coaching

How do deal with your ego and it’s ugly cousin, impatience

3254923387_ca4d070d0c_zWhat you want to do versus what you think you should be doing

When you first starting something new, like your own personal development, there is a strong tendency to want to progress and be at a certain level almost immediately.  Nobody likes to be a beginner, or the new guy/gal, but being the rookie is a vital stage that helps us learn essential lessons and skills.

If you could take time and be OK with going slow and appreciate every step of the process, then you go much deeper into your understanding of yourself and strengthen the benefits of what you are trying to do.

But believe me, it is not always easy. I tend to rush things and want to improve quickly.  Being conscious of slowing yourself down is a skill and like all skills needs practice.  In this case of growing patience and valuing the process, your biggest obstacles (OK, let”s just say it, your enemies) are ego and impatience.  Here are some insights on that will help you cultivate a relationship with your ego, understand impatience and realize that the happiness and change you are seeking is right here today in the process and not at a hopeful endpoint.

Ego

To be honest, in personal development there is no end point.  This is a quote that I not only like, but really illuminates the moment in your thoughts when your ego gets the best of you.  The quote is by Darren L. Johnson and reads “Anytime there is a struggle between doing what is actually right and doing what seems right, then your ego is interfering with your decision”.

This is the moment when we know what we should do, but in order to preserve our appearance either to ourselves or others, we choose to protect our image rather than do what is best for us.  This same voice is the one that convinces to stop doing something when we are tired, finding it more and more difficult and perhaps increasingly more monotonous.  Ego is the voice in your head and the uneasy sensation in your chest and stomach when you think you’re not doing enough, being enough and/or moving fast enough.  Some examples of when your ego starts to talk (if not scream at you):

  • The mileage in your daily runs is not progressing enough in the preparation for the marathon
  • Your hamstrings are not loose enough in yoga
  • Your blog has fewer visitors than you think you should have
  • Your relationship is not where you think it should be
  • You are not cutting down any longer in smoking.  In fact, you want more.
  • Those desserts are not getting cut out like they were last month.  You are now even cheating.

All of these are based upon where you  “think” you should be rather than where you actually are.  So where do these thoughts come from?  The ideas that your ego has are put there by you. You’ve determined the point that you should be at by comparing yourself to others OR to some mythical idea in your head.  This comparison of where you are versus where you think you should be has brought out your ego loud and clear saying: “WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”

This then leads us into impatience. 

After the ego has been chattering and telling us to hurry up and improve, it is natural to become very impatient.  This quote by Charles Caleb Colton sums it up by saying “Patience is  the support of the weakness; impatience is the ruin of strength.”

If you could support the areas that you view as weaknesses or shortcomings, then the strength that allowed you to try in the first place would not be ruined.  You allow yourself to keep going. 

However, your ego can be very persuasive and when it speaks, your natural defence is to become impatient.  This immediate feeling of impatience is your ego’s way of trying to lessen the gap between where you are and where your ego thinks you should be.  This strong desire created by your ego to quickly have you become the image it has starts you pushing, the beating yourself up, and the operating with very unrealistic expectations.  This powerful combination of ego and impatience can either make your work miserable by placing you in a constant state of catch-up or frustrate you into quitting.  Either way, your work falls by the wayside just to silence your ego and get rid of the suffocating panic.

How to move past ego and impatience

Once ego has spoken and impatience is running rampant, there is a very simple choice:  learn to work with them and move your work forward.  I suggest the latter. 

If you can let your ego do it’s talking without reacting impatiently, the question changes from “Why am I not good enough?” to “How do I want to choose to show up to the situation?”  This keeps you in the game.  This prevents you from starting many things and ultimately quitting them and This is a big shift.

A questions to work with

Work gently with yourself and ask “Am I driven by where I think I should be in the process rather than appreciating where you actually are in the process?”  It is important to work from reality and not an invented future.  When you make this shift, notice what happens.  It might be hard to accept at first in some cases, but I guarantee the leanings from an accurate view of reality are much more powerful than a reality tinged with ego.  This topic is the basis of my ebook.   I”d love to hear your feedback and comments.

