Thoughts and such like.....
So how are you about keeping secrets? Can people trust you to keep their secrets or should they just keep quiet and pass you by when they want someone to keep confidences?
It's an interesting phenomena, that once a secret has been told, it's actually no longer a secret. We tell one person, and then they tell someone else, all the while, asking that each person told keep the secret! I have been always one to keep secrets told to me. However what puzzles me often is that I am then told by another the same secret, and wonder why I am asked to keep the information quiet! I am happy I didn't break the confidence of the people who disclosed their secret to me, but puzzled that they ask me to keep their confidence, and then told another person (or people) and still expect it to be a secret. Maybe that is why I've always held things close to my chest, and not been very good at confiding in others.
I'm interested too in what is it that makes us break confidentiality - is the excitement of knowing a secret that no one else knows, does it give us a feeling of power? Or is it the need to share and explore someone else's personality and stress (good or bad). How do you feel when someone confides in you? What is the strongest need that comes after learning a secret - is it a need to share and dissect it with others? Or is it a thought around how you can support your friend/colleague?
Since I've been coaching it has been even more important that I keep confidences and I love that my clients trust me to do so. However trust doesn't always come immediately and I must prove to my clients that they can trust me, apart from assuring them of confidentiality, trust takes time.
I have a coach(s), and attend coaching supervision. Working in supervision helps me to reflect on how I am working with my clients confidences. It helps me reflect on what is going on for me, whether some of the information I am receiving triggers reactions in me, and what those reactions can tell me about myself.
Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges for a coach is where you are hired by a company or organization to coach employees. The challenge is in developing a coaching agreement that can meet the needs of the organization, while at the same time ensuring the confidentiality of those being coached. Madeleine Homan and Linda J. Miller in their book Coaching in Organizations is a great resource for outlining expectations of information shared: www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1484801660?ie=UTF8
In my case, I look at what trends and themes can be complied to feedback to the sponsor or organization paying me to work with their employees, I ensure that both the organization and the client(s) are in agreement with these before signing off on any contract. My reputation as a coach depends on this confidentiality, and allows me to gain trust of my clients, and thus serve them better. If the task is performance coaching, I also ask that the sponsor keep me updated on performance, whether or not been it has improved and where else may I support the client in attaining the skills they need to excel. The triangle between organization, individual and coach can sometimes be hard to maintain, and certainly I, as a coach, need to be aware of the tendency to be pulled into a drama triangle (victim, rescuer and persecutor) where I try to 'rescue' my client as opposed to helping them discover the answer to their problems. Sometimes it is the feeling of being put into the situation, by the sponsor, me taking on the role of persecutor! This, for me, is where reflection and being mindful of my role and tendency to want to help my client can overcome my training as a coach. Where I must be mindful and not play the drama game, where I work with my client to create a different interpretation of the situation, one in which they can address the problem from a different angle.
There are times where we should break confidentiality, either as a coach, or friend. When someone confides in us about hurting themselves or others. Or when we are made to do so through a court of law. But these are, hopefully, not common instances. What about you? How are you about keeping secrets of friends, family or colleagues? Have you ever found yourself being pulled into the drama triangle without realizing the consequences? Or have you shared a secret only to discover that it is known to everyone? How did that affect you?
Can you keep a secret? If not, maybe it may be better to let others know that you are not good at keeping confidences, and it's better not to tell you anything that they want to keep secret!
This blog is way off the usual one, except that it is part and parcel of our lives - Love for ourselves, our families, our friends, our animals... the list goes on and on. When we read about Love it's usually around the romance with our/a partner. However the type of love I'm focusing on is that we have for our kids, and other family members, as well as the love we hold for our friends, near and far.
The topic came to mind this last weekend when my kids invited me to go with them and revisit the Island I used to take them to every Summer, so that we could create traditions and have a vacation that didn't cost an arm and a leg.
As a single parent there wasn't a lot of money for vacations and other opportunities, so I decided to find a place that worked for me and also for them, and where we could all relax and have fun. I found an Island that had a family friendly campsite that I could book annually. Now the thing about me you should know is that I hate camping, I don't like sleeping in a tent, the bugs, the dirt, not being able to shower regularly etc.. and we started when they were two and five so I had to find somewhere that I could allow them to roam, without losing them. I had never build a campfire, put up a tent on my own - that first year the beginning of the vacation was not pretty. The last time we visited was when my youngest was 18!
My kids loved going and looked forward to it each year, and we set up rituals, listening to Pooh Corner (see left window for link), and repeating the story with the reader, buying ice cream at the caravan between the islands, having hot dogs for dinner the night we arrived and ten cents for candy from the camp shop, just some of the rituals carried out year after year.
This weekend I celebrated my birthday and my boys decided to return the favour, they booked an Airbnb for a long weekend, where we could shower, enjoy the Island and yet sleep inside! I finished two books and a whole load of knitting!
This is another reminder that I did something right in bringing them up - Love is so important, doesn't matter whether you have a lot of money or none, showing up with your family in as many ways as possible, doing stuff with your kids rather than buying stuff can demonstrate in so many ways how much you love them. Being present, not only in body, but in mind and spirit. When we went on vacation, my boys would put my phone away, so that I couldn't and didn't check for messages, this was their time and my time. They recognized, even at a young age, that I needed to recharge my batteries, and so in their love for me, they insisted that I hand it over! And, I honoured them, even when they'd gone off with friends I didn't go and find the phone to catch up, just got my book, knitting and relaxed. This weekend was a blissful enactment of those vacations, without the campsite and bugs!
I also received so many birthday wishes from friends, and family, here and abroad - people I work with that I have never met in person, friends from school in another country, at another time, as well as friends I've met in my journey over the last few years. I felt loved and appreciated, accepted for who I am, important at any age!
