Seeing Beyond Success Whenever people question me about 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 is much more targeted on the issue, whereas Coaching is regarding good opportunities.” This suggests that coaches, hardcore self-developers and similar people normally go around with an extremely positive mindset, apparently inhabiting a life where the sun always shines, and the place in which for each of life's difficulties - oops sorry! - “challenges”, there is a reassuring belief/rationalisation/slogan that makes it all appear like something that they desired all along. Lost your job? “Now I'm free to pursue my real purpose!” Boyfriend left you? “It wasn't 'meant' to be!” Best friend just died? “Everything happens for a reason!” Now don't get me wrong, I believe that many of these people really do experience really 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 pertains to the way we respond to what’s happening in our lives. So possibly there are times when the relentlessly positive isn't what we might want to hear. For those times, we require an alternative - one that acknowledges that we at times can’t 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. Certainly saying this is only a reminder of what we actually already know. But it’s also an invitation to act as if we did in fact know it, and to make the choice, to the best of our capacity, to be totally unaffected by the truth that the world is constructed the way that it is (since let us face it, it is, isn't it?) The traditional life-coachy cliché, “There is no failure, only feedback” can be an extremely empowering slant. But so can “It is natural and really OK that we do not always get, or get to keep, what we decided to put on our wish list”. Because once
we keep in mind that the universe wasnâ€™t designed to be an infinite gratification machine for our each and every need and wish, life turns out to be not difficult, but significantly easier! It saddens me that in the self-development industry the role models talked about are those who have succeeded enormously (which invariably translates as raking in inconceivable numbers of dollars or by accomplishing global celebrity status by â€œsellingâ€? their ideas). Certainly a happy and meaningful life does not need to be like this?! It might simply be me, but personally I'm a lot more impressed by those who have learnt to accept and live tremendously well with the unsuccesses they experience on their path.