“The most hateful human misfortune is for a wise man to have no influence.” - Herodotus
“Leadership is Influence.” - John Maxwell
Unquestionably the most important element of coaching is to assist others in transforming the story they are living. Most of the time we find that their story is not bad at all. It just needs some simple editing. That’s where coaching is valuable.
I’m a coach – I help leaders gain Influence in a variety of situations.
Last year found me in a vicarious place. I was attempting to keep one business chugging along while launching another. I found myself in the midst of a crazy circus life – juggling too many balls. The result was that my personal health began to suffer. (I dropped my health ball.)
Try as I might I could not lose weight. I started to believe that this was the “new normal” for me. Fortunately I was surrounded by supporters who didn’t buy my stinking-thinking. With the help of several tools and a caring wife, I began to re-write the story I was living. In eight short months, I dropped thirty pounds and successfully completed my first 10K race.
Here is what I didn’t do to accomplish this turn around.
- I did not go on a fad diet.
- I did not join a gym.
- I did not get hypnotized.
- I did not take a magic pill.
Instead, I decided to transform my life using the power of story. I realized that to change the story I was living I would have to become the writer of my life. Taking charge of the quill allowed me to become intentional about the things I valued most.
In order for you to understand, lets look at the first element of what makes a story great.
Character – Every great story has a compelling lead character. In the story of the life, you are living you are that lead character. If you want to change your life start with this understanding.
Step One: Take an assessment of where you are at. Write out whom you are in your perfect story. Below is an example of what mine generally looked like.
I am strong and full of energy. My body is healthy, and I am emotionally thriving. Spiritually I am connecting with God and walking strongly. I have a love for life and adventure, and there is abundant progress being made in every aspect of my personal health. I am disease free and vibrant. I look forward to tomorrow without missing the fullness of the moment.
Once you define your perfect story or, a story worth living for, you can move on to dealing with the hard truths. This is hard – you must be brave and honest.
Step Two: Write out your current reality.
I am sluggish and overweight. I lack all-day energy and the people around me are concerned for my physical health. I am stuck in a rut physically and believing that this is my new-normal. My wife notices a certain lack of confidence. She’s right. I feel ashamed.
Can you see what is happening? I have defined my perfect state of physical being and then confronted my brutal reality.
Step Three: Finish the process. Fill in the gaps between your perfect reality and your current reality. Do this with a few actionable steps that you are willing to accomplish. The best advise I ever received was from Coach Dan Harkavy, who implored me not to over do this step. Permanent life change is a marathon, not a sprint.
I never commit to more than three action steps at any one time. Why? Because when I do I end up at the diet clinic getting shots of vitamin B and eating only red meats and butter. Those kinds of changes are temporary – what I am after being permanent. So I list my three attainable and measurable action items to begin the transformation process.
- I will run at least five times a week. No excuses.
- I will eat normal portions at meal times and avoid donuts.
- I will stop believing God designed me to be lethargic. He has called me to an abundant life.
Something happens when you begin to write your own story. I know that I can do these three things successfully. I found out that my body, mind and soul was created for a life of vigor. Running has replaced donuts and eating well – only makes sense. I believe that God created me for more and I commit to doing my best – to be my best.
Anyone can begin the process of change by understanding how to write a better story. In any area of your life that you are struggling with try this easy personal growth technique, and by all means, if you want to speed up the process – call a coach.