Part One: My 2-year-old son, Dillon, recently had to get glasses. This, at first, was a source of stress for me, because even though the glasses are necessary and he looks so cute wearing them, I had zero faith that he would ever keep them on his face. But Dillon has surprised me. It took just a few days of bribery (lollipops, ice cream cones, cartoons) before he was wearing his glasses most of the day without a fight (and without demanding a sucker first).
The doctor explained that most children accept their glasses once they realize how much better the world looks. Dillon hadn't realized what he was missing. He had just adapted to the way things were. Now, with the glasses, he has a new perspective and he seems to like it.
I can get like that sometimes. I wander around with a blurry vision and outlook on life. I feel grumpy and down on myself, and I think that's just the way it's supposed to be. I forget that a simple shift in perspective can turn everything around.
A couple days ago I was having your classic "bad day." Ever had one of those? It seemed as if nothing was going my way, and I just felt tired. Tired of trying so hard. Disheartened and annoyed. So I did what any good sun-loving Charlestonian would do-- I went to the beach. The whole time I was loading up my child and all our gear into the car, I was grumbling. On the drive down Folly Road, I felt hot and moody. But as we began to approach the beach, and I caught a whiff of the salty air, I instantly felt my spirits rise. I parked at my friend's beach house and walked three blocks to the beach, holding my son's hand, and the tension began to melt away. By the time I was resting in a beach chair and chatting with my friend and her family, I started to see what my son saw when he put on his new glasses. A clearer view. New options. New reasons to be optimistic and happy.
About a half-hour later, my friend's father, Michael, walked up on the beach and tapped me on the shoulder. He handed me my cell phone. "Do you want the long story, or the short story?" Michael asked. Apparently, I had dropped my cell phone on the street when my son and I were walking to the beach. A good Samaritan picked it up and scrolled down my numbers, looking for someone to call to let them know he had found my phone. He was smart and picked "Mom." My mom called my husband at work, who suggested my mom call Michael's place of business and ask for his cell phone number. Once she had his cell phone number, my mom called Michael, who just happened to be walking by the beach house where the good Samaritan was staying.
My cell phone was returned to me before I even knew it was missing.
My point is this: We don't (and can't) control everything. We can do our part. We can put one foot in front of the other. We can decide not to wallow in negativity. We can rise above our problems and start looking at things in a new way. But there is something else going on. Something bigger is at play. And it is working in our favor. We set the wheels in motion, but we aren't out there all alone.
That is what life coaching is all about. Working with an objective listener who helps you see things a different way. Suddenly, obstacles become opportunities. Feelings of discouragement transform into restored faith. Coaching is about shedding the blurry perspective and developing a clearer view, so you can determine the next best step.
Sometimes the solution may be as simple as "Stop worrying and go to the beach!!"