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I Can Do It Myself (?)

Yes, whatever it is, you could do it yourself. “I do it myself ” is the expression of a normally developing two- or three-year-old, but, in some areas, do-it-yourself (DIY) is not always wise for developing adults.

Yes, you could do it yourself. But sometimes you’ll want to call a trustworthy, skilled person because you

  • See the need for an expert;
  • Don’t want to be forced to call the expert later to clean up your do-it-yourself mess; or
  • Will save time, energy, and money in the long run.

AND, when pride, unhealthy independence, low-self-awareness, feared embarrassment, stubbornly ignoring the issue, or insisting on DIY bring you to refuse the support of others, you could end up lonely, ineffective, and maybe in dire straits. So, you might enlist a(n)

  • Attorney to help with legal matters.
  • Accountant to help with your taxes and bills.
  • Plumber to help with the plumbing in your house.

I’m wondering, “Who do you engage to support your personal and professional growth?”

OK, now I imagine you’ll stop reading and you might be saying,

I’m (insert age) adult, I’m mature enough personally and professionally, and besides I’m too busy.

But, stay with me for just a little longer.

Do you ever need someone to provide a safe space into which you can fearlessly pitch your thinking and ideas? Someone who will . . .

  • Listen without judgment, without trying to fix you?
  • Ask questions that no one else can or will?
  • Be a trusted, confidential advisor?
  • Skillfully accelerate your progress on your goals for the future?
  • Challenge and support you to be your best self and do your best work?

Who is your trustworthy and skilled person who does these things?

You may say, “I have a spouse, a family, a friend, a co-worker who could do this for me.” The question is, “Do they?” And, “How open can you be with them without fear of judgment or reprisal?”

Coaching for professional and personal growth is a recently formalized discipline (since 1985) and resource you may not have considered yet. Some look at it with suspicious eyes and confused expression. Some incorrectly think it is therapy, consulting, or you should use it only if you have a problem.

I have a friend who gives me some great descriptions and analogies for the coaching work I do.

It’s like Tiger Woods at the top of his game. He knew how to play golf better than anyone around, but still he engaged multiple coaches to observe, ask questions, listen, offer suggestions, and support his growth in the finest details of the game. That’s what you do.

It’s like a massage for your mind.

Why do I pay you to help me do common sense? (silence) Oh, I guess I have it but don’t always connect with it and use it.

Proactive is Better

You can act on plumbing issues by maintaining your pipes, or when you first see the leak, or you can wait until the water is ankle deep. Better proactive than reactive.

My research shows that people usually wait until the water is up to their necks to fix their personal and professional growth issues. Sure, you fix issues in your business but when it comes to personal issues, professional performance, ethical issues, family issues, personal business, and other relational issues, the train is off the track by the time you seek any support or help. You realize there was trouble in 20/20 hindsight and by then, it’s often too late.

One person told me,

You know, I have to admit…I usually seek [help] after the fact…when the train wreck is over. Then I will find somebody and ask them how to fix the trestle. But I am hoping that I am getting better. Instead of being a reactive person I will be more proactive. …I used to wait until after the fact…After they jerked the rug out from under my feet. But now, if I feel the rug moving, I go find out what is going on.

Don’t wait.

Why Do You Wait

Why don’t you get help with your personal and professional growth just like you get health care, legal and accounting help, or help with your plumbing. If you’re like most people, the following may sound familiar. Here’s what my research shows:

  • You won’t admit the need you know is present for fear of judgment and embarrassment. “I’m afraid people will think I am weak and inadequate or that something’s wrong with me.”
  • You don’t think you have the time.
  • You think you have all you need because of your age and experience.
  • “Everything’s going fine right now so I don’t see any need for help.”
  • I can’t afford it.
  • “I am tired and besides I’m satisfied with the way things are going right now, so let’s not ‘poke the skunk.’”
  • I am afraid to ask someone to be that kind of support for me.
  • You ignore the need.
  • You settle for a low-engagement seminar or conference. In many cases, a shot-gun, stand-and-deliver, training approach which approach participants as a child-learner rather than an adult-learner will not serve you best unless coupled with comprehensive follow-up. You may find this experience discouraging, boring, and poor use of your time.

And, at the end of life you may discover many areas of unrealized potential, unfulfilled dreams, and deep regrets.

Does any of that sound familiar?

In the Boat Alone? Don’t Be.

When you find yourself in the middle of a DIY mess, there is an intense feeling of being in the boat alone with no one else in sight.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo, psychologist and professor of social psychology emeritus at Stanford, speaks to this:

I know of no more potent killer than isolation. There is no more destructive influence on physical and mental health than the isolation of you from me and of us from them. It has been shown to be a central agent in the etiology of depression, paranoia, schizophrenia, rape, suicide, mass murder…

The devil’s strategy for our times is to trivialize human existence in a number of ways: by isolating us from one another while creating the delusion that the reasons are time pressures, work demands, or anxieties created by economic uncertainty; by fostering narcissism and the fierce competition to be No. 1.17

Don’t be in the boat alone. Sure, you could do it yourself but when it comes to personal development perspective and blind spots will disqualify you from DIY. A coach can help.

At True Course we help people in this way, week in and week out. For more on coaching access our free resource, “What is Coaching and What Can It Do for You?”

Contact us for a brief phone conversation about how coaching could help you.

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