Dr Ruth Briant-Jones
The Joy of Coaching
This year, I'm working on gratitude. It's so easy to get caught up in the everyday, wound up by the things that happen, stressed out when things don't go your way, negative about the things that aren't perfect. As a recovering perfectionist, I know about negatives - in fact, I'd call myself an elite level negativity guru when it comes to judging my own life. It's a work in progress to let go of all of that, and instead to focus on the things that are going right - the blindingly positive, downright awesome things that happen, the amazing opportunities I have, the simple things that keep me safe, and sane.
So, this year, as I said, I'm working on gratitude. Taking time - just 20 seconds or so - before I go to sleep to ask myself, "what am I grateful for today?" When I first started doing it I thought it felt a bit naff, but after a while I realised that it's actually pretty powerful; a closure to the day, a positive note to go to sleep on. Instead of a whirring head focusing on the 'shoulda woulda's', or thinking about the to-do list I've not finished writing - let alone tackling, a little gratitude thought-pause acts as a full stop on the end of the day. It's a reset and a re-connection with the things that matter. I'm not remembering to do it every day yet, but I'm getting better at it, and what I've noticed is that not only am I getting better at remembering to do it, I am getting better at finding and thinking of things to be grateful for.
Tonight, I already know what I'm going to be grateful for. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to coach people. I've always been a bit of a wanderer, flitting from one bright thing to the next, trying to attune myself with an inner desire to do something that felt important. When I started coaching, I felt immediately that I'd found that important thing. It makes me gloriously and unabashedly happy to see people go from a place of difficulty to a place of strength and positivity. To help them build confidence and to see them achieve things they never really believed they could. To see them fly, to lead confidently, to find their purpose. Today marked the end of a coaching journey with one of my clients. The endings are always bittersweet. On one hand, I know I've done my job when my coaching clients feel ready to go it alone - when they've found and begun to follow their compass, creating the life they've learnt to understand is theirs for the taking. On the other hand, saying goodbye to someone with whom you've shared a journey - one that is invariably fraught with deep emotion and uncertainty and that has required me to truly see them, care for them, to spur them forwards - is a painful thing. It is a breaking of the threads you've woven between you. It's a necessary step, but not an emotionally easy one. Despite this ending, it is a privilege greater than most I've ever experienced, to take people on this journey and to see them fly upwards and away at the end. Being grateful for that experience and to that person for gifting the sharing of their struggles and successes to me, is a positive and beautiful full stop at the end of the life coaching journey, much like the practice of gratitude at the end of each day.
So today, when I spend my 20 seconds before I go to sleep to stop and to practice gratitude, I’m going to say that I'm grateful to be a coach, and to the people who have let me into their lives to help them see a way forward. I am so genuinely proud of them all, and so thankful for the opportunity I have to work with them.
What are you grateful for today?
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