The Unexpected Challenge and the Bigger Challenge
I participated in my first triathlon the other day. It was called a Tryathlon because it was short and not as competitive as most triathlons. (3 mile run, 1.75 mile paddle, 8 mile bicycle)
I absolutely loved it. It happened near my home in the beautiful Endless Mountains of northern PA.
In the very first leg of the triathlon, we ran through a swarm of stinging insects (They could have been hornets or yellow jackets.) Someone had stirred them up along the path.
It strikes me that it must have been quite funny looking at the line of strong and determined runners suddenly breaking into loud awkward dances as they each responded in their own style to the surprise and pain. Evidently one runner jumped into the lake that was right near the path.
I got five or six painful stings. This was one of those unexpected challenges you can’t predict. I’m not dangerously allergic to stings so while it was quite painful, I continued on and finished all 3 legs. At the end, I was proud and happy.
I was telling Sharon Brown, my co-leader for our 1-day coach training class coming up October 5 at the Open Center, about the race and she asked a curious question: “What was the biggest challenge for you?”
I hadn’t anticipated running into a swarm of angry bees during the race. That wasn’t a major challenge that I had to address or overcome. My biggest challenge, in this case, as in many others, was internal. It was the voice from within that questions and doubts me. This voice is my biggest challenge and it adds to my anxiety and lack of belief in myself.
In this case, there were a few challenging voices at work. I had one voice that thinks the only thing that counts is winning. It was determined to make my middle-of-the-pack finish “not good enough.” Another voice was sure logistical things would go wrong: I wouldn’t get to the race on time, they would have lost my registration, or the weather would be bad. Another got anxious about competing.
Because of a lot of coaching and work on my part, I also have a voice that manages those voices. And how I respond the limiting or negative voices has made all the difference for me.
Here are three ways that I have come to respond to, or manage, the voices that challenge me or drive me to worry and negativity. You can use these tactics, too:
- Come to the present moment; recognize that the voices focus on the future and the past.
- Get curious and observe the voices; get to know them and their characteristics.
- Set boundaries. For example, I’ll say something like, “Now is not the time for this. We can talk in the morning.”
It was because of my conversation with Sharon that we decided to redesign our Coaching Skills for Transformation 1-day course. We will be teaching students how to face challenges by listening for and managing those limiting internal voices. We’ll also, of course, be teaching basic coaching skills you can incorporate into your practice or lifestyle. As I said to Sharon, “We want our students to walk away with something substantial they can use every day.”
Let these ideas start a new conversation between the limiting thoughts and the “higher” mind that can redirect your thinking.
Allow me leave you with this question: What internal conversation needs to change in order for you to live a life you love? From this point forward, how will you respond to the negative or challenging voices in your mind?
Steven Filante, is a Professional Certified Coach, an international coach trainer and a mentor coach. Always open to new modalities and possibilities, Steven challenges his learners to examine all parts of the human experience and how it can bring value to coaching. He coaches small business owners and executives who need a coaching ally to translate their vision of change into the world. Steven designed and delivered Fire in the Heart, an advanced coach training course.
Sharon Y. Brown, MS, CPC, is a certified professional coach, coach trainer and workshop facilitator. As a catalyst for personal and community transformation, Sharon supports people to dream big, overcome obstacles and create the changes they want for their lives, families, organizations and communities. She also facilitates workplace, community and prison workshops that deepen awareness and enhance communication and collaboration.
To learn more about managing and responding to internal challenges and for more information on their full-day workshop on October 5, 2013, visit the class page.