Can hopelessness be creative?

Some people think coaches are overly optimistic, always focusing on the bright side and not willing to take a hard look at challenges. But you know that at Awaken, we model coaching skills that really help with overcoming obstacles, getting creative, and trying something new and brave. It takes a powerful love that's refreshing, strengthening, and invigorating. 

Drawing on the work of Steven Hayes, one approach is to develop "Creative Hopelessness". A core tenet of coaching states, "if what you're doing isn't working, try something else." But first, the person needs to come to terms with the fact that what they're doing isn't working - allow yourself to get in touch with the hopelessness inherent in the current behavior. This technique relies on understanding that you can creatively choose different behaviors that align more authentically with your deepest values, and then you commit to practicing them.

You might already be starting to think of a situation in which your behaviors are not getting you the desired result. You might be feeling frustrated or blaming yourself or the other person, but still feel stuck.

Every coaching conversation starts out by finding out what the person wants. And this approach is no different. You can try the steps for yourself:

1. Ask yourself, "What do I want?" "What would a really good result look like for me?" "How do I want to feel about that when I get there?" "What makes this goal so important to me?"

2. Ask yourself, "What have I already tried to get what I want?"

3. With lots of tenderness and curiosity, get clear about how these behaviors have been working. "So, I want THIS, but I've been doing THAT, and getting THAT result instead. Hmmmmmm."

4. Once you've seen for yourself that you're not getting the desired results, check in with your values. You might ask, "How does my behavior line up with who I want to be?" You might find that your behaviors are coming from a place of wanting to control others, getting a quick fix, or protecting yourself. Ask yourself, "What would be even more important to me, so that even if there was some discomfort, it would be worth it?" 

5. Then ask what behaviors would line up with this deeper value. Knowing what your top two values are can be a big part of a lifelong alignment, especially if your values are well-aligned with love and not fear. Once you're in touch with your "Why", the "How" becomes much easier.

6. Commit to trying out the actions that are more aligned with your values. Commit to stopping the behaviors that have shown themselves to be hopeless. Put your hope in a different direction and commit to following the new path.

I'd love to hear how this goes for you! Keep me posted on how you're aligning with your values and committing to a path of real hope. 

With great love,

Christi's Signature


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