiety.
- My heart is becoming lighter and freer.
- My heart is light, and I am free to be who God created me to be.
Be willing to see what is weighing you down and make the commitment to get rid of it. No matter how insignificant it may seem, dealing with it allows you to make a positive difference in the lives of those you coach.
Georgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.