Leveraging Your Life
You have probably heard about the 90/10 rule, where 10% of our effort produces 90% of our results. This is an example of leverage — finding the fulcrum points in our lives that allow us to become dramatically more efficient in getting what we most want. Archimedes famously said "give me a long enough lever, and a place to rest it, and I shall move the world." To me, coaching is all about leverage, and about helping you get to the core dynamics of any issue or opportunity, so that you can get what you most want more efficiently.
The previous section gave a brief overview of our core needs. The picture at left shows the process we each go through in order to get our needs met. Every day, we make investments of our time, money, and energy in ways that we hope will help us meet these needs. There are countless ways we can do so. For example, some of the common ways to meet our need for connection include trying to be important, smart, or beautiful, having a marriage and children, working hard in order to gain our colleagues' respect, giving our love and affection away to others in the expectation it will be returned, or bringing out our victim stories. These different ways are called vehicles. If any vehicle meets at least three of our four physical needs, it is likely to become an addiction, which can then interfere with our desire to find fulfillment through growth and contribution.
One of the reasons why we so often rush for the victim corner and eagerly give up our personal power, is that it is a highly addictive way with which almost anyone can meet all four physical needs. When we trot out our sob stories, we get sympathy (connection) from others. No one can take our victim story away, so we are in control (certainty). We can tell an endless stream of dramatic victim stories to anyone who will listen (variety), and it makes us seem important (significance) in a socially acceptable way. Like any easy, negative addiction, it doesn't require courage, growth, or risk — and so it comes with a price — a vicious cycle of pain, powerlessness, and self-judgment. Some vehicles meet our core needs in a positive way, others in a negative way.
Now, I don't know about you, but most people I know don't go around consciously saying — "Hmm ... what vehicle will I select today to meet my need for connection in an effective, positive way?" For most of us, we either stumble in to a vehicle that becomes an unconscious addiction — and runs us rather than us running it — or we choose a vehicle according to how well it fits with our values. Where our core needs are physical and spiritual in nature, and so are outside of our direct conscious control, values are mental tools which we can consciously create.
Values are interesting things! They have two primary purposes — they provide a foundation that allows societies to function, and they help us select and invest in vehicles that meet our core needs. While our needs are emotional or spiritual in nature, our values are mental beliefs that we automatically learn from society as we grow up, and which we can then choose to re-evaluate as we become older. Just like we saw built-in paradoxical tensions between our core needs, there are built-in tensions in our values, both between the needs of society and the needs of the individual, and also between our desires to meet our conflicting core needs.
Because of this, any comprehensive values system has fundamental, irreducible conflicts built in to its core — which often erupt in to violent internal or external conflicts, without us having any idea of what the root issue is! For example, one couple I know and love recently went through some financial challenges, where they had a lot of non-liquid assets but almost no cash flow. Now, financial challenges are quite common, and they can bring a couple closer together in the spirit of a shared challenge, or drive them apart. In this case, although they loved each other dearly, this conflict was creating a lot of repressed anger and distrust between them. She wanted to sell the assets at any price, while he wasn't willing to take anything less than what he thought their fair value was, even if it risked pushing them in to bankruptcy. They shared most of the same values, including that of financial independence. Also, they were both very rational, loving people. However, they kept getting more and more upset over this issue! When they peeled back the curtain on their mutual decision making process, they found out that while they shared the same needs and values, they prioritized them differently — and this was pushing them towards civil war.
His primary needs were for variety and growth, and so he was constantly seeking excitement and challenge. Her primary needs were for certainty and connection, and so she was constantly seeking safety and stability. Because of this, he found their financial challenge to be exhilarating and even satisfying, while she felt terrified and out of control. Since neither of them understood this, they kept going round and round in circles over who was right and who was wrong. Their breakthrough came when they were able to understand the root conflict, and to see that they really wanted the same things — he also wanted certainty and financial security, and she also wanted variety and excitement — they just had prioritized their needs and values differently. Their happy ending came when they realized they both shared an even higher value — their love for each other and their marriage — and were able to leverage this mutual priority to get them from judgment to understanding, and from a seemingly win/lose situation to understanding that this could be turned in to a win/win.
Given such a situation, most people aren't so fortunate. We typically get pulled in to an escalating cycle of anger and hurt, which turns in to violence we either direct against ourselves, or against the people we love most. It never ceases to amaze me how much pain we go through over small differences in core priorities, which then get magnified in to major conflicts by the time they reach the surface. But heck, at least its not boring!
So! With that long winded explanation, we can now get to the punch line. Working with a coach who can help you apply all this stuff can give you some levers that will rock your world.
It can help you to:
Turn the greatest issues and conflicts in your life in to your greatest learning opportunities, by drilling down to the core dynamics and drivers that are your real challenges
Pull your problems up by the roots, rather than just plucking at the leaves
Become dramatically more effective in getting what you want, by creating conscious alignment between your needs, values, vehicles, and investments
Show you how to resolve many of your inner conflicts so that you can live in integrity and inner peace
Find more meaning and fulfillment in life, by helping you break old addictive patterns and replace them with patterns that meet your needs for growth and contribution
Get the most out of life!
If you would like to take the first step in this process, please feel free to take the What Do You Want exercise and email the results to me, along with a request for a half-price initial consultation. Underneath the covers, this simple and profound exercise has more than a dozen computerized dimensions to it, which we can use to jump start our coaching process together.
Another way that Core Coaching increases your Life Leverage is by helping increase your Emotional IQ.