The importance of sharing our devils

Our devils

What is in the shadows

It is a hard thing to open up and sadly, often impossible for some.  We are so afraid of what would happen if other people saw just how different we were.  Just how fucked up we think we are.  

We’re not so different, though.  Our devils may have variations but at the core we are all the same.  We all have fears, an ego, shortcomings, apprehensions, weaknesses, doubts and a very large part of us that is scared.  Very, very scared.  

But when you let the devils out into a conversation, you are no longer that avatar or facade that you have been promoting. You’ve let your true self out.  You’ve connected with another human being on the most human of levels; letting them know that they are not alone.  That what they think and feel and wake up at panicked with at 2am is exactly what keeps you up as well.

It is what keeps us all up.

We are one

The sharing of our devils connects us to the whole of humanity but does more than simply remind us that we are not alone.  It also shrinks the size of our devils.  It puts them in their place because it is no longer them against you.  It is them against all of us.  And there are a lot of us.  

Becoming your true self is a journey of honesty with yourself and others.  So it is essential that these devils we all work so hard to hide get brought out into the light.  

We’re in this together.  

Don’t be afraid to share what is in your shadows because an honest life is so much more fulfilling than living with the devils.  

4 steps on how to be true to yourself

1882317616_9f2d324636_zThis is challenging.  No doubt at all.  

But, it is possible. Personally, in the past few years, I’ve found myself in may situations where I do feel like it would not only be easier, but necessary to sacrifice what I want.  In some cases, I did and overall the results were poor.  

Sacrifice is an essential part of being a good human being, but it is the extent of the sacrifice you make that you have to keep in check.  You can’t give yourself away and here is how not to:

  1. Be honest.  
    1. To yourself–If it feels like you are getting pulled in a direction that you are uncomfortable with, vocalize to yourself what feels hard and why.  Answer the question “What is it that I want?”  This act of labelling what it is that you want quickly strips away all the bullshit.
    2. To others-Don’t underestimate other people’s ability to empathize.  Tell them when you are struggling. You’ll may  surprised at how human and understanding other people can be.  
  2. Educate rather than isolate–When other people question what it is that you are doing, don’t see it as a challenge or disapproval (even if it is).  Use it as a time to educate them on what it is that you are doing and why.  Remember that you have had a lot more time with your thoughts and idea than they have, so they need time to get up to acclimate.  It may feel that you need to cut them off or isolate them from your lives, but what if you just took more time and patience with them while still nurturing your bond? 
  3. You can’t be wrong–If you are acting from a place of honesty and being true to what it is that you want, you cannot fail.  Your truth and ideas are essential to who you are and can’t be ignored.  Trust this deep inner honesty and truth.  It won’t steer you wrong.  Believe this.  
  4. Focus on the direction rather than the destination-It is much more important that you are letting your honesty and truths move you in the right direction rather than arriving at what you see as the destination.  Being on the path of your truth is much more valuable than being at the destination of a lie.  

And when all else fails and/or it gets confusing, see point #1.  It is never wrong.  

Developing life skills requires patience

Skills are not instant

Learning how to either develop new habits and/or leave other ones behind takes time.

Creating your own Personal Development and Sticking with itI know that might seem like an obvious statement, but one of the most common things I hear from people is: “I tried that once and it didn’t work” or “It was way too hard, so I just stopped”.  Having “it” not work or feeling that it is too hard needs your re-evaluation of how you are going about it.  You need to think of it as developing a skill. And like all skills, it requires that you:

Go at a reasonable pace where you are challenged, yet not frustrated.

Pick a starting point that represents your current abilities and tolerance for change.

Realize that it is not an all or nothing endeavour.  There are shades of trying and it does not need to be like a light switch where it is either on and bright or off and dark.  Your efforts are more like a dimmer switch for that light.

