When people ask me the difference in between Life Coaching and Counselling/Psychotherapy, I say: “Well I haven't personally tried the other stuff, but from what people have told me, I guess that it's a lot more targeted on the issue, whereas Coaching is regarding good possibilities.”
This means that coaches, hardcore self-developers and similar people generally go around with a really positive state of mind, seemingly inhabiting a life where the sun shines at all times, and where for each one of life's troubles - oops sorry! - “challenges”, there is a soothing belief/rationalisation/slogan that makes it all sound like one thing that they needed all along. Lost your job? “Now I'm free to follow my actual purpose!” Boyfriend left you? “It was not 'meant' to be!” Best friend just died? “Each and everything happens for a reason!”
Now do not get me wrong, I consider that many of these people really do experience very happy lives. I am aware that I often do :) However ... I do not believe in the conveyor belt, in “one size fits all”, when it relates to the way we react to what is happening in our lives.
So possibly there are times when the uncompromisingly positive isn't what we need to hear. For those times, we need an alternative - one that acknowledges that we at times will not be able to elude or spin our situations. As there is success in our lives, and there is also unsuccess, in several other forms: big and small, material and psychological, internal and external.
Of course saying this is merely a reminder of what we actually already know. But it is even an invitation to act like we did actually were aware of it, and to choose, to the best of our ability, to be totally unbothered by the truth that the world is configured the way that it is (since let’s face it, it is, is it not?)
The old life-coachy cliché, “There is no failure, only feedback” could be a really empowering slant. But so could “It is normal and quite OK that we do not always get, or will be able to keep, what we decided to put on our wish list”. Since once we keep in mind that the universe was not created to be an endless pleasure machine for our every need and wish, life turns out to be not harder, but significantly simpler!
It saddens me that in the self-development industry the role models held up are those who have succeeded enormously (which invariably translates as raking in inconceivable numbers of dollars or by accomplishing international celebrity status by “selling” their ideas). Definitely a happy and worthwhile life does not have to be like this?!
It might just be me, but individually I'm much more impressed by people who have learnt to accept and live tremendously well with the unsuccesses they experience on their path.
Seeing Beyond Success