There is a growing frustration with the pitiful condition of your body, so much so that you finally decide to do something about it. With great enthusiasm you take the gym tour and sign up. Along with membership comes three free personal training sessions and maybe a massage or two. This is great and your new life begins. Early morning before work seems to be the best time based on your schedule: 6:30 a.m., on the treadmill for 30 minutes, another half hour on the weights and then a steam and a shower. What a great way to start the day.
You feel amazing, never better! You see the pounds melting away and your muscles firming up. You hear compliments from your family and friends: “You look better then ever, have you been working out?”
Then it slowly begins. You stay out late one night and your 6 a.m. wake-up feels like it’s three in the morning. You decide to sleep in and miss the gym. “Hey, it’s only one day, I’ve been doing so well, and I deserve it.”
A few days later, you hear the rain pounding on the roof and the howling winds. There is no way you are going out in this weather, and so it goes. The excuses grow and your enthusiasm wanes. Eventually the gym becomes a distant and annoying memory.
Hiring a business coach is a lot like joining the gym. I have coached dozens of great people with an amazing amount of enthusiasm about changing their business and their lives. We begin the coaching process by working diligently on examining what is needed to grow the organization. Exciting and lofty goals are set. A Strategic Vision is talked about. If you could have the business of your dreams, what would it look like in five years?
Then, just like the gym, something happens. Thoughts creep into your head that are confusing. It is an anxiety that grows when the present day reality is compared with these seemingly out of reach goals.
To illustrate this point, imagine a rubber band stretched around your two hands as you hold them out in front of you. Your left hand represents today, your current reality. Your right hand represents your goals, your dream business.
What happens when you pull your right hand away from your left? Actually two things occur. The first is that your goals become loftier and grander; the other is that the tension on the rubber band increases. As you hands spread apart, you are striving for greater achievement, but there is increased resistance from the rubber band. We call this resistance tension, but can we also call it stress?
It is natural to think that this tension is anxiety or stress. Obviously something we want to avoid. But what would happen if we analyzed this emotion differently? What if we tried to put a positive spin on this uncomfortable feeling?
Let’s go back to the gym for a moment. How do we put a positive spin on something that is painful and sore to our bodies? I have always looked at weightlifting as a place where failure is a positive. We push as much weight as we can until we can lift no more. In weightlifting this is known as “going to failure.” But in the gym, failure is good. When we can’t push one more rep out, something physiological occurs, our muscles grow. There is no greater feeling when you become aware of this phenomenon while you are struggling with the weights.
We need to find a way to change our behavior if we want to make any improvements in our lives. The only way to do this is to examine what causes us to self-destruct. Why do we have good intentions but fail at the execution and follow-through? Is it because we label any tense feelings as negative and seek avoidance?
Tension often leads to feelings or emotions associated with anxiety, such as sadness, discouragement, hopelessness or worry. These negative emotions do not need to overcome our dreams and goals. Here is where we need to be careful not to confuse our reactions with these emotions.
We may feel deeply discouraged that our goal is not happening and we might lower our vision. The feelings that we dislike go away because the tension was reduced. Our goals are now much closer to our current reality; the only price we pay is abandoning what we truly want: Reaching our original goals.
Business coaching is effective because you are working with someone who keeps you focused on your goals, offers advice, encouragement and a plan to follow. But this takes a strong desire on the part of those being coached for behavioral changes.
IT’S UP TO YOU
Just like going to the gym, optimal health requires behavioral changes. You start off with the best of intentions, eventually the goals seem unachievable and you experience that uneasy feeling or tension associated with pursuing an unattainable goal, so you quit.
Challenge these negative emotions, recognize that there are different types of stress and not all of them are bad. Do you get butterflies in your stomach before you speak in public? Does this make you afraid or do you channel these feelings into your toolkit as a positive ally?
Success depends on what goes on between your own two ears. A business coach is someone who can help you remember this and make sure you stay on track.
What would happen if you could free your mind and imagine the business you dream about? What would happen if you could actually make it a reality?
All great athletes and successful business leaders believe in coaching. But it is up to you to decide what you do when you get knocked down. Are you willing to get back up and persevere?
Only 10 percent of us are willing to do what it takes to succeed. Are you willing to push up that last rep at the gym? Are you willing to look on the bright side and do what it takes to reach your goals?
Neil Gordon is the founder of The WCU Online and The Designer’s Coach. He also owns Decorating with Fabric, a window coverings business and workroom in New York. Gordon is the national director of design for Exciting Windows! and serves on the board of directors for the Interior Design Society. He can be reached at: email@example.com; www.thedesignerscoach.com; www.thewcu.com; www.decoratingwithfabric.com