I coach clients who come to me sometimes with an unexplained sense of burden weighing down on them and they can’t seem to get their arms around what it is that is bothering them, but they know that they are having a hard time moving forward on bigger projects both professionally and personally with this weight on their insides.
Have you ever felt this way? I know I have.
After a brief conversation I usually get up and leave my office and I go to my kitchen and take out 5 kitchen garbage bags and I come back into my office and put them on the table where my client and I are sitting. The client like you right now furrows their brow and silently asks: “what are those for?”. I take each bag out of the sight of the client on the table and I ask them to get out their paper and pen. I ask them to list the for me the one area in their life where they feel the greatest burden, pain or anchor. I’ll ask you know that same question. If you are like 90% of clients they know and quickly right it down. I ask what specifically about this area of your life is really painful or bugging you? This may or may not take several more questions, but in the end they come up with 1 or two things. Next I ask: “…what would if feel like if those couple of things were out of your life….?” I further ask them to close their eyes to disconnect them from being in the room with me and to mentally go to that cleaner, freer place in the future. When you do this with someone right in front of you, you can actually watch their body loosen up and their shoulders fall and their breathing changes and maybe you will hear a long sigh. While you are still in this moment just like my client, I ask: “….that appears to be a very nice place to be in right now and to feel;……how much would you like to actually feel that?” You know the answer already. So how can you get to that feeling? I ask you and the client to both keep your eyes closed so you can stay in that place of relief…….”I could………, okay and what else?………..I could…….., okay, open your eyes.”
I bring out one of the garbage bags and I bring out a permanent marker: I push it to the other side of the table and I ask the client (and you) to write what you have just said and I ask when will you do it and to put that date on the bag. Depending on the number of things (which I do not allow to be more than 5; and that is because one item a day is probably all that a person is “willing” to do betwixt our coaching sessions), we go through this process with each bag. Even if they want to do more, I stop them. Why you may wonder? Well, sometimes the solution can then become the gating stumbling block to the person who is trying to get rid of the heaviness which they are carrying and that is not the purpose of the exercise.
Before the client goes, I have them fluff out each of the garbage bags and put them on their wrist and put them in the front seat of their car. It is a visual reminder. Here’s the thing. Each day by a certain time, I tell them to email me with a photo attached from their phone for me to see the bag full and the place where they em pitied – empty! This is really a lesson in accountability. They know I am expecting to see their completed promise. With today’s technology, holding someone accountable has never been easier!
I also love to see all 5 bags with the writing on them lined up and a camera shot emailed to me and then I really step in and support and uplift the person for completion.
You would not believe how empowering this is in getting back control of your life and cleaning up the inside of you where so much garbage has accumulated.
What do your 5 bags say?