This may come off as self-serving considering my Coaching business, but it isn’t intended to be. From my experience, nearly everyone could benefit from visiting with a therapist or working with a coach to clean up areas of their lives that are preventing progress. I’ve done both and they’ve helped tremendously.
While I wouldn’t say everyone is self-sabotaging, since that is really too harsh of a word for it, it’s more like self-governing (in the sense of an engine governor regulates the top speed of a car). What drives this behavior is complex and unique for every individual, but some commonalities exist. Being truly successful at an endeavor is scary primarily due to the fear of failure. A common self-conversation is “What if I try X and I fail? Everyone will laugh at me and view me as a failure.” Or it could run even deeper than that. The criticisms our parents put on us (comparing us to our successful siblings, the disappointment that emanated from them at not getting straight A’s, us not fitting into their mold to be a doctor or an engineer like they hoped for) is like an anchor that holds people back. Sometimes past abuses, mental (way more common that people think) or physical, have to be addressed to move forward in our relationships. I’ve known people who were locking out their spouse from key internal areas of their brain and life due to past abuses with their parents.
We often then carry these albatrosses with us wherever we go, and while we learn to manage them – we become stronger or better at ignoring this area of our psyche – they are a hindrance to life development and maximizing our success. Coaching and therapy is very different. Therapy likes to delve into the past to pick at those scabs, and to work through them. Think: that Good Will Hunting scene where Dr. Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams) finally breaks down Will (Matt Damon) with the powerful “It’s not your fault.”
That’s some pretty powerful stuff, and takes a lot of mental energy as you work through your demons, but it is cathartic. From my own experience getting into this, telling someone some of your deepest, darkest secrets from your past is like a weight being lifted and it opens up new doors in your mind that weren’t there before. Opportunities. Light. Happiness. That’s therapy.
Coaching is different. We don’t get into your demons, instead we focus on moving forward. Setting goals, pushing past roadblocks you put up, and continuing to move forward to where you want to be is my goal as a coach. Certainly current life situations impact these goals, and we try to find strategies that work in real time. And it’s not like I don’t care that your Dad didn’t love you, or your Mom drank too much, but I’m not trained in working through your past. The main issue is we as a humans are inherently lazy. Our prehistoric ancestors had brief periods of hard, intense work as they hunted or foraged for their next meals, with many periods of relaxation or low key effort. With survival aspects taken care of (food, shelter, clothing), we are predisposed to saving energy and not improving – so vegging out has become a national pastime. But most of us find we have a heart sickness when we check out, hence we want to take off that governor and see what we can become. Many people do both therapy and coaching, and find that’s a powerful combination for improving their life.
In many ways coaching and therapy are both powerful because they force you to be in the moment. To strip away your daily distractions and shine that spotlight on yourself without any armor to hide behind. We also give you our undivided attention as you essentially work out these issues with guided insight from us. Coming back to another movie for a moment. In Fight Club, the narrator becomes addicted to self-help and therapy groups since they actually listen and give their undivided attention to him. Actually having someone listen to you, even when you have to pay them, is super cathartic as well. When was the last time you just opened up to someone, verbal diarrhea of your issues you are working through, and had them not want to put the spotlight back onto them? Or when was the last time you even spent an hour in self-examination without distractions? Therapy or coaching provides this mechanism to force you to look at yourself, and that is some powerful stuff.
So if you know you aren’t maximizing your life, or want to move forward to a spot but somehow keep getting bogged down, I think it’s worth looking at one or both of these services to figure out why. Most people like to place blame on others, or circumstances beyond their control, but in reality, the roadblocks to these things are nearly always themselves.
Best of luck on your journey!