The Be Who You Are project includes parents. If you are one, how long have you been a grown-up? Long enough to know what it means to hold down a job, a relationship, and be the primary caregiver to one, maybe two or more kids? Long enough to think, Holy crap, where is this path going? Why can’t I seem to say no to stupid stuff and focus on what I want? What happened to fun? What happened to me? I need a life coach!!!
Well, let’s face it, you probably do. We all do. Why? Because life is so full of distractions and suggestions of how to be, that we forget our own raison d’être. We need a third party cheerleader to help us find our way back to that focused, happy path that each of us so deserves. And if little Johnny would just shut up about that toy dinosaur for one freaking second, we could probably remember where it was! But wait – maybe Johnny’s got the right idea. He’s not giving up. He knows what he wants out of life. In fact, anyone with young kids has a goldmine of life coaching lessons awaiting them. Here are five that might nudge you along on your journey toward fulfillment and happiness, sans coach.
That’s a big word for a kid, but they don’t need to say it because they’re already living authentically every single minute of their lives. “I don’t want to bake cookies, I want to play soccer,” says the little girl, speaking from her heart and following her bliss. Grown-ups on the other hand, spend years baking cookies to get the approval of others, with very little reward. “My parents wanted me to be a lawyer,” says the interior designer who wasted six years trying to pass the Bar. He ignored all signs of his creative talent in order to please two individuals who wouldn’t know how to accessorize a living room if their lives depended on it. He could have saved himself a lot of misery by simply taking a page from the life of our soccer player girl. I want to be an interior designer, he might have said years earlier. And the universe would have listened. We are most happy and successful when we are being ourselves.
Trust Your Gut
When a kid meets someone who creeps them out, they recoil and hide behind their dad. When we as adults meet someone who creeps us out, we think, Well, I should look past the creepiness because I could really use a foot in the door at that company and I may not find anyone else there to connect with. Then of course that creepy person usually ends up screwing us over and we say to ourselves, I should have trusted my gut! I knew he was a creep! But we let ‘rational’ thought prevail, and railroad right over our intuition, which any life coach will tell you is imperative to follow. A keen ‘sixth sense’ is one of the central guiding forces behind a fulfilling, spiritual life. Next time hide behind a plant, steering clear of toxic energy and the vortex it creates.
Kids ask a million questions all the time. “Who makes the sidewalks? Why can’t I spy on the neighbors? Why do I have to be nice to the creepy man?” As adults, we take for granted that we always have all the answers. And when we don’t, there’s Google. But what about the things that we don’t have immediate answers for? Shouldn’t we stay curious as grown-ups too? Expand our self-knowledge and grow personally? When my husband and I argue, my instinct is to withdraw and sulk, dreaming up comebacks that would really put him in his place. Toxic? Yes, but wallowing in a stagnant pool of my own resentment is so…comfy! Until it isn’t. Then I go running for help, and find out from my life coach that it would be so much more fruitful to ask the hard questions: What’s my part in this fight? How can I change my own behavior to diffuse all this resentment and anger? How can we work together to find a resolution? I pay good money to get this advice, but when you think about it, I could have just imitated my daughter to the same effect. Stay as curious as your kids and you’ll see life through enlightened eyes.
“Can I have a lollipop? Can I have a lollipop? Can I have a lollipop?” If she asks enough times, the kids gets what she wants – most of the time. Kids learn this at a young age – that if they are persistent and stay focused on their goal, they will wear their parents down. That’s why the follow-through with rules is so extremely important. The kid needs to know that lollipops before dinner are not okay. We have to fight fire with fire and ‘beat’ them at their ‘game’ of persistence, lest they become spoiled brats with bad teeth. But fast-forward to adulthood, and the accumulation of relentless rule following has beaten down our grown-up sense of entitlement, and our sense of eternal hope for the lollipop. Now we anticipate a negative outcome. Now we imagine that we know what the ‘authority figure’ du jour will say, whether it’s actually true or not. I can’t ask for a raise again. I’m being too pushy. Are you? Ask your life coach. Or, imagine what your kid would say: “Can I have another raise? Can I? Can I? I really deserve it. I’m awesome.” One thing’s for sure. We don’t get things if we don’t ask for them.
Focus On Happiness
My daughter will come home from school today, take off her uniform and emerge from her bedroom dressed for the Beverly Hills Santa Claus Homecoming Parade, if there is such a thing, and yes, there will be a lot of red velvet involved. Then she will line up all the furniture and create a gymnastics obstacle course for herself, begin leaping around, and casually ask if she can have chocolate covered marshmallows for dinner. Wow. And what will the grown-ups do? Stay in our uncomfortable work clothes and proceed through a long list of ‘have-to’s’ and ‘shoulds’ until bedtime. Sound about right? Any life coach will tell you that you must make time for your own personal joy. Read a book, take a hot bath, try a new craft or game with your kid, make something YOU want for dinner – your kids can only benefit from seeing how much you respect your own happiness. So create your own homecoming parade and watch your joy grow.
Why wait until you can afford a coach to begin changing your life for the better, when you can examine the behavior of your kids, and find ways to be authentic, persistent, curious, happy and intuitive? They focus on the life they want to live. Why shouldn’t you?