I just finished reading the book Poser by Claire Dederer. I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, who emailed me not once, but twice urging me to read it. I was going to ignore the first email, but when the second one came I decided I had better check it out! (Thanks Stacy!)
Toward the end of the book Dederer references a teaching by one of her yoga gurus Katharine Seidel about yoga being a counterbalance for how she lives her life outside of class. I liked the idea and thought that much of my life has been moving towards and striving for balance, with maybe a bit of striving for perfection; not a desire for societal perfection, but to be my version of what perfect would be at the time.
In this striving I used my ideal image of myself as the counterbalance to where I was and the motivation to keep moving toward the ideal. This worked for a while, but eventually I exhausted the boundaries of my internal story. At this point, I got stuck, my energy stagnated and I lived in a low level frustration or trigger. This pattern has occurred multiple times in my life. Each time I found a way to get unstuck and keep moving forward thanks to some amazing teachers, friends, mentors and coaches. I found that unless I explore myself objectively through external feedback I really have no sense of balance except that in my own mind which is not objective.
As I stated above, friends are also amazing sources of objective feedback, if we can listen. Recently, on Mother’s Day, I was camping in the mountains with friends. In service of maintaining balance and staying present with our kids, three of us decided to go for a run together. Upon our return, children and adults in various stages of milling around the morning campfire, asked about the run, which I commented “it kicked my ass”, which is partially true. To which my dear and very insightful running partner said that I just did not know what my limits were and that I reserved part of myself in case I needed any energy for something later in the day, week, or year. She told me that I did not know my own capacity because I never let myself stretch beyond the physical boundaries of what I think I can do.
Whoa! That certainly was concise external feedback. I trust her and it resonated with me. In the past I would have probably gotten defensive or triggered using my history to make the case that I pushed myself as I have done many crazy, burly, adventurous physical feats but she was right, I never called upon my maximum within this realm.
Immediately upon the recognition that I did hold myself back I started scanning for all the other ways that I kept myself from giving my all. I noticed that this pattern exists everywhere in my life. And I knew to find my edge I was going to need help and support.
To me this is the beauty of coaching, whether it is with a friend, mentor, family member or actual coach. Being with someone when they see you, you who has a tendency to underestimate yourself, and they can see how you are holding yourself back and offer feedback to help you grow. For me coaching is counterbalance. It helps me move beyond the walls I create for myself and see me different, new, growing.
If you would like to discover your full capacity and expand into areas you never thought possible. Invite perspective, the world needs all of you, be the inspiration!
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