At the last weekend of our program, one of our participants was unable to pay. This led to an entire morning of discussion. Many people said that it really triggered them. Most of us cannot just write a check for so much money without making sacrifices and choices, but we all did. Also, money symbolizes our hard work and our time, so seeing someone that didn’t have it can be extremely triggering. One person had the sense to ask what breakthroughs are possible around this.
First, be aware that focusing on how it bothers you only starts a downward spiral. There’s a lot of things which I could just sit here listing all the ways it’s wrong and it bothers me. Off the top of my head Comcast, Major League Baseball, Congress, my building’s maintenance person, my former boss, my current boss, whoever designed Route 295, the UPMC medical system, and about a million others. Indeed I used to do the same thing. But the real question is who wins? The other person/company/whatever isn’t going to change their ways simply because you are upset, they’re only going to (maybe) get mad at you for being upset. So what have you accomplished by starting this downward spiral of thoughts? I’m not saying it’s easy to avoid, but I am saying it’s a game with losers and no winners.
Possible breakthrough number 1: Make this the first of many times that you don’t even bother going into this downward spiral.
Second, while I agree that the only “official” requirement to join the program is money, there’s a whole lot of other qualities that it takes to truly be successful. For example, enrollment is one of my very weak muscles right now, but I’m hoping it won’t be very soon because of a breakthrough. I see that money is one of this person’s weak muscles right now, and I’m sure it’s one of the breakthroughs she’s going to create. Everyone else here has weak muscles they want to strengthen.
Possible Breakthrough number 2: Think of this whole situation as learning about another weak muscle of a teammate. We are going to really need to learn these about each other if we’re going to help, be glad that one was put in front of us so easily.
Third, we all know people where we want to yell “SNAP OUT OF IT!” to them at the top of our lungs. While I’m fairly certain that successful coaching not include yelling “SNAP OUT OF IT!” to anyone, we are looking to produce these results figuratively as coaches. If this depressed colleague was your client, and you broke through years of this pattern and helped them become a strong amazing person, that would be bar none one of the biggest successes of your lifetime, and it’s yet another reason why we’re here in this program.
Possible Breakthrough Number 3: Let behavior like this remind/motivate/propel you to become the best coaches you can be, because the potential is infinite.
The overarching lesson here for everyone, next time your survival mechanism gets activated, think about possible breakthroughs for yourself. What awareness is this creating inside you that you can learn from?