Consistently keep trying and growing

If you were teaching a child how to dive into a pool,  would you take him/her to the top of a cliff and say “After you jump, just make yourself go in head first”?  Of course not.  You would start slowly at the edge of the pool or dock and encourage him/her to take steps that challenge them but that do not frustrate them to the point of quitting.  Over time, you will see their skills increase and with diligence everyday, they will be able to dive from much higher up.

Your development, your skill

Whether you’ve wanted to start yoga, quit smoking, drink less, write more and/or just be nicer to yourself and others, ask yourself this: Have I thrown myself off the cliff when starting change? Or have I treated it like a skill and slowly but very steadily tried to increase it?  I have a book out entitled “Creating YOUR Personal Development: How To Do It Everyday and Thrive“.  It is an eight chapter guide that works with you to create, sustain and continually grow your personal development endeavor.  It is available on Amazon.  I’d love your feedback and hope that you find it a valuable tool.

Being true to yourself and not to others

You are brave enough to want a true version of yourself, but can you act on it?

If you decide that a change is what you want, it’s going to bother some people.  They might not say it, or directly show it, but they will get pissed.

TruthThey know you as you are now and how you’ve been, and now you want to go and change all of that.  Shame on you.

Whether it’s being overweight, out of love, wanting a new career, or not wanting to drink as much (or at all), you changing impacts others.

Many people deep down want you to be happy, but only if it is at little cost to them.  How many times has somebody said to you something like “Hey, I want to try ….” and your first, secret, dark, shameful reaction is “How is this going to affect me?”

I’m not saying it’s fair, or abnormal, it’s just a reaction.  But if a person is doing all of this hard work and trying to be a better person shouldn’t others care?  Or at least be really, really interested?

Scenario One

If you went on a trip to Africa and had an amazing time, and the weekend after you were back, you had a party with all of the people in your life, how would most conversations go that evening? To be honest, the whole scenario sounds pretty pretentious to me and I would not be caught dead at this type of party, but I’m using to exaggerate the situation.  Think about the range of reactions that people might have to hearing stories of your vacation.

There would be a few that were genuinely interested, some who wouldn’t really care, and the vast majority would listen just waiting for you to finish your story about the safari all the while formulating a counter story in their head and then jump in just as the second the last syllable flies out of your mouth. “Oh yeah, cool.  Well, last year, my wife and I were in India.  It was amazing. And the….”

Right?

We’ve all had that conversation. And let’s be honest, we’ve probably been the person coming up with the “yeah but” India like story at some point in our lives.

When we hear about others doing new stuff, changing, exploring the world or themselves, there is a trigger in our brains that makes us instantly look at our lives.  It can bring up a primordial reaction to defend ourselves.  We feel that if somebody has done something, I need to defend my doings.  I’m a doer too. See.  Look.  Hey, listen to me.

Courage is like gold: when you have it, you’re rich and when you don’t, you want it.  You doing something, anything actually, to positively impact your life takes courage. Loads of it.

And this characteristic threatens others. It makes others look at their lives. And in many cases, they don’t like what they see. Or they don’t like what is lacking.  And their discomfort and their reaction to your actions is often sent back to you in the form of negativity, avoidance and mockery.

But here is something to keep in mind:  A person’s personal change is not about anybody else other than themselves.

And when we feel threatened because we’re not losing weight or going to Africa, we forget that it has nothing to do with us. It is all about their own unhappiness and inaction in their own lives.   If I’m not drinking and my friends are annoyed or even distant, it’s not at me.  It’s really at themselves.

Either way, we seem to be really good about making other people’s actions all about us. 

Scenario Two

So what if we take this one step further.  If other people’s reactions to your change is getting in the way of your change, can you consider the following:  The reason that you are having difficulties being your true self is the same reason that got you into your current situation; you’ve been trying to please people all along.  You have a history of not saying no to things that you really don’t want to do.  You do it because others want you to.

But now that you want a change, people around you are getting weird, pissed, rude and really uncomfortable with it.  So what do you do?

You stay the same.  You keep the status quo.

