Feelings and beliefs are a big push and pull in our lives. Often we have beliefs how x will make us feel—sometimes they are accurate, other times not. Additionally, sometimes we should have expectations about how x is likely to make us feel, and we don’t—or, we have those expectations, but ignore them. There are always unknowns, embracing uncertainty, and taking calculated risks are part of life. At the same time, being attuned to reality and consciously choosing what pushes and pulls you is important for getting the most of what you want out of your life without getting lost or stuck places where you don’t want to be.
We might not always be aware of it, but our expectations (belief/assumption) of what will make us feel a certain way can significantly affect what we seek and what we avoid. Sometimes our expectations of how something will affect our feelings is accurate; other times our expectations are not accurate. Having inaccurate expectations of how something will make us feel might simply mean over- or underestimating the intensity of the feeling we think we will have. For example, there has been a time when you’ve dreaded something you’ve had to do, and, afterwards, it felt as negative or uncomfortable as expected. However, there have also been times when you’ve dreaded something you’ve had to do, but you realize afterwards that it didn’t make you feel as uncomfortable or negative as you expected. These beliefs about how x will make us feel can determine much of our behavior, and sometimes they aren’t even accurate.
By the same token, sometimes, based on experience, we know how something will likely make us feel—our beliefs and expectations are accurate—but we ignore what we know and do the opposite of the “logical” action which would either increase our positive feelings or decrease our negative feelings. For example, you might realize you have patterns of going into the same kind of relationship when all the other similar types of relationships you have entertained have had the same, unwanted outcome that results in pain. Or maybe you know that saying, “Yes” to working those extra, unnecessary hours will leave you feeling physically ragged and bring extra stress, but you choose to work them anyways.
Ultimately, we need to be aware of the expectations we have of going different directions and check their accuracy. Similarly, when we make decisions and go different directions, we need to be aware of potential likely outcomes—based on reality, not our belief system. There is no way of predicting the future or absolutely knowing how something will affect us. However, it is critical that we are aware of our expectations and choices, checking the accuracy of our expectations, considering likely outcomes, and making purposeful decisions based on what we know is accurate. Life is too precious to have your choices be swayed by inaccurate perceptions or have your path unfold by walking blindly.
There are a few important factors to consider when you’re thinking about starting to work with a life coach, aside from the obvious one: can my coach help me with the goal I want to pursue? Here are five questions to ask yourself before starting with a life coach.
2. Do I have the time?
Life coaching takes time and requires consistency. Only start life coaching when you have the time for it. If you don’t have at least two hours every other week for life coaching, talk with a life coach about how can make time in your schedule, see if your schedule will be “winding down” any time soon and wait until then, or look at taking a something off your plate. Changing and growth require consistent attention and effort, which also means you need to put in the time.
3. Am I willing to make a commitment?
Not only does life coaching require time, it also requires a commitment. Whether the commitment is for a few meetings or the commitment is several months for deep coaching, you need to be willing to stick with what you start.
4. Do I have a coach who respects me and with whom I think I can develop a healthy working relationship?
After an initial coaching session, you will hopefully have an idea of who your coach is, whether you felt your coach respected you, and if you will be able to communicate openly with your coach and work together. Do not feel pressured to continue with a coach after an initial session if you don’t think your coach can help you or if you don’t like the coach. The coaching relationship is the gatekeeper of the value in life coaching.
5. What structure works for me?
There are many different ways coaches offer services: over the phone, in-person, Skype, etc. Some coaches have very flexible schedules; others might not coach in the evening or certain times of day. Different coaches also have different payment structures. It is important to find a coach whose times, method of coaching (in-person, phone, etc), and fees work for you. If you have any special concerns, such as privacy, flexibility of scheduling, or concerns about payment, it is important to address these with your coach before starting coaching so you are both on the same page and have the same expectations.
Research suggests that after perusing Facebook, people experience a decrease in mood. After all, most people post the highlights of their life and their best selfies on Facebook, not the worst parts of their day or the picture that gets permanently deleted. It’s a natural tendency to compare ourselves to each other; scrolling down your newsfeed and seeing the best parts of everyone else’s life can easily leave you asking “What about my life? I’m not doing x, y, or z that so-and-so and such-and-such is. What do I have?” So, how do you make Facebook a more positive experience?
Facebook can be a positive experience, but there are guidelines to make sure you benefit from it:
I have a challenge for you. I would like for the Facebook page for Paragon Life Coaching to be flooded with positives from people’s days. I want it to be an opportunity for each individual to focus on the positives in his or her life that day, whether it seems big or small. The point of this “exercise” is not to judge whatever the positive is as “big” or “little,” but to recognize the glass as half full more.
As I have written my own personal “positives” on the Facebook page for Paragon Life Coaching, I can tell you that it actually takes courage: you are sharing something with potentially *everyone.* Additionally, what is an accomplishment for you that you genuinely feel good about, such as buying back-up toilet paper, being assertive with your significant other, making the doctor appointment you’ve been putting off, washing your car, smoking 3 cigarettes instead of 5, playing with your dog, parallel parking perfectly, going out of your comfort zone and trying a new kind of food, the cup of coffee you enjoyed, holding the door open for someone, exercising—whatever it is--might seem like it’s not worth posting—BUT IT IS! These positives are not to be judged and they are not points of comparison for others; posting these things is about recognizing and celebrating the things in your life that make you feel good, regardless of how big or little they seem. If you want to be happier, you must remember that happiness is not about what happens to you or what you have--how big or little everything is, happiness is about how you see. I hope you accept this challenge and share the feel-goods in your day on the timeline on Paragon Life Coaching's Facebook page!
What is positive psychology?
Positive psychology focuses on strengths and flourishing. It is about taking the average life experience and making it better, making it extraordinary.
Why positive psychology for coaching?
The majority of people get through life, despite ups and downs. There are plenty of people functioning fine, not experiencing noteworthy distress, but who are not really taking full advantage of what life has to offer. They are getting through their days, are lost in their days, subject to a routine they ended up in, not aware of how to relish the time they have, or whatever the case is. These people likely have fun, have relationships, and enjoy things, but it is not what it could be. It is not exceptional. Positive psychology is about taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.
If positive psychology is about fulfillment, maximizing potential, and life satisfaction, and life coaching is for improving yourself and your life, they are a perfect match! Aside from the shared ideas and purposes of positive psychology and coaching, positive psychology uses research. This means that there is scientific evidence showing the effectiveness of strategies, which is very important if you are hiring a life coach and want your coach to be working with you in ways that are effective and yield change. Positive psychology also has a host of research to improve the nature and effectiveness of the actual coaching relationship, too. Lastly, positive psychology complements other approaches to life coaching. It works well in conjunction with a cognitive-behavioral approach, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and neuroscience.
What are some basic ideas of positive psychology?
Positive psychology focuses on what makes individuals and communities thrive; it explores the virtues and psychological traits that lead to flourishing. Positive psychology assumes that people want to leave meaningful lives. The Character Strengths and Virtues book, developed by Seligman and Peterson, identifies the six core virtues of people: wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence. When developed, these contribute to leading a fulfilling and meaningful life. Additionally, positive psychology evaluates the role of negatives in our lives, and how we can best respond to them to maximize our potential and not let them interfere with our growth or life experience. Grit, a trendy topic during the past few years, comes from the field of positive psychology.