Coach’s Challenge for 8/24/09

Good day, team,

Many people seek me out as a coach because they’re not sure what they want to do in life or they’ve been doing something (usually it’s their job) that they don’t enjoy any longer.  Most people want to be able to do what they love. But often, they have no idea what that something else is, and so they hire a coach to help them discover their new path.

This week’s challenge comes from the article “What is Work? Finding your Path by Laying the Bricks” by Sharon Glassman. The article traces the steps by which the writer’s naturopathic physician discovered her chosen profession. It also describes how, while in naturopathic school, this woman became a bricklayer to pay for her schooling.  Though she had grown up wanting to be a doctor, she found over time that naturopathy was a much better fit with her values and experience. She also learned some invaluable lessons while working as a bricklayer that influenced her path as a doctor.

Most notable for me in the article was an exercise she has all of her patients do when they tell her they feel stuck in their lives:

–Write a list of how you nourish yourself: mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

–Most people have an area that’s underfed. Balance the system, and new ideas will emerge.

I gave her suggestion a lot of thought this week and realized that almost all of us are a bit askew in one or all of these areas most of the time. That is, we have to make an effort to keep them continually fed and well-balanced.

In my case, I used to meditate regularly. In the past year or so, that practice has slipped away, not because I haven’t had the time (in fact, I’ve had more time to meditate daily since I haven’t been traveling as much for work), but because, well, I don’t know exactly why, I just stopped making it a priority. So the other day I decided to start meditating again in the mornings. Already, after just a few days, I feel remarkably better: more balanced, calmer, less agitated by bothersome trivia.

Successfully adding a meditation practice back into my daily schedule encouraged me, so I decided to make a list as the doctor had suggested. I was surprised to find that the areas I thought were getting plenty of attention were actually lacking, and vice versa. My mental life gets loads of attention, and my emotional life gets a good amount too, although I need to be more cognizant of how it gets fed. But my spiritual life is somewhat lacking at the moment.

Your challenge this week is to try the naturopath’s exercise. Write down how you nourish yourself in these three areas. See if one area gets too much of your time and attention. Create a better balance by putting your energy into the areas that you’ve been ignoring or that have become stale.

See what happens when you achieve a better balance. Perhaps, as the author suggests, new ideas will emerge. Maybe your head and heart will gain more clairity about a troubling situation, or you’ll find some new inspiration by changing your weekly spiritual practice.

We may experience some uncertainty about how to live our lives in a more fulfilling way, but as the author notes, “This idea applies to the work of work itself. Some days we’re laying the bricks. Some days we’re walking on them, en route to our next step. What is it?  We may not know that…yet. But that’s okay.”

Have a good week,

Kathleen

Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

P.S.: The coach will be on vacation next week. I’ll be back to write a challenge for Labor Day.

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