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Have you ever put other people on a pedestal, discounting your own intuition and following their advice rather than your own feelings?

Have you ever assumed that others know more than you about your own business, family, health, life? It’s easily done, isn’t it? Especially when they come with white coats and clipboards and awards and letters after their names and big numbers in their bank accounts.

 

But perhaps we place excessive amounts of faith in these people. Increasingly I’ve been having my plethora of ‘they-know-better-than-me’ balloons punctured. I blow them up with thoughts like, ‘what do I know?’ and ‘they’ll be able to help me!’ and then find the air leaking out of the balloon when I discover that they don’t exactly know either. They are always doing their best but no-one knows with certainty what is going to work for someone else. At best, others are offering educated guesses.

Billions of dollars are spent in the personal development industry every year, and a big chunk of it goes to coaches. I have no desire to criticise this industry because coaches provide a very valuable service – especially if they are skilled listeners, skilled at strategising, good sounding boards/providers of accountability – but I do want to offer an important check: I want to share with you a reminder I’ve been giving myself to not put others above me; to listen to my own judgement and intuitions and feelings rather than assuming others know better and consequently disconnecting my own inner voice.

My last blog post was about ‘shoulding’ on ourselves. I was giving the poor old ‘should’ a little acknowledgement, a little honouring, because I think we often don’t listen deeply enough to its message. I’ve finally taken action on a long-time should (tidy up my office) and the energy it is freeing up is significant. Granted, the statement feels better as a ‘could’ than a ‘should’ but just paying attention to ‘should’ and responding/taking action immediately transforms the feeling.

I reckon that our Inner Coach is pretty clued in and wise, and if we listen to her/his voice, we might not need to spend quite as much money and time chasing our tails and being confused by others’ perspectives on our business or our health or our relationships. Because ultimately we know best. We know our bodies, we know our values, we know our abilities, we know what sparks us up and what drains us. We actually do have all the answers within, if we would just listen, tune in, pay attention.

This is quite important to me because as a child I put my mother on a pretty high pedestal. She was into meditation and healing and I thought she knew everything. I literally thought that if she was on a plane, that plane wouldn’t crash. When she meditated, she had a sign on the door saying, ‘Please respect my appointment with God’, and I kind of thought that she was in there having a one-on-one with God.

Naturally I figured that any advice she had to offer would be absolutely correct and wise, and so I disconnected my own inner voice and went to her for answers. It was a late, slow and painful process to disconnect from her advice and reconnect to my intuition when, in my twenties, I finally woke up to what I had been doing.

Ever since then, I’ve been on a journey to trust myself. I teach it in my Writing Mastery course – self-trust is one of the key principles behind Overcoming Writer’s Block – and I practised this self-trust when I birthed my twin daughters at home. And now I’m learning to apply it in my business.

I’ve been around the mulberry bush several times with different coaches over the last few years. They are all well-meaning and offer great insights, perspectives and feedback, but I’ve had so many experiences now where I’ve ‘wasted time’ pursuing an angle that wasn’t aligned or productive that I’m beginning to hear the pennies dropping.

Our inner dialogue and feelings can actually be reliable. I remember attending one meeting that resulted in me signing up for a several thousand-dollar membership and feeling so sick right after I had done so, that I literally thought I was going to throw up. I decided to trust my body and withdrew my membership, and instantly felt better. What I later learnt from those who did go ahead with the membership confirmed my decision and confirmed the wisdom of my bodily response.

Other times it’s been my little ‘yes but’ voice that has provided the warning I need. When I was a young struggling mum, I would occasionally share how I felt with a trusted ‘other’ that I felt as if I was failing as a mother, and I’d always be reassured that I was doing a great job and it wasn’t easy, and that was all very nice and encouraging but I was effectively being encouraged to deny my inner voice. That inner voice was expressing doubts about what I was doing and often I really needed to listen to those doubts and change my behaviour. What I actually needed, back then, was for someone to really deeply listen and acknowledge how I was actually feeling so that I could hear the message I was trying to give myself and take appropriate action.

Likewise in business. Over the years I’ve had a stream of coaches and advisors side-stepping my nasty little confessions about myself as if they were smelly turds and rushing to remind me of principles I already knew, when actually what we ‘should’ have been doing was stopping to thoroughly investigate the ‘negative thoughts’ and delve more deeply into their messages for me.

