Saturday, April 30, 2005

Maintaining Our Values in Times of Great Change

“A client asked, “How do we maintain our values in a time of great and painful change and uncertainty? How do we maintain our values when our noble purpose is politicised and when dedicated and selfless workers get scapegoated by politicians and bureaucrats with hidden agendas?”

Fear permeates people, societies, institutions, organizations, and paralyses their potential for personal success. Truth is no longer relevant. It’s all a part of the political game, in all definitions of the term.

How does one coach a client through this? It’s a challenge at every turn. It’s paramount that the coach remains completely nonjudgmental and supportive. That’s the very least a coach can give a client going through a period such as this. A masterful coach helps the client grow through these times. Not in spite of what’s happening around him but because of it. And when a client can thrive and stretch through periods of chaos, nothing will stand in his way.

Referring back to one of the coaching proficiencies “Recognizes perfection in every situation” we delve into ways of looking at life from the perspective or belief that everything happens for a reason even if we’ll never know just what that reason is. It’s not necessarily finding the source of the reasoning behind why something is happening, it’s looking to the source….the client’s event, problem, situation, or personality/behavioural trait within their own truth and find out how it is perfect for them at that time even when it’s clearly not. It’s looking to understand and recognise the perfection of that moment and responding instead of reacting to it. It’s working with the client to see beyond that moment. How is what’s happening right now work towards creating the future of your choosing? That’s where perfection is found.

How many times did something that happened to you feel as if it were the end of the world only to turn out better than you had ever dreamed?

Years ago, when I was going through a particularly challenging time, my teacher and mentor, Jim Quinn asked me what was going on. When I shared what was happening in my life his immediate response (which still brings a huge smile and a shake of my head) was “Hot Dog! An opportunity!”

My first response was “A few less hot dogs would be appreciated about now”. However looking back at one of the darkest times of my life I realise I am exactly where I am today because it taught me the most valuable lessons. Did I want to live it when it was happening? Not on your life! Am I grateful for it now? Better believe it!

In a society where for many, values become inconvenient and manipulation might pass for power or wisdom, there is a stronger pressure to fit in, join or be tossed aside. How do we live in congruence with our values and personal ethics when it seems those around us live by the exact opposite? Well the first answer that comes to mind is, your values are your inner compass, your “true north” which will guide you and help you answer whatever life altering questions come your way. If you choose your life, you won’t react to other’s choices. Giving away your freedom of choice and ways of being is nothing more than personal slavery.

"Don't ever lose sight of how much real control you have over your own destiny" (Shaun Belding).

The answer to the question “How can we live from a basis of our own values and personal integrity in times like this?” is very simple.

We choose to do so.

Donna Karlin

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