You’re back to pleasing them, but not yourself.  The same diet, drinking habits, job you hate, life style that is slowly killing your soul (and perhaps your body as well), and/or the same relationship that you’ve not cared about for years.   They’re happy, but you’re still struggling.

And just like always, your change has a pin in it.

Getting past others

I know we’re taught not be selfish, but guess what?  It’s time to be selfish.

When I really wanted to stop drinking, I had to come to terms with the fact that:

  1. I wasn’t responsible for how others react.  I know their bad moods, strained and/or potential loss of relationships will create strife in my life, but what’ more important: their approval or my health?  Their approval or my happiness?  That friction in my mind, that tingling sensation that went off every time I did that behaviour that I was trying to change but not doing it, that was me not believing in that behaviour anymore.   That was me doing it for the wrong reasons.  So if I didn’t believe in it, and I  wanted  to stop but wasn’t, I asked myself:  What does this behaviour serve?  Does it serve an old belief or perhaps another person?  Can I let go of this?”
  2. This new change that I was entertaining is going to take courage.  Courage in the face of the naysayers in my head, and sadly, around me.  Years ago in one of my first yoga classes, one of the women in it dropped out only a few classes in.   I had gotten to know here a little bit and after a few weeks of not seeing her at class, I ran into her in a book store. We recognized each other but I could tell she didn’t want to talk or at least felt awkward but I had just gotten into line behind her and we had no choice.  I asked her where she’d been.  She said that she had quit because her husband didn’t want her to take yoga.  Afraid that she’d change too much.  I could see in her face that she was embarrassed and not really proud of what had just come out of her mouth.  I honestly didn’t know what to say.

 A definition of courage that I’ve heard and liked is that courage is action in the face of fear.

Change needs courage.

So what’s the fear in the way of you being your true self?

 

Life coaching could be the worst descriptor ever. But if you dig a little deeper…

When I first heard the term life coaching, I laughed out loud.  It sounds ridiculous and pretentious as hell.  But, I am one now and if you can get past the title, it is a great support in life.  

What is coaching?

Coaching is about examining the choices we make in our life and deepening our understanding of why we make them.

These choices include our thoughts, behaviours and habits and each day is a chance to not only take a step forward in this understanding but to also open ourselves to the possibilities of different choices.

At the heart of our choices, lie our what it is that we truly believe about life.  These core values may be known to us but in many cases, we are unaware about what it is that fuels our decision making process.

Understanding our core values allows us to understand our choices and ultimately choose our actions.

I work with people just like you; people who are curious about the choices they are making in their life, searching for perspective and asking that question “How can I be my true self?”

Working together

I’ve done what you are thinking about.  I’ve been through a major lifestyle change.  I’ve lived a life where I knew deep in my mind and body, that this wasn’t really me.  

I’ve seen the ups and downs, the risks, the challenges, the rewards and most importantly, I’ve kept it going.

I think you would agree that wanting to create change in your life can be an exciting prospect. Ideas of changing something in your life such as getting healthy, changing jobs and even countries can start the seeds of motivation and really get you thinking. Or in many cases, all you know is that “something is off” but not sure just what.

But sadly, so many of these great ideas that you have of change never get a chance to grow and that nagging feeling of doing something never gets addressed.

This is why you need to work with me.   I’ve been there and I want to help you.

This idea of change that you have will not happen by itself and it needs your attention.  Together with your passion, motivation and desire combined with my experience and expertise, we can make your change not only possible, but fulfilling and sustainable.

We will:

  • examine where you are in life,
  • explore what you truly value and want to experience in life,
  • create action and support systems to implement your ideas of change
  • activate your true self 

Take action

Those ideas of change that you have are worth exploring.  Your true self is not being fully expressed and through the work of coaching, the layers of your life can be peeled away.  Recognizing that something needs changing is a brave first step and I acknowledge you for it.

The next step is to now start the process of exploration between what you are doing in life and what you consider “a life well lived”.

Contact me today for a free introductory talk where we can get to know each other and start bringing those ideas out of your head and into the world.  And if you wish, I promise not to use the word “life coaching”.

I look forward to hearing from you.