I remember my first coaching session. It was with a guy called Bobby. I was nervous, excited and curious about how on earth some guy in the USA was going to ‘fix me’ through a phone call.

Part of me couldn’t get my head around how it was going to work. I had an expectation that the coaching program I’d signed up for would change everything and help me learn the skills I needed to make sure I didn’t fail again in life. He was going to give me loads of systems to run my business and everything would be rosy … that’s what I signed up for … wasn’t it?

On our first call, we had a bit of back and forth building rapport and then he started asking questions.

After a few minutes of him patiently listening to all my stories about why things hadn’t worked out for me (I was a professional victim who blamed everyone apart from myself when things didn’t work out as I planned), he went silent for a few seconds and then said:

“Sometimes, people often feel they have to meet expectations of their Father when chasing success … it can be quite common.”

I started to break out into a cold sweat and stammered:

“Oh …not me, that’s nothing like my situation.”

Meanwhile, my inner chimp was chattering saying:

“Who the hell is this guy and how dare he make such assumptions about me and my life? He doesn’t even know me! He’s hit the nail on the head! How did he know? I didn’t even know …”

And, that’s how my love affair with coaching began.

In that one moment, I had a realisation how one sentence can move someone in such a way they find a part of themselves they’d buried that, once discovered, could be the catalyst for transformation.

In that one moment, I saw my actions and drivers from a different perspective. It opened me up to realise that I didn’t have to be that guy trying to gain approval from others in order to feel worthy.

That one sentence gave me an insight that had the potential to change my life, forever.

That was the insight but it was what I did with that insight that made a difference.

My coach didn’t take any action, I chose to polish that mined piece of coal into a shiny diamond.

That’s what you do with insights, you take them and get into motion. Otherwise, they stay like lumps of coal. Pieces of coal have a certain value but are worthless compared to a bright, shiny diamond.

That one insight inspired me to discover where else in my life I was seeking the approval of others and it was EVERYWHERE.

Like an all-encompassing octopus with tentacles threaded throughout my life.

It took a while to release the grip of those tentacles and it was scary and painful to remove them (or so I ‘thought’).

At times, I still find a few clinging on for dear life but now I know what to do with them. I see how they’re keeping me stuck from being my authentic self — the person I want to be in the world.

That one insight, when applied through action, changed everything.

That’s what can happen when you have a powerful insight. If you slow down and see how it applies to you as a person, on the inside.

Now it happens when I coach people and it feels great to make a difference in someone’s life.

The ‘Yes Man’

I once worked with a client who used to say ‘yes’ to everything. He was the ‘go to’ guy for all his friends, family and customers. Whenever they needed something he would say ‘yes’.

Always helping, people-pleasing, and putting himself last to his own detriment.

Often, he would let people take advantage of him. Costing him time, money, energy, and spirit.

He would come into our coaching calls bemoaning about the latest drama in his life. I would ask him why he thought the latest bit of ‘bad luck’ he’d had happened.

He would reply; “that’s just me and my life, I’m one of those guys, good things never happen to me.”

I’d ask; “would you be open to an idea?”

“Yes, I’ll try anything, but it won’t work, I attract s*** in my life, it’s the way it’s always been. That’s just me.” He’d say, convinced that was ‘the way he was’.

“I can see you believe that. However, what if you did an experiment, just for a week or so, where you said ‘no’ whenever someone asked you to do something you didn’t really want to do. Could you give that a try?”

“No way, people rely on me. I always help others.”

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

“It would be hard, really hard, especially with my wife. You have no idea what she’s like. And, my main customer is always asking for more, more, more. I can’t say no.”

“Okay, maybe a week is a bit much, I can see that, how about tomorrow. Just for a day. Would you be willing to put on the white lab coat and give it a try?”

“Maybe …”

Fast forward … after the trial of saying ‘no’ for a day, my client had an insight.

Nothing ‘bad’ happened when he said no.

With each ‘no’ he retained energy to give a bigger ‘YES’ to things that served him.

His life improved in all areas.

More time and space to get his physical health back on track … more time to spend with people he cared about … more time to cultivate relationships with clients that he loved to work with who respected and appreciated him (vs. customers who would take advantage of his aversion to the word no).

He grew into reclaiming his power and started to empower all areas of his life.

All from one single insight he had after doing an experiment for one day of saying ‘no’ to things he didn’t want to do.

That’s the compound interest coaching can have if you back up insights with action. It can permeate throughout your whole life if you let it in.

There’s only one person directing the movie of your life and if you wake up to the reality of those insights, backed up by consistent action and practice, it can be priceless.

That insight I had on my coaching call came when I was in my early 30’s, almost a decade ago. Let’s say I live until my 80’s … that’s 50 YEARS of difference that insight would have made to my life and the lives of those around me.

Think about that for a moment. One insight can have a 50+ year impact on your life if you really let it into your soul and take action by leaning into any perceived fears you have of changing.

That one insight helped me change my way of ‘being’. The way in which I saw myself and showed up in the world. It helped me grow as a leader, businessman, coach, husband, father, son, brother, friend — as a human.

That’s the compound interest of coaching. Priceless.

This is what I refer to as ‘inside-out’ transformation.

From the outside looking in it can appear that nothing has changed but, from the inside looking out, the whole world looks and feels like a different place. Like someone has suddenly turned the lights on.

What’s an insight you have recently had that, if you really took it in and got into motion, could change everything in your life?

Love and wellness,

David.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
― Sir Edmund Hillary