Love means what, not ever saying you're sorry, actually it means saying sorry, but also a whole load more - it means accepting another unconditionally. I sometimes have said to my kids that I love them, but at that particular moment I didn't like them! Or rather I didn't like what they had done/said... but that it was important for them that they knew I still loved them.
So my question to you is how do you demonstrate your love for family and friends? I mean what are you doing differently, not buying, but showing in subtle, wonderful, meaningful ways how you love each individual?
Remember only you are in charge of how you live this life, isn't it better to love than not, and while there is plenty of life left in you to live, why not try loving more too!
We're inundated with the myth that we should be striving for a work/life balance, I believe we've got it wrong, we should be striving for a balanced life. Forget whether it's work, family, personal or anything else, what we're looking for is to feel good about how we manage the different parts of our lives on a day to day or week by week basis.
By striving for a work life balance, we're never going to get it right - we need to look ask the question, what works for us? 'Progress not perfection' as Marie Forleo says. Some of us love what we do, it energies us and makes us feel good - we may want more or if we do more we feel guilty at not spending more time with those we love, for others there are times when we need to spend time on work, or with our family - the trick is to be okay with that - it's not about how much time we spend in either place it's the quality of time we spend there.
According to Health Canada, there are four categories associated with balancing the different aspects of our life:
It is great that organizations are looking at holistic ways in which to support their employees, however I believe it's also up to us as individuals to look at ways we can balance our life, whether spending too much time at work, thinking about work or working on personal challenges. So although I may complain that I've had to work late the last couple of weeks, I also need to look at where my head is when I'm at work, am I really focused or do I waste time, worrying about balancing my life - too, do my family/office think I'm spending too much time on the one or the other, or is it in my head? If they do feel I'm spending too much time sometimes, what if I engage them by explaining why I have to work late, and together look at ways in which they can support me today, so that I can free up my time sooner - even work on a reward for everyone when this intense time comes to an end.
If there is no end in sight, then being responsible must mean asking the question, is this the right place for me - now some people may say, 'I don't have a choice', however there is always a choice. Keep searching for something better, maybe a lateral move might be better, if the choice is between being constantly exhausted, mentally knocked down, or moving to a similar job where the culture is different - sometimes we need to make those hard choices in order to save our sanity, and that of our family.
When it is our family that is pulling at us, then the choice may again need to be made, to take unpaid leave; to make a difficult choice of leaving a job that doesn't allow you sufficient time to spend with your family for one that may pay less but that does allow you that time. Balance is always about choices and we are all different - remember that saying 'no-one on their deathbed is going to say they wished they'd spent more time at the office'. This is your only crack at this life - make the best choices you can!
Want help, contact me and set up a free discovery call. Remember only you are in charge of how you live this life, and that there is plenty of life left in you to live!
Recently, I've been meeting with a number of older people, mainly women, all of a certain age and at first a similar outlook on the aging process - they don't like it. The conversation usually starts with me asking them how they are, and they have not been afraid to tell me! So then I ask 'what is the best thing about growing older?' It's amazing how one question can turn a conversation around!
Society has a propensity for looking at aging as something bad, I think I will start a movement to change the focus - what if we approach aging with curiosity? As something to be celebrated, and worth exploring?
What if we look at aging as a time of maturity while keeping and honouring our youthful spirit. Thomas Moore suggests that 'aging is a fulfillment of who we are, not a wearing out'. As I age, I have 'reminders that I'm getting old' with a new ache, or creak in my bones that tell me I can't quite do all the things I did ten years ago, or my stomach is revolting over something I ate yesterday, that wouldn't have bothered me before. But, what if I ask, what is my body telling me - maybe it is saying enough of this crap, time to treat me with some respect, start feeding me good food. What if my body is saying: stretch your muscles a bit before, and after you exercise - maybe I won't ache quite so much! What if we look at each decade as an exciting new adventure on this journey called life! Ever watch a cat as they age, they move more slowly, rest more but still get energized when they see a bird on the ground, they just approach the problem of catching it differently. Maybe that's an approach we need to copy, my muscles ache after that bike ride, what must I do differently next ride - stretch before, take more breaks? Don't waste time complaining about what is lost, instead use the knowledge of years and figure out how to solve the challenge! Celebrate who you have become!
(Thomas Moore - Ageless Soul www.amazon.ca/Ageless-Soul-Lifelong-Journey-Meaning/dp/1250135818/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1528328458&sr=8-3&keywords=thomas+moore)
Look at the faces of older people, really old individuals who've never done anything to try and change the way they look. Look at the wrinkles, the lines that demonstrate how much they have lived. How beautiful they are... I love looking at the faces of older people, wondering what their life was like, my curiosity has no bounds, I like to make up stories of who they are and where they've been in life, a habit that has embarrassed my children more than once as I delve into make-believe lives, out loud! Savour your age, attach stories to your wrinkles, Thomas Moore says 'sensing your old age and your youth at the same time is a signal that you're aging well'. He goes onto explain that his friend James Hillman thought age relative and that 'we have a young person and an old person deep in our make-up. You may feel the youth suddenly come to the foreground, full of energy and ideas, and then the old person may rise up, wanting more order and tradition'. He states that 'you stay young in soul by not becoming a fossil in your life'. Try new things, resist the comfort of always doing it the way you have always done it!
Today I don't mourn what I have lost, rather I'm celebrating what I have gained - time to myself, for me, I'm able to play more, and do things I haven't done before. I've discovered that getting old isn't for the wimpy, it's for those seeking adventure, who are curious, who can nap like cats, and who aren't afraid of wearing their experiences for all to see.
Go find your adventure! And, let me know how much fun it is. Remember only you are in charge of how you live this life, and that there is plenty of life left in you to live!
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog