A good friend has always had the dream of raising dogs. Whether he would do this as a full time endeavor or a hobby isn’t clear, but the experience of being involved on a daily basis with the birthing and nurturing of quality dogs has always intrigued him – for years. With a full time career and an above average income this family man with home and cars and yard work and marriage doesn’t have much time for his family dog, let alone a whole pack of young pups.
But life is meant for living and enjoying and experiencing. If my friend finds himself one day, at age 60 or 65 or 70 and still has not tried his hand at dog raising there is a very great chance that he will look back with regret and remorse.
Tom was trained as a carpenter, and he was good at it. Ran his own show and was never lacking for work as word of mouth always brought new customers. He enjoyed the freedom of being his own boss and doing work that he loved. A look into the future gave Tom a reality check that his chosen profession was not the best choice for his future career. First there was the physical side. What his young 20 something body could handle his 30 something body was starting to feel. Then the freedom. Every day he took off from work was a day without pay. He recognized and accepted his lack of desire and ability to manage employees, he just did not fit into his paradigm of enjoyable work.
So —– in his early 30’s he made a switch, learned finance, followed his love of cars and now, in his 50s he is well established as the finance manager of a successful auto dealer, a career from which can retire or work for many more years. He has found time for many of his hobbies and his growing family.
John was not so visionary in his profession. A well respected and skilled painter and wall paper installer, John hired employees on a regular basis but his skill and speed at paper hanging always called for hands on work. His solid income, good reputation and enjoyment of his work caused him to never stop and consider the future. After his second knee operation and constant neck pain from the demands of the job he realized he could no longer continue his chosen profession.
Waiting until his 50’s when his body was giving out made his transition much more difficult. The need to return to school was not easy and the course work was incredibly difficult.
A strategy to prepare for the future which recognizes a person’s desires, dreams and physical realities becomes the plan to assure a fulfilled life of satisfaction and happiness rather than regret and remorse.
Things We Control #2
2) Your Relationships. Humans are relational beings. The human heart craves connection. Why else would solitary confinement be such a cruel punishment or the unheld orphan lack basic mental and physical development. The strong independent person still needs a hug, a pat on the back, a warm handshake and an encouraging smile.
Without human contact we lack a sounding board for our thoughts and feelings, feedback to hone our appearance and personality, and comparisons to regulate our self esteem and confidence. But with human contact we encounter the toxicity of others, the lack of boundaries into our personal space and the cruelness of the human heart.
Our ability to control our relationships is one of the three primary controls we have in life. While we can’t pick our relatives we can control their effect on our lives. It is under our control to set up boundaries, choose friends and regulate the purpose and depth of any relationship.
Determining whether a co-worker becomes a personal friend or if ending a business relationship in order to save a friendship is something each of us must decide. Remaining in a relationship that pulls you down and stifles your growth is a choice, a choice that can be changed. Deciding who will enter into your circle of relationships and how far that relationship will go is under your control. Knowing this and exercising your control gives you the freedom venture into unknown territory, to ‘take a chance’ through opportunities to meet new friends and experience new interactions. When you fully accept that it is up to you and under your control you no longer have to hesitate or avoid uncomfortable situations because the discomfort is under your influence. You have decided to be where your presence is needed, and then you decide when it is time to exit. You decide when to say yes and when to say no. But with this understanding of your power to decide and to control comes the responsibility to consider the feelings of others. With compassion and concern, firmness and decisiveness, you can be a strong blessing to those you love and care about. Your confidence is growing and your self esteem is rising.
There are Only 3 Things I can Control
Three things. When you boil it all down there are really only 3 things that each of us controls in life. And that’s only true if you live in the privileged and affluent parts of our world. For some it is only two or one.
Like the primary colors of red, blue and yellow combine to make the whole rainbow it is these primary factors alone that we have the ability to control. All else is a combination of the three.
Your Emotions. To feel is to be human. When a person is unable to feel sorrow, joy or fear there is often a psychological blockage that needs to be worked through. Avoiding situations that touch us in a deep way – like the death of a loved one, the thrill of an adventure or the risk of reaching out in friendship – can limit the depth that we as humans are able to experience life in its fullest.
Controlling our emotions is not about controlling our feelings. It is a matter of controlling how we respond and react to any given situation.
Between action and reaction, cause and effect, there is a moment of time for the human species in which only thought exists. Animals don’t share this opportunity. Their reactions are instinctive, they respond. But for a human, how we respond to a stimuli is always preceded by an opportunity to consider what our response will be.
Do I lash out with angry words when I am cut off in traffic, or consider the possibilities of what the other person may be facing. When the fire alarm goes off do I run for the door or look around and offer assistance. When an offer for intimacy comes do I consider all the repercussions before replying.
It is in that millisecond of time when I insert thought and logic that I become fully aware and fully in control.
Why I Coach Men
Because we need it. We don’t think we do, of course not. We were taught to be strong, self sufficient and independent. Suck it up, quit crying, get back up on the horse, you can do it. For some of us those words were spoken in an encouraging tone, for others the tone was harsh, condescending and frightening. And so we sucked it up, quit crying and got back up on the horse. We learned to hide our failures and shortcomings, denying them to others as well as ourselves. Some of us learned to be little men before we had a chance to be boys. Many of us are men who haven’t left the little boy behind yet.
Coaching isn’t about psychology, therapy or an intense exorcism of our past. We are where we are right now because of a myriad of factors. What we do going forward and how we do it is what counts the most right now. Our past will always play a role in those decisions, but will it be a positive influence or a negative anchor? Will our past give us clarity or confusion, will it guide us or control us?
Coaching is another pair of eyes on our life. Have you ever been given the advice to “have someone take another look at it”, “Look it over again in the morning with new eyes” or “See what the others think about this.” Too often our own perception and perspective inhibits our view of the answers we need. It takes another set of eyes to help us uncover the truths we seek, the places our life has gotten off track or out of balance.
As your coach, I journey with you helping to formulate the plans and design the strategies to get things back on the path that leads to your goals and re balance the life you were meant to live. I am your cheerleader, encourager and sometimes offer a gentle kick in the pants.
What is unfortunate and makes little sense is that the stars of our day recognize the need for coaches and readily enlist their services. Top athletes and corporate giants have performance coaches and consultants around them always. But regular guys, whose dreams, goals and needs are just as important and often more so, wait till things are falling apart before seeking help. Coaching is about making bad things good and good things better and better things great!
Mature men recognize that the western male mystic of strong independence is a hoax and that as men we do better and enjoy life more with friends, coaches and companions.
Why do I coach men? Because I know how my life is made richer by the friends I have and coaches I use. I coach men because my passion is to help other men find their passion, find their balance and become the leaders they were created to be. Men who lead their personal lives responsibly, their family life lovingly and their work life ethically.
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