I wonder if coaches have the hardest time coaching themselves?
Though I’ve not officially held the title of “coach”, I’ve definitely found myself in many, many, many leadership roles. Many.
And in them I’m able to cheer others on, tell them how they’re winning, how I can help them win and encourage them when it seems there is no hope. As an introvert, I am then thoroughly drained and don’t have the energy or capacity to step back and hear for myself what it is that I could takeaway from those encounters.
Because truly – coaching others is also about your own personal growth and development too!
So when my most recent mastermind group discussion got to the topic of “self coaching” through negative talk, roadblocks and hurdles, I was challenged to ask myself “what I do well”. It was an important question because I needed to really consider why this seemed a difficult task for me and it was because I talk horribly to myself and don’t believe the good others see about/in me.
I’ve had such kind compliments paid to me, but the things that have stuck out over the years – the things that have lingered – have often been negative, hurtful, words that often stunted my growth. This challenge was one I took: to set a timer for 30 minutes and write out all of the things you believe you (yourself) do well.
Y’all. Do it!
First, let me say, it’s not as easy as you think. 30 minutes felt like a very long time for my very self-deprecating mind. But, it gave me a lot of time in reflective minutes ticking by that I was able to sort things out fairly honestly. For example, my husband thinks that I sing well. He’s told me many times. And I so appreciate him for doing that; Mister often lavishes me with loving compliments. But, I don’t think I sing well. I can carry a tune, but don’t think it’s one of my greater strengths.
I was constantly having to delve more honestly into whether I believed it was true. Just because someone tells you something – positive or negative – doesn’t mean you believe it’s true for you. Honesty was also important in the positives. I needed to give myself permission to brag on myself, to take pride in my strengths, some of the things that I just KNEW God has specifically wired into my spirit.
After about 16 minutes into it, I found myself looping around some similarly themed strengths and it made me smile. I grabbed hold of those things and they seem to be more rooted in doing the activity.
I was fortunate to be in our home for 30 uninterrupted minutes. I set my Apple Watch Timer (I have very few apps on it to distract me from the task at hand) and charged my phone a couple of rooms away from me, did not turn on any television but played a record I knew would put me into the right frame of mind to be quiet and listen; not a distraction but a support really – few words, folksy, calming.
If I’d done this when anyone else was around then I might have invited them into conversation with me and I needed to tackle this assignment on my own. It was imperative. I know that we are in so many varied seasons in our lives but it is of value to you to find make time to do this for yourself. Especially if you’re struggling with how best to strengthen yourself.
You can do it. Give yourself permission. Tell the other adult on your team what you’re up to, the value you think it’d bring to your soul (which benefits them by the way!) and ask them – very lovingly – to run zone defense to protect that time for you. You’ll be so glad you did.
Before I even began this challenge, I had a dozen folks holding me accountable to finishing the task. I’d set up the expectations and deadlines myself. I decided how I would share it and by when; that totally motivates me.
I chose people that I knew would want me to be successful – people who’d done it before, people who are also prioritizing their own growth and development and who would ask me about it.
To be sure I wasn’t throwing Mister for a loop, I emailed it to him before posting and sharing with my mastermind group and with all of you.
It moved me toward success!
If you haven’t done this before or haven’t done it in awhile, please consider it. For yourself certainly and perhaps a few people close to you who may also benefit from taking the time to explore and reflect on this question.
Y’all. It’s good for us. To take time and reconcile our thoughts. Our wounds, missteps, mistakes, bad choices, short tempers, outbursts, overwhelm and (what feels like) epic failures with what we believe and know we do well.
HERE’S WHAT I DO WELL (in the order it came to me)
- Planning events
- Lead, facilitate small groups + discussions
- Develop, tweak, create systems, processes, operations
- Remain calm in intense circumstances
- Teacher/professional development
- Asking questions that push clarity, stretch others toward vulnerability + growth
- Encouraging women in hard times, messy mistakes, grief
- Give dating advice
- Reading: the Bible, for fun
- Giving feedback, editing
- Writing in my voice
- Observing people and then anticipating or meeting needs based upon my observations
- Making a space cozy + welcoming
- Making things happen (dinners, getaways, girls weekends, trips, soul care retreats)
- Cutting, staging flowers
- Getting people to dig more deeply
- Creating programming
- Using Instagram to influence others
- Advising young women, collegians
- Put together my style
- Organize care calendars
- Bake well (most of the time)
- Clean quickly in an efficient, smart way
- Keep things tidy, at a minimum
- Predict the outcome of stories (books, movies)
- Able to be quiet, alone
- Write thank you notes, penmanship
- Try new things
- Discern well
- Apologize first, with sincerity/not excusing my wrong
- Painting my own nails: toes + fingers
- Stop eating when full
- Relate to others
I was able to record many things quickly and only scribbled out one thing that I wrote, but the battle in my mind was to continue to write things down while ignoring what had been said to me about these very things. I had to fight against the temptation to compare myself to how well someone appears to or seems to do that very thing and let it get on and remain on the list.
Along with weeks and weeks of prayer, conversations with trusted folks and a lot of pausing to dream, this activity brought me clarity in my next steps; something I’ve been praying about being revealed to me. It became clear when I realized that I do these things really well, that I had clarity in why other opportunities, positions, teams and relationships have not been successful; I either did not believe I did these things well, felt that my efforts were not valued or believed that I needed to stretch myself in other areas that are not strengths for me. I take full responsibility for that and now feel free to move forward working from (and building areas of weakness) this list, adding a few more things as I continue to grow.
I’m excited to better serve others knowing what I do well. I believe there will be a joy and filling that comes from delving into this opportunity that pleases the Lord and that encourages and blesses others.
Consider doing this activity for yourself. Once you’re done, circle back in the comments and tell me some of your things and what this was like for you.