This chapter possibly should have been chapter one of this book. It’s possibly the most asked question that either I get from my students or it’s the most asked question in your head.
Have I got what it takes?
I don’t have my own life sorted, how can I help others?
I don’t even know where to start….
Any of these sounding like the conversation replaying in your head?
One of the myths of working with other people is the idea that you must have your own life completely sorted out before you can help other people.
If we all adopted that belief none of us would be equipped to help other people.
I’m going to burst that bubble for you – no one has their life completely figured out. No one. Anyone who says they have is lying. I don’t have it figured out. My students don’t have their lives completely sorted. Neither do our graduates or the other 7 billion occupants of this planet. We are all a work in progress – right up until we die.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. I think you just need to be on the path to figuring things out. Being open and active to resolving your own issues and doing the work on yourself to be a better person. Be “on your own journey” so the cliché goes. Those are the vital components to being able to help others – not the misguided idea that you must have it figured out.
When I started training as a Life Coach/NLP Practitioner it was because I wanted to help other people. I didn’t think I had to do work on me. It simply didn’t cross my mind. I came into it with great intentions of helping other people. What surprised me was – how much work I had to do on myself. On me. It hadn’t dawned on me that there was anything wrong with my life. I thought I was in a great place emotionally.
My journey began and that was close to a decade ago.
I embraced the work that had to be done on me. My patterns. My behaviours. My victimhood. My beliefs. My rule book of what was right and wrong. Letting go of the idea that I could change others. Moving away from the idea that I was broken.
It was tough. It was confronting. Some days it was heart wrenching. But I did the work. I faced my fears. I embraced my flaws. I committed to developing my own self-love.
I stepped into my own coaching space and started to help others. The more people I helped the more I learned about me, the more people I worked with the more my skills improved. The more people I worked with the more of my personal issues I resolved. The more I did with them the better I was feeling about myself.
I didn’t have to have my own issues or have my own life completely sorted BEFORE I started working with other people. And neither do you.
Now some of you aren’t thinking about the time that you’ll spend with clients, you’re worried about all the technology you might have to learn, or the marketing lingo that you don’t even understand yet. Some of you will know that you can nail the interpersonal skills stuff easily. Let me remind you. As at writing this Guide, I am nearing my 55th birthday. I am definitely not a Millennial who was born with an iPhone in their hand. Not that there’s anything wrong with Millennials. I gave birth to a couple of sons who are just outside being Millennials. My point is – if I can learn the marketing lingo, if I can work out the technology. so can you. I don’t care what age you are.
A number of years ago my step-mum decided she wanted one of those phones like we all had. The ones where you can have all those app-y things, and type in something to chat to people, share some photos and generally be, dare I say, an annoying old person on Facebook. She wanted WhatsApp. She wanted to know what we all found so fascinating about these devices. We would all roll our eyes at her and she knew it. One day she appears with the latest iPhone and she is looking smug. She had taken herself off to her nearest phone store and got herself “one of those phones”. Not only did she do that all by herself, but she be-friended the store assistant who helped her set everything up. She got Facebook installed, Snapchat and WhatsApp. She worked out how access all her apps. She even took this a step further. She got so good on her phone, that she became the “tech-support” for her Bingo friends when they couldn’t work out their phones. She played around with it. She worked it out. Since then she has worked out her iPad and her Apple TV too. Everything is Figure-out-Able if you just take your time. By the way – she was 72 years of age at that time.
Ooooo I just love this topic! Imposter Syndrome. Even the name sounds so sinister! Imposter Syndrome.
Many of you reading this will not even have a clue what I’m talking about here and some of you are already cringing under the table!
I think Imposter Syndrome is potentially the most crippling thought pattern that any person can adopt.
I see it all the time in our school. Students who are learning lots, applying it with clients and practice sessions and still running the voice in their head that asks, “are you good enough to do this?”. Your voice might not say those exact words, but I bet it’s something similar.
Imposter Syndrome comes from that little voice in your own head. The one that says “oh, but what will people say” when you try to do something new. Or it says, “you know you’re not qualified for this”. Then there is the mother of all voices “who on earth do you think you are trying to do this?” you know THAT voice. We all have one. We quite often listen to it too.
It comes from the belief that you can’t learn something new. It’s the fear of judgement from other people in your life. It comes from you judging YOU!
It’s that inner feeling of being a fraud, a fake, a phoney. It’s that fear that someone will work out that you can’t do it, and you’ll be exposed. This thought pattern can happen when you are new at something or been doing the same thing for many years.
I listened to a great podcast interview the other day on this very topic. The guests on this show were successful career women who had been doing the same sort of job for more than a decade, yet they both admitted they still suffered with Imposter Syndrome. They still had doubts about themselves, their abilities and that one day someone would work out that they weren’t good at their job.
I think Imposter Syndrome happily props itself up by our lack of self-worth. Those thoughts that make us sabotage things in our life. Those thoughts that we aren’t worthy of great things turning out for us. That we aren’t able or aren’t capable. Its propped up by our fears of being exposed and our totally avoidance of anything that feels vulnerable. I think Imposter Syndrome is fed by our repeating dialogue of self-doubt and questioning our own judgement too.
The only person truly keeping you stuck in any Imposter Syndrome is YOU.
Not your parents, or your upbringing. Not in the circumstances or events that shaped your life. Not in your present environment, career or relationship. It’s a voice in your own head. You control it. You own it. You can manage it. I know you can because I did. So do my students. So do the clients we work with.
When I first started my Life Coach training my favourite teacher used an analogy that I still love today. He asked us to picture a mother duck and her babies. They are all waddling around pecking and picking, seemingly not paying attention to very much. Yet, look what happens when mother starts to move. The babies all fall into line behind her. She takes a step. She moves. The same is going to be the path for you. This example is also known as waiting for your ducks to line up. The path, or the right steps don’t show themselves until you take that step. Things fall into place AFTER you take a step. Not before. So, take that STEP.
If everyone waited until they were good enough, or qualified or ready, no one would take that step. Nothing would get done in this world. Nothing.
Imposter Syndrome is, simply put, total BS. So, stop it! Now!
It starts with you.
You got this!
Isn’t it funny how we all think that everyone else has this all sorted out, except for us?
Where does that comes from? Is it social media? Is it the way we look at what other people own?
Is it because we all wear masks when we are near other people, so no one sees the real us? The Real You?
Needing to have your own life completely sorted out before you can help anyone else is probably the biggest fallacy in the coaching and healing industry that I have heard.
One of my earliest mentors told me that I only need to be one step ahead of any client. And for me, this seems to be true. He also told me that the Universe won’t send me any clients that I can’t handle. This also seems to have been true in my career too. So, with this as my baseline, it stood to reason that the more work I did on my own issues, the more clients turned up with deeper, better or whatever you want to call them, issues for me to work with. I was always at least one step ahead of them.
Do you need to be working on your own issues, resolving them and working through them? Yes, I believe you absolutely do. If you are stagnant in your personal development, how can you expect your clients to work on theirs? I am not suggesting you can’t take a break from “working on you”. I am talking about the people who finish a course such as certification in EFT Practitioner/Coaching and think they don’t need to learn anything else.
When our clients come to see us, their total focus is all about them. And so, it should be. After all they are the ones handing over the cash. Our clients aren’t asking us about us. They are usually nervous about saying the right thing, worried about being judged. They are thinking they aren’t good enough.
If both of you are worried about not being good enough, chances are the session won’t be very successful and your clients won’t get the results that I know are possible for them.
If you had to have it all sorted out before you worked with anyone – none of us would be working with anyone!
Vulnerability is a concept that I have been embracing lately. It’s being whipped up in a bit of a frenzy in the self-help arenas a lot too. Initially I didn’t quite get it. Then when I did get it, I was in total avoidance of it. Now that I am prepared to embrace it, I am understanding its power. I also now understand the paralysing fear that comes from avoiding showing any vulnerability too.
So how does this relate to getting to know the real you?
Vulnerability is one of the key reasons we wear masks. Those masks that keep other people from seeing the real us. Many humans run a fear pattern that if someone sees the real us, they won’t like us. I know that was my pattern. I’m a single woman and when I met a man, I would have a dialogue run in my head that went like this – “when he knows the real me, he won’t like me”. I didn’t realise this translated to me wearing a mask, keeping the real me from him, playing the good girl and not speaking up when my boundaries were breached.
I know that everyone is intuitive. Even the people who don’t believe they are intuitive, can feel, smell or simply recognise a lack of authenticity in someone. The only way to be truly authentic as you, is to allow a level of vulnerability in. The more you practice allowing vulnerability in, the easier it feels, and the more you shine through.
As a Practitioner, if you aren’t willing to allow a level of vulnerability into your life, you will be unable to allow your authenticity to shine through. This will impact your client numbers, and thus your income.
In Coaching, there is a concept of Shadow Values. That shadow side of us that no one wants to talk about. Most people hide their shadow side from themselves, with zero intention of sharing that side of them with anyone else. To me shadow values are that side of me that I wouldn’t share with a girlfriend at coffee. It’s the thoughts that may not be socially acceptable, so we keep those thoughts hidden. Just before I started my Life Coaching Diploma, I enrolled in a Certification course as a Trainer and Assessor in the adult education space. When I had to present to the class, while I was nervous. I loved it! I loved being in front of a class. I loved the ability to share my knowledge and I found out that I was really good at it. The Shadow Values I had in my head included:
- being centre of attention was vain
- saying I was really good at something was showing off
Saying that I was a really good trainer, and that I loved being out the front of a class felt wrong to me. I can still hear my Mother in Laws words – “self-praise is no praise at all.” She really frowned upon saying you were good at anything. For fear of fitting in, in so many parts of my life, I didn’t think I could tell anyone that I had found something I was great. I feared what they thought and more important what was said. Saying I was great at something also contradicted the story in my head, it went against how I had been brought up, and the parameters of my first marriage, i.e. good girls are quiet and don’t draw attention to themselves.
I believe in many instances that our own Shadow Values keep us afraid of being vulnerable and showing the world the real us.
I’m going to encourage you to look at your own Shadow Values, consider are they still serving you and resolve any conflict they are causing. This way you will get to know so much more about yourself. By the way, there is nothing wrong with any of our Shadow Values. It’s simply working out whether they are working well in our current life and doing something about them.
The human brain has this fabulous way of keeping us safe.
We can be tapping through something deep and meaningful, or even working on the issue in our journal. We’re making progress and getting to the heart of something. Then suddenly there is an emotional reaction (however small) and you find yourself checking your phone or heading to the kettle or even worse the fridge or pantry. Often, it’s so subtle we don’t even recognise that we have done this.
Ever experienced that? I know I have. I really had to work hard on breaking my pantry gazing obsession. It was my go-to when tasks were really challenging in my business, or a new marketing thing I was trying to do stressed me out.
This is what happens when we try to work through issues on our own. Our unconscious brain is wired for one job, and one job only, and that’s to keep us alive. It removes us from danger (whether real or perceived), in whatever way it can. Now in a world where physical harm to our bodies isn’t what it was for our caveman predecessors, our brain still has a lot of tagged memories of things that upset up, worry us, bother us. So, our unconscious mind works to remove us from danger when we get too close to these memories.
The mind will distract us. It will make seemingly less important tasks seem suddenly very important. It removes us from that danger which is the uncovering of the thought, the emotion, the reaction that your mind has safely locked away.
This is also what makes us as Practitioners invaluable in the healing space. We work with our clients to untag those memories, bothersome thoughts and past upsets. We hold the space for clients to work through these issues safely, while with us. We hold that space so that they don’t flee away from the emotions as they arise. We work through it with them.
There is one antidote to this – and one only. Do the work on your own issues. Whether that is by yourself or with a certified Practitioner.
Otherwise the risk you will face is being triggered by something your client shares with you. This could result in anything from just a face flush, to an emotional trigger where you fight back tears and to a complete break in rapport while you manage your own emotions.
This is quite common place as a Practitioner when you haven’t done the work on you to resolve your own issues AND haven’t mastered your own emotions in a coaching space.
When I was first a Life Coach, almost a decade ago, I hadn’t really mastered the art of leaving my ego at the door and 100% focus on my client. Like many new coaches my focus did dart in and out of my own stuff and occasionally I’ll admit I did disconnect from a client and not hear what they were saying. This was not only embarrassing but I also felt I was not doing my job either. It also set me on the path of mastering 100% focus on my client without any distractions.
As an empath and a Coach, I also hadn’t managed to master my own emotions either. My first couple of clients who had experienced trauma were heart wrenching for me. Tears would well up in my eyes or I would feel such a tug at my heart for them.
At that point I knew that I had to get great at holding the space, recognising their journey wasn’t mine and finding ways to manage my own emotions in that space.
In a coaching space, we can also get triggered by clients experiencing a similar symptom as us with a very different life event that caused it. In my early days I seemed to attract both men and women who had suffered abuse in some way or other as children. It hadn’t suffered any abuse that I knew of so in a literal sense I didn’t need to resolve any abuse, but I did work out that I had to resolve trust issues that I had.
One of the techniques we teach our students, and I hope that other EFT schools teach it too, is the use of the Personal Peace Procedure. It’s like taking stocktake of every bothersome memory, thought or event from your life and Tapping on one issue a day. Just by doing this daily you are clearing 365 issues from your unconscious mind. Pretty cool, eh?
I believe we learn something from every single client we work with. Whether that’s something about ourselves or a new way to ask a question, or a new way to apply a technique. We learn something in every session.
While you are working with your clients, they will be Tapping along with you. You might be working with a client on, say a childhood abandonment issue that they bring up. When you are saying your set up statements or while Tapping through the points, your unconscious mind is accessing memories in your mind where you might have felt abandoned as a child. This is accessing the power of the borrowing benefits technique of Tapping. The shifts for you could be very subtle, which is perfectly fine since the session is all about your client. However, these added benefits of the more clients that you tap with, and the variety of topics you work with them on, opens up a whole new level of your own healing while helping them.
YES!! That’s a resounding yes you can. I love hearing of success stories from people who are classified as “later in life”. Louise Hay published her first book when she was 50. Colonel Sanders started marketing his chicken coating recipe after he had retired (& received more than 900 rejections!!!). He was over 60. I have a dear friend who enrolled in her first University degree when she was 55. I started the Australian Tapping Institute when I was 51.
Can you study at your age? Yes, you can – whatever age you are. And yes, you can change your career. Yes, you can add to your career.
And for those of us who need a permission note
“I, Lorna, give you [insert your name] PERMISSION to desire a life you love, on your own terms, doing something you love. I give YOU permission to want more, to have more, to BE more. I give you permission to embark on study at whatever age you are. I give you permission to start SOMETHING…Anything!
Now for some of you that will seem so silly and pointless, for some of you – it’s exactly what you need. Too often we talk ourselves out of something because unconsciously we are waiting for permission to do it. This sounds like procrastination. It sounds like excuses. It sounds like prioritising everything else in life and not us. Sometimes the permission note is what is missing. So today, I give you permission to go for it. And if my permission slip isn’t enough for you, then write one for yourself. Whether it’s permission to embark on EFT Practitioner training, or something else that takes your interest. Whether it’s simply prioritising your own needs above others just once today – write yourself a permission slip. Make today your day.
And since I’m a mind reader let’s also talk about the technology block that you’re probably now thinking about. Did you read the story of my step-mum and her iPhone above? Everything is figure-out-able. Everything. Whatever course of study you enrol in that uses technology – they should have a support system you can access. Make sure you know what this looks like before you enrol. They should help you to access your study classes and get you on the right path. They should have people who can walk you through to get you started. If you are not sure what technology you will need, either call or email them and ask. Don’t go in blind and find out later that you don’t have the right equipment. Ask up front. These days reputable online schools will have learning modules that can be accessed on mobile/cell phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. They will have email support and/or an online community. If you aren’t sure, get in touch with them and find out.
Don’t let your fear of technology stop you from having the life you want to lead.
Do you really suck at helping people or is this just your “I’m not good enough” dialogue running the show?
If you honestly, truly do not feel called to help other people, perhaps EFT Practitioner/Coach is not a career for you. We are not here to get rich quick off the back of another person’s trauma or life challenges. We are called to professions such as this because we genuinely want to make a difference in someone else’s life.
However, if you feel called to help other people or if you just know you want to make a bigger impact than you have been doing so far, perhaps you are in the right place.
When I was in a corporate job and would recruit for teams, I always held the belief that I can’t teach attitude. I can’t teach “fit” for a team. I can’t train someone to want to have a desire to be great at their job. But I could always teach them any skills I needed them to have.
I believe the same for enrolment by anyone into any EFT Practitioner training course.
No one can teach you desire to help others.
No one can teach you compassion, or empath or service.
We can all teach you the tools, the techniques and the skills, but no one can give you the desire to help better our world.
Having said all that, if this is just your inner dialogue of doubt, worry and judgement (of you!) raising its head, stick around!
It’s not uncommon to think you suck at helping other people
It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear you think you suck at helping other people if you’ve had little experience in doing so, or if you have been trying to help people who don’t want to be helped. There is a whole wave of people out there bitching, whinging and moaning about their life circumstances who have no intention whatsoever of giving up their story and actually changing their life. If you have mistakenly been trying to help these people, no wonder you are somewhat jaded by the experience.
This world is changing. I believe people are becoming even more enlightened, and open to change. I believe so many people are looking for better ways to live a great life and know that there is so much more available for them, if they could just change a couple of things.
Make this question one you do actually ponder before you enrol in any EFT training course. Chances are, though, if you are reading this Guide, you genuinely want to help others but your “not good enough” committee in your own head are shouting you down at the moment.
Send that committee off to watch Netflix, feel into your own heart and you’ll know whether this career is for you.
I think we all get to a place in life where we ask, “what’s next for me?” It happens at all different ages, but I think it’s common. Some people act on this urge. Others bury themselves into something less meaningful, but completely safe. Some people act out and start doing wild or out of character things. Others just dig in to their world they think is safe. My school is full of people who have asked themselves “what’s next for me?” and decided to step into a career helping others.
We as a species, seem to love labels to help us explain things. To explain why people, act different, do different, behave differently. We love labels. “He’s having a mid-life crisis” is a common term for men. Women don’t seem to get the same label. Women often get the opportunity to change careers though, often brought on by child rearing and stepping partially or fully out of their career to raise the family. Often men stay in the same career all their lives, whether they are happy in it or not. At times this can be driven by their need to support a family which could limit choices for them.
We all reach those crossroads at some stage. However, it’s what you do with those crossroads that matters.
Personally, I dislike labels.
My question to you is – does it matter WHY you are wondering “what’s next for me?” Is it important to label this? Versus actually looking at your life. Looking at what isn’t working and considering solutions to make it work again? Does it need a label? Do you need to listen to anyone else’s label about your ideas, dreams or plans?
What if you ARE in your 50’s and want a career change. So, what! Who are you waiting for permission from?
What if you are in your 60’s and people are talking about “retirement” all around you. Yet you know you are too young to sit at Bingo all day. Not that there’s anything wrong with Bingo, but you know there is more to your life beyond employment to be doing nothing.
What if you ARE in your 30’s or 40s. A solo parent? A burnt out Executive? Someone who has had a life changing event that has shifted your trajectory of what you thought your life would be about. A divorce. A death. A near death. Or you just woke up and realised – there is more to life than what you have been living.
Again – who are YOU waiting for permission from?
Your partner? A parent. Your kids? Your brother or sister? Or just yourself?
Dump any of societies labels on your decision to change your life or shift direction.
