I’ve always been quite a practical person – able to fix a blown fuse or repair a piece of broken china, or organise a kitchen to work well for the cook. And when I think about it, this actually pervades my approach to personal and professional change and stress transformation. As soon as I started specialising in stress and resilience for instance, I was madly creating tools and strategies to help solve my clients’ most common dilemmas (that’s how the Online Resilience Series was born).
But I’m going to be honest with you, sometimes the practical tools are not quite enough to get your week truly under control. The tools themselves work just fine, but the fly in the ointment is often what’s going on inside us.
For instance –
- You’re prioritising your to-do’s each morning but get eternally distracted by other demands on your time or keep giving yourself even more to do.
- You’re getting more of the right things done but you’re also feeling a bit edgy/uncomfortable as soon as things start to go better. Sounds counter-intuitive but this really happens for people! We can fear success.
- You have some of my state management tools but sometimes your stress is coming so thick and fast you can’t stay on top of it.
The thing is, the tools and new habits are essentially actions you’re taking at a conscious level of the self (a bit like re-organising the desktop of your computer to make it cleaner, tidier, more efficient). Meanwhile, there can be a bunch of software running down on the hard-drive (the unconscious level of the self) that’s not really in sync with the new actions.
Here’s what I mean…
If your sense of worth as a person is tied up with how much you get done and how busy you look, it can be hard to do less and be more strategic about your actions at a practical level.
If you don’t like appearing to be too successful or feel uncomfortable with a certain level of fame or wealth, then you can be quietly, inadvertently sabotaging your best efforts just to keep a lid on things. And boy can this be flying well under the radar of our awareness!
If you’re flicking into the stress response more easily and often and are finding it hard to get back out of it, it’s often because the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (a key part of our inner software) is stuck at a certain set-point. Re-setting this becomes a priority so that you can feel calmer and more clear-headed as a default again.
All of these scenarios are typical of the things I work on with people in coaching. We get to the heart of what has them stuck and then make shifts at that deeper level – and often with more ease than they were expecting.
Shifting stuck stress responses is often one of the first things we do, because when your whole system can be in a calmer state, putting any tools in place is MUCH easier and more effective.
Yes, there is absolutely a place for the practical tools and strategies, but there is a whole other world available to you when you start working at the unconscious level too.
Get in touch if you’d like to up-level in a whole new way and finally make these changes in an even more solid way. I offer a free, no obligation discovery call to talk about how coaching might be a fit for you and what you’d like to have different in your life.