A little while ago an ex-student of mine who subscribes to The Life Change Blog wrote to say hello (Hi Wendie), and it reminded me of an exercise we used to do in class when I taught counseling skills.
It’s a simple little Life Coaching exercise that helps us think more clearly about life’s dilemmas, the “do I don’t I” moments; do I get married, should I stay with my partner, do I re-locate for I job I don’t like, and all the other challenges, big and small.
Without going through the entire exercise, let’s cut to the chase. Here are four Life Coaching strategies that will help you deal with whatever dilemmas life is throwing at you:
Back To The Future
Imagine that you have made your decision and it is now one year on…what is it like? Think through your hypothetical change, whatever it maybe, and imagine that it is one year from today; are you happy, are you sad, have things worked out for you? It’s often a good idea to look into the future and get a sense of how things would really be for you one year from now.
This is an important part of dilemma resolution. What would be the worst and the best thing that could happen if you made the change? For example, if you decided to leave your partner, what would be the very worst thing that would happen?
Try to keep it realistic and don’t over dramatise. Just think through the worst thing/s that could happen.
Then think about the reverse situation from this…what would be the best thing, or things, that would happen if you left your partner?
In both cases try not to get caught up in the emotions of the decision but try to consider these extremes clearly and logically.
Don’t Be A Feelings Slave
Who’s in charge, you or your feelings? Your feelings are not fact. All because you feel something it doesn’t make it true, or right, or wrong. They are just your feelings, and they come and they go. They do not necessarily mean anything, especially when considering a big change.
For example, if you are thinking of re-locating to a job the other side of the world, is the only thing that is stopping you is your feeling of fear of the unknown. Always check out your feelings with a someone who is truly neutral and will offer an alternative perspective.
At times our feelings can be our own worst enemy.
Imagine that you have a set of scales in front of you, and imagine that you are going to weigh the pros and cons of both making the change and not making the change. With trusty old paper and pen, write down four headings:
Pros for Changing
Cons for Changing
Pros for Not Changing
Cons for Not Changing
Now, under each heading list all the various pros and cons for each one and if it helps proportion an actual weight to each one. So, for example, you might have a list that looks like this:
Pros For Changing My Job
- I don’t like the people I am working with: 50kg
- I do not have enough career progression opportunities: 20kg
- It takes too long to get to work: 10kg
- I can make more money elsewhere: 20kg
And so on…
At the end of your lists weight up the numbers and see which one comes out best.
Trying to work out the answer to “do I don’t I” is not easy and may take some time. As my counseling teacher Bill Miller used to say to me “ambivalence is fine to pass through but you don’t want to live there.”
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