I was back in Scotland last week and in the area where I went to school for the sixth form. There was one school where I used to cross the grassy divide between the catholic school and the protestant school by bus each week so that I could study sixth-year studies history.
The school is looking tired now and a new modern one has been built but I think they still must be using it for some kind of teaching as outside there is a large yellow banner emblazoned with the words ‘Parking in front of the school gates is DANGEROUS and SELFISH.’
The words dangerous and selfish take up most of the banner. Just think, any kid who goes to school there and the first thing they see when they get to school are the words dangerous and selfish. I can just see them at the meeting where they decided on the banner – ‘No, it doesn’t work to ask them nicely, we really need to keep people safe, so we need to guilt them into it.’
Now it’s a great idea to want to keep everyone safe at the school gates, but there is a choice about how this is done.
At a nearby classy hotel, there is a parking sign outside and this parking sign is in utter contrast to the other one. It says ‘Please park safely and responsibly.’ There is an element of politeness and trust in the reader to do the right thing that is not in the first sign.
So now I’m going to get a bit life-coachy and ask you which signs are you putting up in your own mind?
Do you guilt yourself into doing things or to you speak to yourself as someone inherently good who can be trusted to do the right thing? In your own mind you get to choose how you speak to yourself. You get to choose how kind you will be to yourself.
What kind of mind signs are you putting up….(these are the recurring thoughts that you tell yourself about these areas)
shouty and mean sign – ‘You need to eat less, you fat waste of space.’
kind sign – ‘Maybe it’s possible to make some small healthy changes…’
What mind signs are up….
about your coaching practice?
about your work?
about your body?
about your diet?
about your parenting?
about your money situation?
about your writing?
Write them down and see whether they resemble the ‘dangerous and selfish’ sign or the ‘safe and responsible’ sign? Or to put this another way, do the things you say about yourself show that you have no trust in yourself and need to be spoken to harshly or are you able to speak to yourself with kindness and as someone who can be trusted to do their best?
If you’d like some help with putting up some new mind signs and consigning the rest to the scrap heap email me at email@example.com and we can get together for a short chat to see if we would be a good fit for coaching together.
Until next week,