On February 28th, the New York Times had a great article on self-compassion: “Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges.” I loved the article because it is such a good example of what coaching, specifically life coaching, is about. I work with high-achieving women. And when I see someone who is stuck, or feeling unproductive, it is almost always because she is being too hard on herself. The reality is that we are all doing so much, and at very high levels of complexity. A little support and acknowledgement can do wonders for taking away the paralyzing judgement, and liberating our productive, creative energy.
A year and a half ago my coach asked me, “What is it to be a powerful woman?” Given how long it’s taken to find the answer, I’d have to start with, “Respecting a feminine process, gestation, versus a masculine one, pulling the trigger.
- Withheld a comment or opinion because it might rock the boat, only to see a valued relationship deteriorate?
- Avoided a conversation with someone because you are simply sure that the person is: a) a jerk b) too fragile c) please fill here.
- Not communicated praise or constructive criticism, only to end up with a subordinate who knows something is wrong, but is confused and nervous.
One of my clients sent me this article, then my husband left the hard copy on my desk. I guess they know what I like!
Last Monday’s New York Times had an article entitled “When Self-Knowledge is only the Beginning” about the limits of self-awareness. I love what this article says — that knowing why you are stuck or depressed doesn’t, in an of itself, resolve the problem. This goes to the heart of coaching. Coaches assume that you need to take different action to get different outcomes.
A few weeks ago, between her birthday in early December and Christmas, my daughter had a bad couple of days. She was overstimulated with gifts, sweets, anticipation, expectation and reality. One evening after 36 hours of almost constant whining or tantrums, and repeated attempts to soothe her, I checked out. Making dinner, I decided I just needed a few minutes to regain my composure. So I cooked with earplugs in. It muffled the noise just enough so that I could think straight and make dinner.
In December I had lunch with a friend who is a professional chef who specializes in organic, fresh cooking. She suggested Kinshop in Greenwich Village. It was delicious and we had a wonderful time. A couple of weeks later, I had lunch there with my husband and while the food was delicious again, the experience lacked the transcendental quality that it had with Katy. Sorry Sean.
This morning I had coffee at a small tea salon at the corner of 73rd and Amsterdam, and I sat next to the window, facing the intersection. We just had 20+ inches of snow in New York, and the corner had two 18″ wide slippery, bumpy paths between the mounds of snow, one going West and one going South. For the hour that I sat I watched people, one after the other, helping elderly New Yorkers get across the street. Even in the midst of all the normal rushing, people helped each other. One guy even hailed a cab while the woman he was helping stood on the sidewalk, then got her settled in the cab and walked away. With him as with the others, I could see a pep in their step after their good deed. Helping someone else gives us such a sense of self-esteem.
I loved this weekend’s Modern Love article in the NYT Styles section. The author had gone to see a rabbi about wanting to meet a husband. She told him about her inability to meet Mr. Right, and the rabbi told her she was cursed. He then (for a small fee), reversed the curse.
Last month I found myself very busy with work. I also found myself distracted, unmotivated and a little blue. Finally, and thankfully, a friend of mine said, “Maybe you’re a little depressed.”