I do not tell people what to do, I don’t offer advice and I’m not a therapist. Rather, I guide people down the path to discover answers for themselves. Life coaching misconceptions can deter you from this life-changing process; I will discuss two false beliefs.
My purpose as a life coach is to introduce people to themselves. You believe certain things about the world around you; you believe certain things about yourself. I hold up a mirror, ask you to reflect and I take your brain to places it has not been. The purpose of getting coached is that you get out of your own head, expand your myriad opportunities and become grounded so as to think in useful terms (see Post #18). This process transforms you into an emotionally mature, self-confident thinker who makes purposeful decisions. I’d like to clear up two common life coaching misconceptions in an attempt to be transparent with my coaching style. Note, I cannot speak for other life coaches; I speak for my own practice.
Myth 1: “We should be happy all the time.”
Accuracy: There is no good without the bad.
One hundred percent happiness is not an idea that I teach to my clients, nor do I believe it to be true. This is a typical life coaching misconception. In fact, my stance is that there is no good without the bad, there is no great without awful, and there is no happy without the sad. Part of our human experience includes contrast. It is a given that we are going to experience the full spectrum of emotional contrasts during our lives.
What my life coaching offers you is the ability to handle the awful parts of life and enjoy the positives. It teaches you how to think in a self-serving way despite your negative circumstances. You learn how to process emotions. When you understand where your emotions come from, you can use them to your advantage. Emotions are the fuel for our lives. Everything you do and say stems from the emotions stirring up inside you.
Myth 2: “We should set goals and achieve them so we can be happy.” Accuracy: Reward is found in the journey, not the destination.
This life coaching misconception may leave you curious. Our typical society leads most of us to believe achievement is essential to our wellbeing. For example, it’s good to achieve a stellar grade point average, a high salary, a stable job, or a large house because that is what success ‘looks like’. We are fed messages throughout our lives that the achievement of tangibles or intangibles equates to happiness.
I teach my clients that while achievement can be a great thing, it is not the end all be all. This is true because after having achieved that wonderful goal or item, you think about the next one and you are left wanting more. When you derive fulfillment purely from the end achievement, you will never gain long-term satisfaction. Rather, you will be left with another empty void to fill.
The purpose of goals, my friends, is not to achieve happiness. Whether you achieve the goal itself is irrelevant! The purpose is to take yourself on an uncomfortable, demanding, self-discovery with bumps and traps along with way. Strategizing a way through obstacles is what forces you to grow and evolve. The harder the journey, the higher the reward. Achievement of a goal is simply a fun byproduct; the true reward comes from conquering your grueling obstacles.