To live a successful life it starts with digging into your mindset and seeing where you can find some small wins. How you view a situation, career, life will determine how fast you get back up after you get knocked down. Once you master your inner domain the rest of your life begins to fall into place. That's why coaching yourself is such a powerful tool. You learn how to notice each thought and emotion quickly, so you can use it to help you become more resilient.
Where many people make the mistake in coaching themselves is that they get all "Rah! Rah!" and it works for a short time, but eventually this burst of energy fades and you go back to old habits. They didn't take time to dig deep and understand their patterns.
Before you start to coach yourself, you must understand your "why". Once you understand the purpose behind your actions then you can set yourself in the right direction. Then it's about making time to coach yourself.
A few years ago I was having a rough day. I spilled my coffee all over my desk. I got a rejection email from a potential client that I thought was going to hire me. I couldn't find the motivation to reach out to high-level people to grow my business. My inner bully came raging out.
"You are such a klutz!"
"You don't have what it takes."
"You are such a wuss!"
"Why do you even try?"
I saw my internal dialogue and I was fed up. I needed a change. This awareness was a big step for me. A few years before this I didn't even realize how mean I was to myself. I had come a long way. Awareness is the first step to being a good coach to yourself.
The Lens of Life
We can see life from any lens we create. You might see life as serious or beautiful or amazing or painful or a little part of all of them. You tease out the life you want through practice. A lot of this is because of your DNA, your past influences (parents, teachers, friends, etc.) and how you used these experiences to forge your mindset. I view my life from the lens of curiosity. You might see life as a game. Maybe you played video games as a kid and/or still play games today. I love a good round of Mario Brothers with my youngest son. Each game always had its rewards to encourage you to keep going and dig a little deeper to overcome the next level. Try the lens of seeing yourself as a character in a video game. Just a guy/gal going to work, trying to earn money to level up his/her life. You get to pick your character’s clothes, food and attitude. You get to choose who to talk with and support as you go through your day. The reward of a game is huge. It validates your effort. When you can validate yourself that's when life really opens up. Pro tip: The more people you help in this video game the more people want to help you. It’s all about seeing how flexible your mind can be when you choose the lens that works for you.
As you develop your inner coach to be more supportive, you validate yourself. You don't need other people to reward you. You take the time to look back on your day and see all the positive actions that you took. Notice I said actions, not results. It's about doing the positive actions that will lead to results. A good coach doesn't wait to praise you after you won the championship. A good coach supports you through every positive step. It's all the practice reps that gets you prepared for the game. When you can appreciate the time you put into improving then you'll see positive results.
I want you to have a structured way to dig into your mindset and get a better understanding of yourself, so you can build a better career and life. A life filled with less anxiety and more energy because you can and should focus on the things that really matter to you. You might be afraid of digging deep because there is a lot of pain there, but it does get easier. If you see a therapist, counselor or attend group meetings these are all good and important. You should continue to do them, but I would suggest using a mental framework to supplement your hard work, so you can coach yourself through any situation. You must train yourself to peel back the layers and expose these inner gems.
Think about all the wonderful teachers and coaches you have had; which ones were the best?
What did they do well?
From working with so many people over the years I’ve seen a pattern. The best teachers and coaches are honest with you. They don’t sugar coat their answers, but they believe in you. They don’t lie to you because they know it’s better for your long-term growth. They hold the mirror up to you so you can see yourself clearly. They help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, so you can believe in yourself.
Believing in yourself starts with awareness. You just need to uncover a few inner gems to see the power of this work. Gems are just the stories that we tell ourselves that occur that can influence us. These stories can are positive, neutral and negative. When you bring these stories to your consciousness then you you are peeling away the layers/armor that we have used to protect ourselves. Hat tip to Brené Brown for the idea of the armor that we create that we think protects us, but is really holding us back. By exposing these inner gems your 10% belief in yourself will turn into 40% and then 60% and then 90%. That’s when life gets fun. You become your own greatest coach.
Once you get comfortable digging for your inner gems it becomes a game. A playful game that helps you level up your inner voice. You don’t get too attached to your thoughts. You see a chance to dive into your thoughts as a chance to learn more about yourself. When you make time to dig deep, to understand yourself better, you are creating more empathy for yourself and others. The more you understand how to uncover the joy and love inside of yourself the easier it is to do things you love. You no longer live for other people’s approval, you live to do what is true to you.
The internal growth will occur as you begin to practice digging into your thoughts and emotions and learning from them because you’ll be getting the support from the most important person in the world.
You have to learn to trust yourself. Trust is built through consistent actions. When you say you are going to workout then set a goal, create a daily system and work toward it. I know this is an oversimplification of the process, but we often lose confidence because we don't follow our own system. We tell ourselves, "You can do this!" or "You got this!", but we don't believe ourselves. If we don't believe in our inner coach then we'll give up before we even started
We have to build the trust back in ourselves. If we say we are going to workout then it's about implementing a system that fits your current stage in life. This is where honesty is so important. If you haven't worked out in 6 months then don't expect to workout for an hour a day. Of course you'll give up after a couple days, it's just too much too soon. You must understand what will work well for you. This takes inner awareness. Think about why this goal is important to you, this is the step so many people miss. Successful people are able to coach themselves on the importance of making this a habit because they have a clear vision. Then set aside just 5 minutes to walk. Set a timer for 2 minutes and 30 seconds and when the timer goes off go back home. Then think about what you enjoyed about those 5 minutes. This moment of appreciation is all the reward you need. That's it. Do that for two weeks. Just build the foundation one tiny piece at a time then after this time period extend it to 10 minutes. This is the power of coaching yourself. If you can do it for 5 minutes a day then you can do it for 10 minutes a day. The self coaching gets so much easier because you already proved that you can stick with it for 5 minutes a day.
I started with meditating for 1 minute a day. It seemed silly at first. By the time I got settled my alarm would go off, but I stuck with it. Now I meditate for 21 minutes in the morning and afternoon every day. I built the trust to coach myself.
You can put the same system into place to build your writing skills, presentation skills, healthy eating habits, etc. This is where coaching yourself gets fun. You encourage yourself to become the person that you want to become. Then it's all about making time to dig deep each and every day so you can notice what is working and how you can coach yourself to do more of it.
Whenever you feel triggered or overwhelmed start with asking yourself the first question in the Dig to Fly Method:
How important is this issue to me on a Scale of 1 - 10? (1 not at all - 10 very important)
This question will allow you to pause to assess the situation and create an emotional buffer, so you aren't swept away by your emotions. You are building your awareness. I reserve a 10 for life or death situations. Very few times in my life would I put a 10 on a situation. Building my meditation practice was a 9 because I suffered with anxiety. I wanted to reduce my worrying and overthinking and all the research pointed to me developing a consistent meditation practice. I understood my why. I had already practiced Yoga for 15 minutes each morning, so I added my 1 minute meditation to the end of that routine. James Clear calls it Habit Stacking. By adding a small practice to my current practice it become a regular habit.
That’s what digging deep is all about. You understand your North Star and even if you miss a workout you get right back at it the next day. Digging deep helps you understand your core values and live them in your life's work. Coaching yourself to get a deeper understanding of who you are, so you can take consistent action on things that matter and trust yourself to complete them and learn from them.
What type of coach do you have in your head? What could help you be a more supportive coach to yourself?
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