What Makes You Light Up?
Here are a few more coaching tips, if you want to help someone you care about.
First, picture a different goal or outcome in your mind. Rather than stopping them doing something that they want, see yourself as helping them discover something they want to do even more. (Remember, we ALL want to feel better and more alive.)
Second, a good way to stimulate their desire is to be straight and honest with them. “Unless we can find a new life for you that is much more enjoyable than the pleasure and comfort you get from what you’re doing now, you’re just going to keep going back to it. So I what I’d like to do – if you’re willing – is to help you imagine a brand new future, one that would be so inspiring, and light you up so much, that you’d be willing to go beyond your comfort zone to get it.” (That’s my language. Find what’s true and inspiring for you.)
Third, another way to stimulate that vision is to help them reflect on the past, and remember their hopes and dreams. You could approach it this way: “If you were to look back in your life, was there a time when you started to feel more negative or resigned? Just before that, what were your dreams? Was there something you loved, that you gave up on? Tell me what you really wanted back then.”
If you see their interest growing, ask: “Do you remember what it felt like when you thought that anything was possible? Like when you were going to start your own business... be an artist... or change the world?” (Use examples that fit for them.) “Are those dreams you still have?” (They might not be, since we all change. But at least it starts them thinking into the world of possibility.) “Do you still want that, or is there something else you would you like to do?”
It’s an amazing feeling to have a vision and go after it. Yes, it’s painful if we don’t succeed. But the real pain comes from giving up on our dreams, never finding them again, or not giving ourselves permission to live them.
Tony Robbins says, “Communication is the response you get.” So if the other person clearly isn’t connecting with what you’re saying, try a different approach. “If these words don’t mean much to you, what questions – if I were to ask them – would trip a switch inside you, light your eyes, excite your being and thrill your soul? You know what I’m talking about. You probably already have the question inside of you, but some part of you doesn’t want to say it. I just want to help you open that door. What would you really like to do?”
Suppose the person opened up at this point and said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to own a yoga studio. Help people with illness. Make sure everyone has enough food to eat. Or help people earn more money to help their families.” Whatever they say, honor their response. Even if it looks impossible, encourage them. You asked – now they’re telling you their truth. So ask them to tell you more.
The more you help them open up whatever they’ve been hiding – perhaps because they didn’t think it was possible either – the more you’ll be helping them take the first steps to releasing their habits or addictions, and living the life they truly want.
Be the Change You Want to See
Another powerful way to make a difference with someone else is by looking at your self.
I believe that we are like mirrors for each other. When someone is doing something that bothers us, it reflects something in us that we are uncomfortable with. Our reaction is usually to fix, change or control the other person. But this is actually a way of avoiding what’s going on in us.
When I work with parents who are concerned about their kids’ addictions, I encourage them to look at what’s going on in own their lives. To consider, with full confidentiality and anonymity, what unproductive habits, compulsive behaviors or addictions of their own that they could be responsible for transforming. And then I teach them new habits that they can use for themselves.
Some people are quite shocked to find that their habit has to do with trying to dominate, bully or control others (especially their kids) – in order to gain a false sense of control in their own life. But this is very common. Many of us use fixing others as a way of avoiding being responsible for our own choices and actions. However, this is where our true power lies.
Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Well I like to adapt that by saying it this way: “Be the change you want to see in someone else.”
By reclaiming your hopes and dreams, and transforming your unwanted habits and ‘powerless’ thinking, you will become an authentic example for others. Ironically, you will also be making the biggest difference possible for the people you care about – when you shift from fixing them to growing and expanding yourself.