March 11, 2021
By Allison Iantosca
Every now and again life throws you some lemons. Mine, a while ago, were in a fruit bowl on my counter at home ever ready to be squeezed into the vinegar-water-cinnamon-lemon elixir I was taking for fourteen mornings straight as part of a two-week clean eating regimen. I’d never done anything like it before and frankly, did an eye-roll (in my head) anytime anyone mentioned that they had.
Oh, and I thought it would be a piece of cake…er, slice of lemon. Wrong. Apparently, the whole psychological component to this food thing has some truth to it. Day three, there I was, a hot mess of fatigue, aches, zero energy and despair, “detoxing” from all the apparent sugar in my system. You might want to rethink inviting me into a lifeboat. My fortitude was lost and all I could focus on was everything that I did not or could not have.
I did not have wine or beer. I did not have sweets or dessert. I could not make the 3:00 PM run to Dunkin’. I was suddenly left to contend with my weakness and the (now fake) support structures that made it possible for me to sate my longings and dismiss hard core change at the risk of destabilizing my routine. Egad!
In some ways, coaching is a bit of the same thing. You are relying on being a hardworking, raising the bar type individual, who is quite good at managing around what you don’t have. This is not terrible. I mean it pushes you, distracts attention from your vulnerabilities, and, generally, maintains your hard-core work ethic because somewhere along the line the message was delivered that this model is what it takes.
But sometimes I think we forget to focus on what we DO have. Like you do have a vibrancy about you. You are paying attention to something that isn’t quite working.
And I am guessing you have some incredibly strong and powerful personality traits that have served you well in becoming the success that you are to this point in time. You engage in difficult conversations to the best of your ability, you trust in the frameworks that life has presented to you, you honor a system of values and ethics that matter greatly to how you go about your daily life. You want, more than anything, to have meaning and impact. You are courageous enough to ask for some help. You are willing to receive feedback…Wow. See? That’s a whole lot of DO’s. Did you know all that about yourself while you were so focused on your DON’Ts?
That cleanse was not an easy fourteen days for me. Brutal first week, I’m not going to lie. But I was exposed to the choices I was blindly accepting about what I ate. And with that my awareness grew of all that I already had in me that I could count on to support new choices. I learned to trust my body, to acknowledge lacking, to be intolerant of the consequences of temptation. It was an experience, from the inside out. No one could just tell it to me; I had to go through it myself. I had to learn it and feel it to own it to change it.
This is all that coaching is. The experience of deepening your DO’s. To feel them from the inside out. To clean out. To empower your best self.
Allison Iantosca is a Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) trained coach certified by ICF with extensive leadership and management experience. She is an Executive Coach and is the Owner and President of Boston based FH Perry Builder.
*Photo credit Myfanwy Owen