This month’s coach nibble topic comes from Betty:
“How can you set priorities for yourself if you don’t know what’s important? For example, if you have credit card debt, chronic health conditions, hate your job, and have no time, energy, or money to do anything other than go to work and come home to sit in front of the t.v., then where do you even start to improve your life?”
That’s a doozy. I’ve been overwhelmed with suck like that before, too. Here is what I suggest.
First, sit quietly for a moment and just breathe. Center yourself in the present moment and see if you can find a few things about which you can feel grateful. They can be tiny things. Here are some examples I could list: I’m thankful for the tulips at the entrance of my apartment complex. I’m thankful for my favorite chai tea. I’m thankful for the hug my nephew gave me the other day.
I think it’s important to start this exercise with some gratitude. It will clear some space in your mind and heart to begin looking at your issues. Once you feel grounded in gratitude, ask yourself to list your issues on a piece of paper. Note the order you list them. The first one is probably the most bother to you. It might not be the most urgent or the biggest issue, but explore that one first.
Write your issue out as plainly as possible, without embellishment or adjectives. Drop the story surrounding the issue and just write the issue as a fact. “My car is old and expensive to repair.” “My boss has a leadership style I find difficult to work with.” “I spend more than I earn and carry a balance on my credit card.” Work with one issue at a time.
Looking at the fact of your issue, brainstorm some solutions. It doesn’t matter if they’re practical, just free-write a bunch of possible solutions. Try to make a list of at least 10. For example:
“My car is old and expensive to repair.”
1. Make friends with a mechanic and barter for repairs.
2. Go on the Price is Right and win a new car.
3. Sell it and use public transportation.
4. Ask around at work for a carpool buddy.
5. Take an auto repair class so I can work on it myself.
6. Get a second, part-time job and save the money to buy a new car.
7. Instead of presents, ask friends and family to help me buy new tires for my birthday.
8. Move closer to work so I can commute by bicycle.
9. Find a different job so I can work from home full-time.
10. Ask my roommate/partner if we could get by with just one car and work out a plan to share it.
The more solutions you write down, the more you train your mind to focus on the solution rather than the problem. Keep writing down solutions until you come up with a few options you could realistically try. Pick one to implement.
As you make a little progress in one area, pick another issue and do the same process. Drop the story and look at the facts, then brainstorm solutions and pick one to implement.
I would love to hear if this exercise helped you! Please leave a comment, or send me an email if you’d prefer to keep it private (exploringyourdepths @gmail.com).
If you liked working through this coach nibble and would be interested in one-on-one coaching with me, check out my coaching information page and F.A.Q. and email me if you have any questions!
I’m accepting submissions for next month’s coach nibble. If you would like to give me a topic you’re dealing with, please email it to me! (exploringyourdepths @gmail.com) I’d love my examples to directly help people. You can give me a code-name or I can just say the topic is from Anonymous for your privacy.
Everyone who suggests a coach nibble topic each month will be put in a drawing for a free 15-minute coaching session! (One entry per person per month.) You would be amazed at what we can uncover in 15 minutes, so don’t poo-poo it. When I select which topic to post that month, I’ll see if there are any common themes; or if there aren’t, I’ll select one at random, and the free session drawing will come from those who were not answered in the blog that month. (So you either get your topic posted in the blog or you get entered to win a free 15-minute session.)
If I get lots of coach nibble topics each month, I will consider doing them more often.