Give yourself permission to want more. To have more and more importantly, to BE more. You’re worth it. And if you still can’t give yourself permission to live your dreams, feel free to email me and my team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will happily write you a permission slip!
We hear this question a lot and it can be so demoralising and upsetting when you are all excited and want to embark on something pretty special for yourself. Perhaps you have tried other things and they haven’t worked out the way you wanted to. Perhaps your family is worried about what your new venture means to them and their world. Sometimes it’s the cost. Often, it’s the time you will want to dedicate to your new thing. Sometimes it’s a plain old case of them projecting their fears of the known onto you.
Whatever their thing – the lack of support can be upsetting, can make you resentful and it can kill your dreams (again!) if you let it.
I didn’t get a whole lot of support from my family either. My immediate family were concerned about how much less I would be doing for them while my focus shifted to study. I had a husband, teenage sons and a full-time career. My slightly more extended family couldn’t understand what I was doing so they were not very helpful when it came to practice on someone.
For me, this was where my schools online community was invaluable. I could connect with fellow students, even ones I never had met. I could voice my concerns and get some support where needed. I could ask questions and get feedback and responses. I knew that this career path was the one for me and I was determined to make it happen.
For me, recognising my WHY was imperative. Why did I want to make coaching my next career? What was coaching going to bring me or do for me (and no this ISN’T about the money!) Once I emotionally connected to why I wanted a career helping others the lack of support from them because less important. I knew why I wanted it, so the obstacles became speedbumps. I knew even back then that everything was figure-out-able. I just had to figure it out. Connect to your WHY. Why do you want this? What will it mean to you? How will it change you?
One of the most wonderful side effects I have witnessed in my EFT training academy is the shifts in relationships that our students experience outside of their EFT training. We hear stories of marriages becoming stronger. We hear of people’s other careers taking off where before they were unfulfilling. We hear stories of people being happier within themselves or their relationships with people they conflicted with, resolving themselves.
While at the outset they don’t support you, that doesn’t mean as you progress through your training that their attitudes won’t shift. When you light up talking about what you are learning and applying it doesn’t mean they won’t notice. When you start working on your own issues, organically the way you interact with others will shift. Our family feels this. We feel this.
I recommend to anyone that now you have found EFT to try it on everything, every day. It’s such an incredible tool but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that!
When you are trying to build any new business, you are going to come across all manner of inner dialogue conversations telling you that you can’t do this, that you’re not good enough or that it’s just too much work and blah, blah, blah…
Step 1. Be kind to yourself. Recognise that your unconscious mind is just trying to keep you safe. Thank it, not scold it
Step 2. Recognise where some of your blocks are. Say you are procrastinating on doing your study and prioritising other things. You wouldn’t just tap on procrastination. You would delve a little deeper into the emotion. Perhaps you could ask yourself “What am I feeling about doing this study” and you would tap on your response. You could perhaps ask yourself “Why am I allowing all these other things to take priority over what I want?”
Step 3. When you have your responses. Tap on each of them for 2-3 rounds of Tapping. Then check in on that response again. If you are still feeling an intensity around your response, do a couple of rounds of Tapping.
Step 4. Keep working through your responses until you resolve them all
Now this is a very simplistic view of helping your own clients overcome blocks to their own success, but you can see the process. Identify what the real emotion is, and tap on that emotion, check in with yourself. We use a system of grouping our students into small groups so they can practice on each other and we encourage them to bring issues such as this to these calls. If your school doesn’t have a formal system such as this, reach out to someone else who is training in your school. You will all be experiencing similar blocks to studying, establishing your business model, getting practice clients and getting support.
Remember, we use the table top and table leg analogy. We don’t Tap on the presenting issue. That’s referred to as a table top. We want to uncover your client’s beliefs and limits and tap on those. We refer to those as the table legs.
In the table legs is where you will make the most progress in clearing your own blocks to success.
I love the idea of the roles we play.
Which hat do you wear? Who drives your bus?
These are all metaphors for describing the roles we play daily.
From working with so many clients over the years, I know that understanding the roles we play and how to manage these roles, are a huge contributor of whether we are a success with a new venture or not.
