Having not intended to write a blog at all, I was quite excited at the reaction to my first blog post about feeling stuck. I received some insightful feedback from Helen Caton-Hughes, a coach I hold in great esteem, who said some lovely things about my weather vane metaphor, where I suggested that just because we’ve chosen to bask in the sun, doesn’t mean we never get to dance in puddles ever again. She then went on to point out that of course in most situations there are not just two possible outcomes when we have a decision to make (good point!) and that focusing down on just two can mean we miss out on other great possibilities (even better point!) I thought that was worth exploring in a blog post, so welcome to “getting over feeling stuck: the sequel” (complete with photo of the rose outside my front door basking in the sun.)

Coaching is all about possibility. You and I might be having a coaching conversation and you might say “I don’t know whether to bask in the sun or jump in puddles, Jen, what should I do?”

What we could do is talk through a sensible pros and cons list, but I know you’re intelligent and you can probably write that list on your own. In fact you probably have.

In coaching we might instead choose to explore possibility by taking a look at what else is going on for you,  and maybe take a couple of steps back from those two options, to see the bigger picture. After all, the more we focus on there being just two options the more we work ourselves up and get pulled down the plug hole of indecision.

So why don’t you and I have a go now?

It may not seem like it in England right now being as we are in the middle of a heat wave, but believe it or not, there are many kinds of weather in the world, not just sun to bask in, or rain to dance in, but dry heat, sticky heat, heat with a light breeze, rain with a howling gale, a tornado, or the wind that comes off the sea and sends your empty crisp packet flying across the beach. Just as there are many different ways of looking at your dilemma and many different ways forward for you.

At this point you may nod sagely and say “But Jen, what’s the “right” decision? The “right” way forward?”

And, I’m going out on a limb here, I believe for many decisions, the kind we might bring to a coaching conversation, there isn’t necessarily a “right” decision and a “wrong” one. The world constantly changes, as do you, along with your thoughts, dreams and desires. What was “right” for you yesterday might not be “right” today.

I’m not saying I’ve never done anything I later decided had been the result of a bad decision, but some of  the decisions that took me to challenging places provided such rich opportunities to learn about myself that I wouldn’t give up the outcome now, even if I could.

So back to all those different kinds of weather. There are so many different ways to explore what’s going on for you, and so many options for you as to the way forward.  As we talk, you might not reach “the answer” or even “an answer”, but even more valuable will be what you discover about yourself along the journey as you explore the real you, your values, your vision, your talents.  That learning won’t just help you with this decision, but many more to come.

Ok Jen, this sounds very nice, but how can I step back to consider lots of options when I’m making myself ill with worry wondering whether to bask in the sun or dance in puddles?”

Here is an exercise you can do on your own to help you explore what’s important to you, which might help you towards more confident decision making.

Start by finding yourself in a quiet, spot where no one will disturb you. Have a pen and paper with you. Take a deep breath, make sure you’re comfortable, and consciously put your current dilemma to one side.

Think of someone you really admire, maybe a friend, family member, colleague or partner. What are the qualities they possess that makes them so admirable?

Write these on the piece of paper.

…and now think of some more. And write them down.

..and a few more.

There’s no right answer here so try not to censor or even think much about what you’re writing as you jot these down.

Now think of someone else you really admire.  What’s great about them?

Write all those qualities down, a few will spring to mind immediately, but take your time to sit and think of the less obvious things too.

After about ten minutes, you will have a sheet of paper filled with qualities.  These will give you an idea of the values that are important to you right now.

Underline the two or three qualities or values that feel particularly important to you today. What do you notice about them?

Which is the no.1 quality on that page for you right now?

Now take time to write answers to the following:

  • What would life look like if I were living that value 100%?
  • How would I be spending my time?
  • Who would I  be hanging out with? What would i be able to achieve?
  • What is this value telling me about my options in my current situation?

Do have a go at this and let me know how you get on.

Today I’m channelling stepping back into the big picture and reflecting on what’s really important to me. What’s really important to you?

Written with love

Jen