"What was your take-away from the weekend?" my friend Nancy asked in an email.
I met Nancy in a coaching business group, led by a wise and funny coach, teacher and author Steve Chandler. We spent the final three days of a six month program at the cool mid-century Valley Ho hotel in downtown Scottsdale. About 40 of us sat in the sun-drenched Tropicana conference room where we were treated to guest speakers; conversations in the round, and long lunches with new friends and colleagues (one lunch included the flashing news item about the false missile alert in Hawaii!). The main learning focus of this group is: how to more deeply serve our client base while running a thriving coaching business.
As in any workshop or learning intensive, people ask each other about their personal highlights:
"What stood out for you today?"
"What's your main take away?"
There are people who are able to answer such a question in one fell swoop, often with a one-liner or an idea that stands out.
I usually answer with "um . . . " because despite the notebook filled with pages of scribbles, what remains is usually a feeling: inspired, hopeful, contemplative, sometimes frustrated or confused, other times confident and bright. Words and ideas don't stick to my brain, even when I write down pithy words of wisdom as they fall from the lips of their very wise speakers. And honestly, sometimes I'm left with nothing. It's not that I'm unmoved or the day was crap, it's just that the intensity of a day filled with big ideas leaves me all a-swirl. Can you relate?
And then, sometimes there's one line or one key idea that rises to the top. It happened, on this intensive January weekend, from Saturday. We were treated to a two-hour talk by an esteemed visitor, the Ultimate Coach Steve Hardison. (Also Chandler's coach for many, many years.) Among the sparkly, impassioned stories he told, Hardison shared his morning practice, including the fact that he spends four hours preparing for a client.
After Steve and his wife, Amy left us, we sat dazed and sated in a circle, debriefing what we had witnessed. It's hard to describe what it's like being in a room and listening to Hardison talk. People pay $5k for a single two-hour coaching session, and a small fortune to work with him for a year; and while one side of my brain loudly barks, "no coaching session is worth THAT," I can now see why people pay the money they do to work with him. He's a true force--a vessel filled with light and love and energy and intensity and belief-in-everything. Your hair blows back a little just listening to him talk. Your heart sits up and rubs her eyes wondering, "What's possible for ME? Hell yeah, let's go!"
After Hardison left we debriefed. Steve Chandler answered our questions, and we had many. We were like students of a lineage: Steve Hardison who coached Steve Chandler who was now coaching us, his grasshoppers.
Here's where Steve Chandler said the line that stays with me, and it's an important one for all of us I think. He was describing Hardison's morning practice and the time he spends in contemplation, reading, exercising.
"He creates the lens through which he sees the world."
This is the line that I emailed back to Nancy as my take-away:
"I can create the lens through which I see the world."
Imagine: Every day you can decide how to see the world around you: your spouse as someone who is loving and supportive. Your work as an endeavor that matters. The world as a story unfolding in all sorts of brilliant possibilities.
You can create the lens through which you see the world.
How wild is that? I know it's not like a SHAZAM, what was brown is now gold. But it's a shift, and a way of engaging with personal thinking in a way that makes life feel better.
I'm already on board with the belief that our thoughts create our feelings and experiences; that we do have moods that, like weather, come and go and we don't have to make a story out of each passing visitation. But something about this lens. I'm smitten!
Right now I'm playing with that idea, throwing it up, imagining how I can create my lens. Can I create my lens as I swim in the morning, back and forth in a lane staring at a black line, rotating my hips and pulling my hands through the water? Could I benefit from sitting for 10 quiet minutes clearing space for my lens? (I'm not calling it meditation because I have an inconsistent relationship with that word.) Could I have my own morning ritual, or something I do during the day to create and focus and refocus my lens? (Or even just accept what I'm seeing/feeling/thinking, that this too shall pass?)
What could I experience if I owned my ability to create the lens through which I see the world?
I don't know but here's a visual:
On a damp, silver-skied Wednesday, I imagine the world around me as this big watery/airy place where everything is sort of floating around—temporal—and I can be in play with it however I want. It's like a movie where a character is floating in the air, and all objects are floating in a fantastical realm of Zero-Gs. It’s a bit woo-woo and out there, but it frees me from my own limited and stuck thinking. When my thoughts go to those “old” places (“Who do you think you’re kidding" or “It’s too hard, how do I…?”), I just move that thought away, like seaweed that’s in my way while swimming through open water, and carry on and tap into what feels good to do.
Imagine if you can manipulate your lens, like looking through binoculars and turning the knobs to focus in or out. This means I, you, anyone can decide on the lens to see the world through.
CHANGING YOUR LENS
You can create a new reality for yourself just by changing your personal thinking and your lens. For example, when you go to work with the thought/belief “This job is not right for me,” then you’re going to see all kinds of situations where the job is not right for you. So instead, see what happens if you give yourself new thoughts to take to work with you. These thoughts can be as neutral as “I have a job (it's so great to have somewhere warm to go and to pay my bills)” to “I can make a difference,” "I'm going to do my best today no matter what," and “I wonder what I can learn today?"
This doesn’t mean you have to lie or pretend. It’s just about getting more creative and giving yourself more OPPORTUNITY.
What's important is this: You create your world from the inside. It's YOU--your thinking, your lens through which you see the world that creates you experience day in day out. It's not the outside world.
So much is possible. Everything is possible! How can you create a lens that rolls down the red carpet of opportunity for you each and every day?
YOU CAN DO IT!
I'm right there with you, too.
WANT TO CREATE A LENS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND THIS SPRING?
The Crazy Good Year Group Coaching mastermind is a full-hearted adventure into creating exciting internal shifts so that this year—yes, THIS YEAR—you bring those dreams and visions to life. If you're interested or you know someone who might be, please pass along. If you have any questions I will answer all of them and even give you a taste of what to expect--no strings attached! For more deets, click HERE.