Personal Training and Life Coaching... Pretty similar


Several years ago I injured a muscle in my left leg.  I honestly don't remember how it happened, and once it passed the acute pain stage it didn't come into play in my yoga practice so I pretty much just ignored it.  It wasn't asking for my attention and I didn't give it any... even though I knew the injury was there.  

Recently, my cross training has included body-weight single leg squats.  They're called pistol squats and they are torture.  Well.  My trainer thinks they are good for me.  My left leg does not agree.  Now, I'm trying to isolate and activate a single area - the area that was injured - to create a new-to-my-body motion and it is going horribly.  That part of my musculature had pretty much gone to sleep until my trainer brought pistols into my life.  

The first time I tried this devil exercise my entire left side from my buns down the front of my leg to the back of my calf seized up and stayed that way for several days.  It was extremely uncomfortable to say the least.  But, with perseverance and attention, things are shifting.  First, I worked with my trainer to determine what wasn't firing and what was.  We found some other things I could do to reawaken the muscles that have been asleep.  We also discovered together that my leg needed some TLC between and after sets.  The TLC has included rolling on a tennis ball and stretching.  With those changes and adjustments to the demand I'm putting on my squats I was actually able to do them this morning.  And they actually looked pretty good.  I probably still have a long way to go... but this is a start.  And along the way I'm healing my muscles.

From physical, Personal Training make a leap over into Life Coaching.  Martha Beck, PhD often describes life coaching as similar to training.  A PT takes a generally healthy body and makes it even healthier.  A Life Coach takes a generally mentally and emotionally healthy person with a generally ok life and helps him or her move more and more towards optimal living (as defined by the client, not the coach.)

I love this analogy.  What I did with my leg is one of the EXACT same things I do with my coaching clients regularly.  

Oftentimes we will be moving along talking about an area of life she wants to improve.  Suddenly out of nowhere a limiting thought will show itself.  This thought hurts like the dickens, has been in her mind for possibly as long as she can remember, and usually is partially responsible for why life sucks rather than rocks.  

Now that the thought is out there, we can work together to help my client change how she is thinking.  Usually our work involves feeding the mind other alternatives, just the same way I found other exercises for my leg.  It also involves TLC for the hurt or suffering part of this person - the inner child that never got to voice how she felt when this thought was created.  Finally, it includes the client moving out into the world knowing that this thought exists, and practicing living either without it or living with awareness of it and using tools we've strategized together to be able to deal with it.  And.  Oh. My. Goodness.  This stuff totally works.

I've been witness to some powerful transformations when my clients drop their limiting beliefs and start living from more empowering thought structures.  And I've felt the freedom of dropping out dated ways of thinking from my life.  It works.

You can try it for yourself with a simple exercise.

Here's how: Think of something in your life that kind of sucks.  Nothing too horrible because we want a simple example, you're working on your own here.  Now. See if you can pin point a particular part of the situation that really really annoys you.  And listen to what you're telling yourself about it.  When you get to a thought that just keeps cropping up and makes you irritated, angry, or sad you've landed on the limiting belief. Either keep on thinking it, or write it down a few times. It should leave a bad feeling in your bones.  Now.  It'll sound stupid, but try it anyway.  Think the exact opposite of that particular thought.  The exact opposite. Notice as you think (or write down) the exact opposite, which thought feels better to you.  Which one feels more true?  Which one gives you more peace?   Notice which one gives more options and which one takes them away.

Example:  I have a basket of clean laundry sitting at my feet while I'm typing.  It's annoying me because I keep having the thought: "I have to fold the laundry."  I feel like I have no choice.  But when I change the thought to "I don't have the fold the laundry." I feel a whole lot better and options open up.  And, if I think about it "I don't have to fold the laundry" is a lot more true.  I could just let it sit there.  I could ask my husband to do it. I could get the kids to do it. I could just put it all away unfolded.  I probably WILL fold the laundry, but knowing I don't have to and that I have a choice in the matter makes all the difference. 

If you did the exercise you probably found that the limiting belief took away your choices (hence the name Limiting belief) while the opposite opened up choices.  That's the key.  Now you may be arguing with me saying it can't possibly be that easy.  And I agree with you, sort of.  If I'm doing an exercise like this one and I do it quickly I oftentimes struggle with keeping the limiting thought from crowding out the opposite thought.  That's where I come in as a coach.  We take a lot more time with this, find a lot more alternative thoughts, and even build a plan for when the limiting thought shows it's head again.  

The name of the game is creating more freedom in your life by spotting limiting thoughts.  Once you're on to them, a little TLC, and a game plan and before you know it you have healed a part of your life you may have forgotten was even injured.  

And when you are feeling whole, complete, and healed, you never know what might happen.