July 2015
        Vol 8, Issue 7        
Creative Coaching Group
LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter

  

Jan on a swing in the park The wonderful thing about being coached is the insight one can get from being asked a simple question. As I was moaning to my coach about my inability to 'focus' because my life was crammed with too many things for which I was responsible, she asked the question "What would it feel like to give yourself a responsibility break?"  

 

"But", I protested, "I can't stop caring, I want x,y,z, to work out " etc.  She then asked "What would it look like to keep caring yet mentally hold only 50% of the responsibility?"  

 

As I felt my shoulders instantly lighten at the concept, I wondered if it were possible for me to 'carry less' without 'caring less'. That thought inspired my feature article below.

 

 

Here's to lightening our loads,

 

         

  Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC  

  Professional Certified Executive Coach     

  Creative Coaching Group    e:jan@creativecoachinggroup.com     
Feature Article: How to Carry Less - Without Caring Less 

I remember prepping years ago for a 4 month backpacking trip around Europe. The Lonely Planet Guidebook was the youth travel gospel at the time and it recommended laying out  everything you wanted to take, and then removing half of it. The guidebook said 50% of it was not needed and we would be regret carrying around a heavy backpack that would give us a sore back. The same principle applies to our lives. All the extra physical and mental stuff we 'carry' weighs us down, keeps us stuck and gets in the way of our moving forward.

 

My coaching clients are an over-caring, high-achieving, over-committing bunch, and our coaching conversations often connect around a similar theme - that of being overwhelmed by the 'amount' on their plates. I wonder - Is it the quantity on their plates? Or is it the feeling of being 'responsible' for everything on their plates? Is it possible to 'carry less' without 'caring less'?

 

Let's first talk turkey about what we are responsible for and what we really do have to carry. The Random House dictionary defines Responsible as "Answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power or control."  

 
There are four areas each of us is 100% responsible for and can control:

-our thoughts

-our intent

-our actions /behaviour

-our words   

 

That's it. Simple eh? We can care about everyone else's thoughts, behaviours and what others say but we are NOT responsible for them, nor can we control them so 'carrying them' is both unnecessary and damaging.  

 

HOW TO CARRY LESS

 

Part 1 Awareness

Using the lens of the four areas above, it is time to look at the tasks, activities and relationships in each area of your life.  Click here to download your "CARRY LESS" pdf Worksheet or do the exercise on a separate piece of paper. First, write a list of the areas/tasks/activities/relationships in your life.  

 

After you have created your list, ask yourself 3 questions:

1/ What percentage responsibility do you feel for each of those areas/activities listed?

2/ What percentage do you have control over? (Remember, you can only 100% control what you think, say, intend and do)

3/ How much do you care? (Scale 1-10)

 

Take a close look at your numbers - what do you notice?  

 

Part 2 Separate the 'Carrying' from the 'Caring'

 

While still 'caring' to the scaled level you identified for each area, let's figure out how you could 'carry less' by cutting your percentage of mental responsibility in half. What would that mean in practical terms? This step might be purely a mental shift - yet it will require some tough personal talk and constant attention to make the shift.  

 

Go through your list and fill in the final CARRY LESS COMMITMENT "I Will"  column on the pdf worksheet (or create a final commitment column if you are not using the pdf).  Create some "I WILL" statements that are a commitment to actions or new ways of thinking that will give you a responsibility break.  

 

Let me run through this with an example: My schoolteacher friend cares deeply about each of her students. She feels 100% responsible for their learning. Yet, no matter how brilliant her teaching is, no matter how much she gives,  not all of her students are shall we say 'into the program'.  As she lies awake sleepless thinking of them, she experiences the negative weight of responsibility and the 'carrying' of something she is not in control of. That 'carrying' is raising her stress levels and affecting her happiness. When I asked her what her CARRY LESS - I WILL column could look like she said: "The part that could change would be to stop obsessing about the students at night. I think I WILL commit to leaving that feeling of responsibility at the door of my house when I go home and pick it up again in the morning. That will feel great." 

 

Do this exercise for your relationships as well. Which relationships feel weighty, are an energy drain or are complicated?Consider what you could do about those relationships to 'care', yet not 'carry'. Could you step back? Set some boundaries? No longer engage in certain topics (e.g. / conflicts with others, repeated dramas, past wrongs) or perform certain roles? (e.g./ rescuer, problem-solver, counsellor)?

   

Part 3 Make the shift

Keep your focus on your 'Carry Less' Commitment column and imagine holding even 50% of the mental or physical responsibility that you do now. Remind yourself that being less responsible does not have to affect your level of caring. Feel the freedom and empowerment that comes from you deciding intentionally how much you want to carry.

Ask for support from a trusted friend or coach to help you in your 'carry less' commitment. Write a big note to remind yourself to "Take a Responsibility Break'. Ask for support to carry some of your load and feel the lightness and space that opens up.  Commit to 'caring' without the burden of 'carrying' and notice how easy it becomes to carry your life 'backpack'.   
Lightbulb of the Month

"Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress. " - Melody Beattie, Author

LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD  with one-on-one coaching with Jan

Jan Carley square Want to immediately lighten your load with an agenda-free thinking partner?  If so, I encourage you to experience the supportive process of one-on-one coaching. I have a few slots available in my individual coaching programs this fall.  

Contact me for a Free 30 minute coaching consultation and for information on packages available.    

email: jancarley@shaw.ca  

About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and clarify their vision and leverage their signature strengths to open possibilities and maximize their performance potential. 3rd edition of Jan's book Jan's book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and is now in its 3rd printing. Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program, a Professional Mentor coach and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory .  
Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide. PCC logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763    email: jancarley@shaw.ca     

 
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Jan' Coaching Company Creative Coaching Group
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