Ready, walk, sprint, fly!
- May 25th 2021
As I sit down to write down what coaching means for me, or how I make sense of it, I am reminded of something I read in Elif Shafak’s ‘The Forty Rules of Love’.
“Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.”
As I deconstruct this, it helps me make sense of how I see myself as a coach.
I believe it is true that the ‘first step’ is the hardest, and for so many reasons. The perspective, motivation and wisdom required for that first step may be blurry. There may be laziness, fear, doubt, uncertainty, and so many other emotions holding us back from taking that first step. We may not have the right support, ‘the right shoes’, for that first step. All those act like strong weights holding our foot in place, not letting it move to enable that step we desire. I see coaching as the tool that can help free an individual from these weights by identifying them and then slowly but consciously melting them away, so s/he is free to move.
I also believe that it is the one thing that an individual can control, the first step. What happens afterwards is a mixture of his/her own effort, destiny, and external factors – the last two of which cannot be controlled. But once the weights are off, s/he are free to move in whichever direction.
I have another layer of understanding to add to this. Whenever we have a goal, we take our first step towards it, the hardest, and as the weights come off, we begin to walk more freely. We increase our pace and we are able to run towards our goal. But eventually what we need to get to our goal is wings. And I see those wings as all the positive things in our lives, things that lift us up. It could be good health, good relations, hobbies and passions, self-care, spirituality, and so on. And while we focus on removing those weights from our feet, we also need to focus on adding layers to our wings because we know we are going to need them to take off when we are sprinting towards our goals. And this is how I interpret the last line of the quote. We can ‘be’ the flow with our wings.
I have often used this image for myself when I am trying to help myself or others around me to tackle life problems or situations where we feel stuck or trapped. A decade ago, as I was fighting clinical depression, social anxiety, and low self-esteem, I used to tell myself that I want to run really far away and then fly into the sky, free from all these emotions. I realised that the only way to move was to get rid of all those weights hanging onto my feet. For me, I didn’t have to think long enough to realize that those weights were simply bad relationships/friendships. I already had the wings to fly – my supportive family, my intellect, my spirituality. All I needed was to use them.
As a coach, I hope to help others see these weights that they can remove from their figurative feet, and see these positive layers that they can add to their figurative wings. As a coach, nothing would make me happier to see them take that first step, and then a few more till they finally sprint and fly.
About The Author
Mehreen Ovais is a Pakistani expat who moves around the world with her husband and two young daughters. She has studied Economics, Social Sciences, Marketing & Entrepreneurship, Emotional Intelligence and Early Childhood Development. She is passionate about writing and journalism. Over the last five years, she has worked to establish an entrepreneurial venture in Nigeria and Pakistan, to work with families and educators to develop social-emotional skills in young children. She enjoys exercise, traveling, and photography.
Program Attended with CTT:
ICF Coach Certification-Level 1 ACC
Reason for taking this program:
I get to interact a lot with people for my work in the early childhood sector. I have a strong interest in the Emotional Intelligence domain. I believe coaching can help me in those interactions and conversations. I was also feeling a little stuck about what should be my next stage professionally. Coaching was an effort to gain some self-awareness as well as a skill-set to help me move forward.
What worked for you:
The interactive way the training has been designed worked well for me as it helped me reflect, think and implement many ideas.
What benefits you got:
I am a better and more patient listener. I am better at self-evaluation and self-reflection. The social experience has also been great.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Coach-To-Transformation or its parent company.