Over the years, this is the question that I get the most. It’s a fair question. Men, especially, say:
“If people would get on with the business of living their life and stop focusing on every little whim and feeling, the world would be a better place – it’s a bunch of hooey!”
You may be surprised to know that in the world of professional life coaching, our goal is to see our clients do exactly that – to live an enriched life filled with joy, purpose, and meaning. But sometimes people get stuck. And they have to look beneath the tip of the iceberg, made up of their actions, and explore the feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and values that drive those actions.
In a coaching session, my client shared some action steps she was implementing in her life. “I’m going back to church…”, “I’ve signed up for a single parent class…”, “I have an appointment with my divorce attorney…” “Oh, and I also followed up with a mediator…”
With delighted surprise, I asked her: “To what do you attribute all this enthusiastic activity?”
Her answer touched surprised me. In so many words, she said, “I just needed to cathartically express my thoughts and feelings about my struggles.”
Introspection, used as a strategic tool and with purpose, can catapult us to a higher quality of living we may have never enjoyed. I applaud the work that my client did and is doing. I have seen her grow and change in deep and impactful ways.
Miss Kim (I’ll call her that for confidentiality reasons) also gave me a gift, unbeknownst to her. She taught me how to be a better life coach. You see, life coaches are known for goal setting, taking action, and giving directives – all good forward-moving strategies. But she first needed to share her story and to process what had transpired over a long period of time, including introspection, in a more natural, organic way. She taught me to actively listen with little direction of feedback in a way that worked best for her, instead of my more conventional step-by-step method. So, with some introspection, I expanded my skill set as a life coach and learned to be more “fluid”. Thank you, Miss Kim.
Introspection doesn’t have to be practiced in the outdated, stereotypical way that therapists of olden days used it. You know, where you laid on their couch and studied the fuzz in your navel for hours.
Of course, I am being facetious in order to make a point. I have colleagues that are therapists, and they do amazing work. So for those of you who tend to take things literally, I am using levity.