NLP teaches that there are three ‘legs’ for success:

1) Know Your Outcome
2) Have Sensory Acuity (i.e. notice what’s going on around you and within you)
3) Have Behavioural Flexibility (i.e. if what you’re doing isn’t working, change).

It’s possible that these three steps are all we really need on the coaching journey. In the past coaches have taken me off my track because I assumed they knew better than me and I followed blindly, or because we allowed me to fritter the session away on related but not primary issues.

Perhaps all that is needed is to get very clear on our outcome, on what we want to achieve, and then to develop the skills to keep ourselves on track. A coach can certainly help with that, but we do have all the answers we need within ourselves. After all, it’s our pot of gold and our journey.

A year or so ago a prominent speaker made the throwaway comment, ‘You have everything already. Why are you here?’ He went on to persuasively sell his wares but I had been stopped in my tracks. Why was I there? Why was I, yet again, putting someone else’s advice above mine when, as the mystics have told us for aeons, the answers lie within?

I honestly have no intention of discounting coaches. I think they offer a very valuable service and several people are fulfilling this important role in my life right now. I just want to remind myself and you (if the cap fits) to trust yourself, listen within, honour your own feelings and guidance. The truth always lies at the point of balance: a combination of self and other. But use your inner knowing as the final arbiter.

Comments   

0 # Guest 2014-09-26 13:07
Great post. Could be my own thoughts on coaching - I am quick to look to others for solutions; someone said to me the other day after I was having concerns that I am not in the right job that "I know on some level" what to do. I was stopped in my tracks as this was so true. I too was just about to sign up to yet another membership deal which would answer all my questions and I missed the one-time-only deal which had bonuses etc. Lucky! As I really do know on some level how to achieve or work out my outcomes. The 3 NLP steps are perhaps all we need. But then I needed someone like you to remind me Liliane!
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0 # Guest 2014-09-26 15:13
Thanks for the comment and appreciation. :-) There are always pros and cons both ways, aren't there? But so important to not just run with the madding crowd without checking in with oneself...
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+1 # Guest 2014-09-26 17:19
Yes, this is so important. Trusting our own inner guidance. There is so much information overload out there these days through social media. We often have too much information to try and pick through and decide which way to turn, who to listen to. And just when we think we have something slightly sorted, new information comes to light to confuse us all the more. We all have intuition, gut feelings, common sense brains. Time to put them to good use. I do still love a good mentor though and someone passionate about a like-minded goal. And I do love seeking out encouraging and supportive people to bounce ideas around. At the end of the day it's all a fine balance. We search so much for validation and acceptance and praise and turn to others for our "fix". Thank you Liliane for reminding us that we don't always need someone else to fix us. I would much rather be inspired by a blog like this with "food for thought" that enables self-healing than pay endless professionals.
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0 # Guest 2014-09-27 08:22
Thank you so much. I've been wary of loading people up with my thoughts since there's such a proliferation of content out there, so it's very encouraging to receive this feedback. I'll carry on sharing! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
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0 # Guest 2014-09-27 16:57
Wow Liliane

I love your article and even though I don’t want people to completely work without a coach I really do believe that the results only come when we listen to ourselves.
Once we listen to ourselves the then right coach can be found to support that journey.
Thank you for writing that because it also helps me to be clear about how I coach and what I can offer a client to get them closer to their desired outcome.
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0 # Guest 2014-09-27 20:33
I'm glad you found the article useful, Theresa, especially being a coach! Thanks for letting me know. :-)
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0 # Guest 2014-10-03 13:05
What a brilliant article and a reminder to us all that the guru we seek lies within us. As a coach your article reminded me why I do what i do... and that is to help people uncover their guru within... in my own journey I had a brilliant coach and amazing mentors who challenged me to find the answers within. (guiding me with awesome questions) Everything has an opposite, this means every question has an answer... I found that I wasn't asking myself the right questions to get the answers that would help me... my coach and mentors helped me ask the right questions of myself.
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0 # Guest 2014-10-03 14:57
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the article. There's nothing better than a good coach or mentor or friend who can ask good, thought-provoki ng questions...
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Who is Liliane?

A writer, writing coach, teacher, speaker, editor, ghostwriter… 
I love creating worlds, both imaginary (fictional stories) and real (living consciously and deliberately)  and I love helping others to do those things too (write your books, create your reality). I also love providing safe, fun environments for learning phenomenal, empowering ideas about writing and life mastery / universal laws. To enquire or book me as a speaker, send me a line!