I’ve been a life coach for nearly four years now (where does the time fly?) and there is one thing my clients learn to understand by the time I’ve finished working with them: Change can and does happen, albeit gradually.
There is no magic pill that can instantly change our lives. Sure, we might have a sudden realization, but even sudden realizations result after a culmination of events and experiences. Even Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment happened after a result of mulling about, endlessly hypothesizing on the best way to valuate gold. It wasn’t until he relaxed in his own bathtub that he made a world-changing discovery. Imagine if he had given up and decided to take a shower instead?
My clients come in hopeful, energetic, but unsure. Usually, they’re at their wits end, believing they’ve tried everything they could to make a change or realize a goal. Still hungry and hopeful, we work thoughtfully and strategically together. Sometimes, just spending a week thinking about a change and what it means, other times, making small steps like completing a few tasks here and there. Within a few months, my clients are looking back, gathering up the steps that made up their path of change and they find themselves surprised by how much progress they’ve made. Week by week, they make small strides, strides that lead to new opportunities and accomplished goals.
Change happens. Gradually. It also happens in unexpected ways. I ask my clients to avoid getting hung up on one single way of doing things; not to even bother at looking at how other people have accomplished their goals. The point of accomplishing our own goals is to meet them creatively, to find solutions and answers that work for us. Gradual change coupled with creativity implies the opportunity to try different ways out, to experience and experiment, enjoying the process, and discovering aspects of ourselves we’ve never before known.
Change happens. Gradually. Creatively. It also happens without us even realizing it. Even after we’ve made progress and significant strides toward creating the person and future we’ve desired, it can be hard to even realize that we’re there and that we’ve made it. At the end of coaching contracts, I write a report on how much the client has changed and what they’ve overcome. Sometimes, they’re positively shocked by their transformation because they’re caught up in the day to day. It’s not unusual for a client to say, “You know, someone at work remarked at how different I am,” or “People say my attitude is different.”
So, when someone says to me that it’s impossible to change and goals are futile, I just know that this is simply untrue. I’ve seen people change careers, change relationships, change financial situations, change their behaviors and perspectives, and I’ve seen people triumph and conquer their lives and themselves. Much of the battle for change happens in the mind, whereas the physical parts of making something happen are usually the easiest parts. Accepting that change takes time, takes creativity, and takes awareness is one of the major steps toward effective and positive change.
I love being a coach because I see change. It happens right before my eyes and I have the opportunity to guide people through their change consciously and creatively. I get to be the person who says, “You see, you did it.” I also get to be the person who asks, “What’s next?”