There's a fine line between knowing yourself and creating limiting identities or beliefs.
In the coaching world and the corporate HR world there is a lot of hype around personality types, enneagrams, introversion/extroversion, and other tools used to put people in neatly ordered boxes.
These tests can be useful for us individuals because it helps us feel understood, can point us in the right direction for our current skill set, and even point out our weaknesses and limitations so we can improve.
Managers and executives like these tests because they help them put people into boxes and order us appropriately so that we flourish under their leadership.
So on the surface everyone wins with these tools.
Like everything, there is a downside and these tests often become a problem for people. It becomes a problem because when you put people into behavioral boxes, they tend to accept their new confines and their growth becomes stifled.
For those that don’t watch sports, Adam Vinatieri is a 46 year old kicker in the NFL who is widely regarded as the greatest kicker to ever play the game. Much to my town of Indianapolis’ chagrin, the last two games he has missed a career worst number of kicks. Out of 8 kicks, most of them being routine kicks, he has only made 3. That would be bad for a struggling high school kicker, let alone the best to ever play the game.
Most people think that Vinatieri hit some age wall where he suddenly can’t make a routine chip shot - as if his leg deteriorated to the point of being inaccurate from short distances overnight. As such, many think it’s time for him to retire.
In reality, if you go grab Vinatieri when he is 60, I bet he’ll be able to kick 10 extra points in a row without the kind of problems he is having now. It’s not his age. It’s just a typical slump. Slumps happen to everyone, but when you are a baseball player or a kicker in the NFL, your slumps are obvious, measurable and compounding.
The real question is - why do slumps happen and how on Earth do we make them stop?
It is well known that popular styles of exercise like CrossFit or Yoga have developed cult like religious followings.
It has also recently been thoroughly reported that religion is on a decline in America with the thoroughly-reported “rise of the nones” - a spike in people identifying their religion as “none.”
As my clients know, or fans of Tony Robbins know, anything that improves your state and meets your six human needs at a high level is going to create a happier, more fulfilled human being with fervor for whatever it is that is meeting those needs.
CrossFit, Yoga, SoulCycle and other secular very often are doing a far better job at meeting people’s human needs than the previous standard bearer of fulfillment: religion. This isn’t an investigation into the truth of God or the afterlife, but a practical look at why you love your workout or your church - OR why you may have given up on one or the other. Whether it is your workout or your religious life, you’re only going to be happier if they are doing these things for you:
On top of coaching highly functioning adults, I also spend a significant time with my own kids as well as coaching their teams whenever I can. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching soccer for 4, 5, and 6 year olds, you may know that it is by far one of the most challenging things on Earth to effectively engage a group of young people.
If you’re a parent of young children, you may want to master the art of getting kids to comply with your requests.
Here are some things to consider if you want to step up your parenting game and have a more peaceful home with less conflict and more harmony.
Prominent NFL quarterback Andrew Luck recently retired abruptly from the game of football at the age of 29 - leaving my hometown of Indianapolis in shock and disbelief.
As a life coach who pays attention to the best competitors in the world, I’m not as surprised as most. What I see out of Luck is a person who is actively paying attention to what he values - something most of us struggle with - and making sure that his life conditions line up with his life blueprint.
At the same time the 29 year old is stepping away from the sport, the 42 year old Tom Brady is stepping into another season looking to defend the Super Bowl title he won at age 41 and trying to prove that he has found the fountain of youth.
Brady, like Luck, pays attention to what he values and lives his life accordingly. They just both came up with completely different answers to the question of “what really matters?” in life.
Having a clear vision for your life and a plan to get there are essential for the life of your dreams. After all, it’s really difficult to hit the target if you don’t know where or what the target is and you’re blindfolded.
That being said, some people love planning and others don’t. So while there are tons of commerical planners and planning systems on the market that will help you detail every moment of your day in support of your larger goals, there’s not a lot for people who value variety and uncertainty highly in their lives.
Something I like to do for people who are scared of intense structure is to create a much looser, free-flowing structure that STILL supports what you want in the bigger picture - a planning system for people who are excited by the prospect of uncertainty and variety - people who genuinely don’t want to know what tomorrow may bring.
It’s super simple and it will help move your life forward while also keeping your days fresh and filled with enough variety so that you don’t get bored.
The last few months, based on the people I've interacted with, and what I see in the media, I've been really concerned about people feeling small and unimportant.
There’s so much noise online. So many people work for companies that find them dispensable. People who are lucky enough to find a romantic partner often are ill-equipped to be ideal partners and thus even when not alone, they find themselves tearing each other down rather than building each other up.
There’s a thousand reasons to feel insignificant in a large world that feels even larger than it is where it is almost impossible to be recognized for our own amazing talents or even noticed.
From the little fights I see between neighbors, friends, and strangers on the internet, to the bigger picture stories that define our times - drug addiction and death, mass shooters, street violence, and political violence just to name a few. This dark feeling of insignificance is becoming an epidemic.
Are you helping or hurting the people around you? Are they helping or hurting you? While it is well known that the people you surround yourself with is extremely important to forming who you are as a person, too infrequently do we stop and ask ourselves how are we helping and hurting those in our lives.
What negative identities do you own and what negative identities are you giving to those you love the most?
It is sadly too common for people to have negative identities that dictate what they do and don’t do with their lives. A negative identity is often given to us as a small child or it is something we are currently giving to our children, spouses, coworkers, and family members without even realizing it - something I see more and more with the rise of sharing personal information on social media.
So what is a negative identity? Negative identities, a concept put forth by therapists like Cloe Madanes, are a “general value judgment that limits your options.” Common ones are “I’m too impatient to ever be a mother,” or “I couldn’t do that because I have ADHD,” or “I’m not smart enough to do that,” or “I’m too ugly to be an actor.”
What is the role of stress in your life? Do you have too much of it? Do you manage it well? Do you avoid it all together?
Stress, left unmanaged and misunderstood, is both a silent killer of the body and the spirit. Stress, in the proper amounts and combined with the appropriate rest, is also the source of all your mental and physical growth.
Spending time with my 3 month old baby Francis is like getting to a watch a growth machine. A baby’s life is rapid growth and a constant cycle of physical and mental stress and rest leading to extreme amounts of growth from a blob to a functioning human being.
Watching him struggle with basic tasks like raising his head and rolling over and even just moving his arms and legs reminds me that stress isn’t something to be avoided, but something to embrace.
Master stress in your life by doing two things.
One of the major areas of life that Americans struggle with is achieving optimal health, their body, and their body image. While there are new businesses, trends, and fads sprouting up every day to help people achieve better health, the basics are incredibly well known - eat less, move more, and sleep enough.
Yet every day, people give up on their fitness goals whether that be running a marathon or just fitting into the next pant size down.
So what’s going wrong in a relatively simple and well-understood process? Is a life coach the missing key to weight loss?
Your life coach.