December 13, 2023
By Allison Iantosca, ACC
Change. Is it really possible? For a person to change?
The answer is yes…and no. No, not if they don’t want to. Not if they are so locked into a preserving mindset that anything that nibbles at its corners is too much of a threat. No, definitely no, if you’re trying to change someone else (but you already knew that).
And also, YES. Maybe not “a person,” but you. You can change. Not 180 degrees, overnight, magic change. But yes, to gradual change. The kind you don’t necessarily notice day-to-day, like a toddler growing into a child. One day you catch yourself out of the corner of your eye and think, “Wow, you have grown a lot since the last time I saw you.”
It’s late in the day to begin a blog post. Even though I planned it out this way. The whole day up to now actually, carefully crafting a schedule to fit in exercise, proposal writing, email responding, a Zoom coaching session, lunch with a colleague, a grocery delivery…even reading an article that has been perched on the corner of my desk for over a month now. A notion that I would get to a sense of completeness whole enough that, after all of that, I would then be ready to write a few thoughts down. With pithy wit. Inspired temptation. Ready for primetime.
I sit here at a Formica topped table, huddled up against the one wall with an outlet, inside the only heated area at a hockey rink forty-five minutes south of where I live. A kid occupied and an hour and a half of devoted screen time at the ready. And my brain is melting. Telling me to use this time wisely. The abstract conditioning insists I can operate vibrantly at any time of day I choose, anywhere, and fatigue is only an unabashed attack on my lack of mental fortitude.
How very familiar this sensation is.
So yes, I am tired. And I might even stop trying to write this piece soon. But truth be told, writing is such a lovely and creative respite that often, in fact, enlivens me. I love playing with words. The detail in scene-setting a playful challenge.
And more truth, that earlier paragraph needs some annotation lest it illustrates its own dishonesty. The exercise was a walk with my dog around 8:30 this morning. The proposal, creative expression to represent myself to a new client. The Zoom session a swap with a dear friend who offers to spend ninety minutes “practicing our coaching” every six weeks or so. Lunch another friend. We used to work together; now we just needed a catch up. The article, the transcription of an inspirational speech. The grocery delivery, a gift of time.
It still feels like a lot. But there is a significance to the change – me in the earlier paragraph to the me in the latter. An attention to the choices I make in how I spend my time. An allowance to not just do what is hard but also what I love. An adjustment to how I feed and nurture and care for my body and my mind. A prioritization of self over the insatiable demand of other.
Because here’s the thing, as much as we were born into these genes and this body, we were born into this personality. In the years since our youth, we layered in societal programming and habits that, at least originally, helped us survive or thrive. Habits that are so regular and normal we hardly question their worth or value. Habits that are so centering and so useful we believe that everyone must have the same ones!
But slip into slow motion awareness development (also known as coaching) and you may see these habits no longer help you like they used to.
It’s not that I flipped a switch; my tendency to overdo is still a vicious determiner of accomplishment some days. But it has been unveiled. Which gives me a choice—something to opt into or out of.
For that, I think I have written what I can for now. What feels fun. I’m going to shut the laptop down and go read the paperback novel I also threw in my bag tonight.
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 President, CEO and Partner of Boston based FH Perry Builder.
Photo Credit: Chris Lawton, Unsplash