When I first learned this metaphor, I thought it was like some sort of schizophrenia. Split personality. Voices in my head. However, as I came to understand them, they really made sense. And they made perfect sense when I could look back at the role I was playing in a particular circumstance and the outcome that I got from that.
When my husband and I would argue, it could get quite heated, slinging comments and insults back and forth. When I was working with a counsellor through my divorce, she likened this to a pair of teenagers in the playground arguing. This is when the whole “which role do I play” concept really made sense. Since then I have developed the analogy of “who drives your bus” so I’m going to use that to expand on this concept for you.
When I explain this concept to people I have them imagine a bus with rows of seats, including the driver’s seat. Throughout the day, depending on what we are doing and who we are doing it with, we swap roles regularly. Imagine this as your bus driver being swapped over. When you are with one of your parents or a caregiver, you will behave in a certain way, and say certain things. As a parent to your own children, you will usually behave differently to how you are with, say your own parents. As an employee or a business owner you would behave differently to how you are with your children, partner or your parents. You would probably behave differently when with your friends or on a sporting field. Some people even behave different when they are with different friends! Each of these are the roles you play, also known as the drivers on the bus that is your life. There will be some of you reading this and thinking that you behave in exactly the same way all the time with no change. For you, the bus driver swap has not been noticed yet. There will be many of you who are already seeing what roles you play in different scenarios and how you swap drivers throughout the day. There is power is understanding this concept AND being able to swap your drivers at will.
When my husband and I argued we both stepped into our former teenage selves. Our bus driver was the versions of ourselves who would be in the playground standing our ground and defending ourselves. We were married adults, yet a teenage defensive “us” had taken over the driving at that time and was behaving the way we would have in that time of our life.
Can you relate to times when you behaved anything like this, particularly in a conflict situation?
When I worked this concept out, I realised that for anything to change between him and I one of us had to do something different when we were in conflict. Since I was the one learning all the behavioural models and choosing to be a coach, I felt it was my responsibility to make the changes and test the outcome. I tried showing up with a range of different “bus drivers” and just this shift changed the way we interacted with each other. The conflict was nothing like it had been, and we could then work on resolving the conflict rather than the constant battle things had been. I learned to swap drivers at will! This for me, was life changing.
Remember in an earlier chapter, we talked about your unconscious brain keeping you away from danger. Well this ability to change roles (bus drivers) is a key part of that self defence mechanism that we all have. The key, though is to have the right bus driver, driving, at the right time. If we turn up at our workplace in brat teenage tantrum throwing mode, this could potentially have career-limiting outcomes! The same goes for having your wounded child step into an adult intimate relationship. Can you remember a time when you went to visited one of your parents and they scolded you, or didn’t approve of something you were doing? What age did that make you feel? Quite often, when I ask this question of my clients, they can tell me exactly what age they feel in that moment! At first this all seems quite bizarre but imagine the possibilities for your future communication with other people when the right bus driver is driving!
Now you might be wondering why I am including this concept in a book about being an EFT Practitioner/Coach.
One of the things that stops so many potential students from enrolling in an EFT training course is that little voice in their head that goes something like this, “are you sure you have what it takes?” or “I’m not sure you can really do this” or even worse “who do you think you are to help other people? Look what a mess your own life it”. Sound familiar?
From my experience, this concept of who drives your bus, or the roles you play have a massive impact on this. For so many people stepping into this new space whether as a new career or adding to an existing career is the lack of “bus driver” as a you, the coach! I see this in our own students all the time. They doubt themselves, they question their ability yet when we support them to develop a “Coach bus driver” all that changes.
As humans we all have a perception of ourselves, and where we fit in this world. Our bus drivers help us with this.
If you have experienced a living arrangement with an intimate partner this was all new at the beginning and you had to develop a new way of behaving in this new role.
When we go from school children into the adult workforce, again this is all new at the beginning and you develop a way of behaving that works in your new environment.
When you become a parent or step into a care-giver role.
When you change into a new career, or even when you accept a big promotion.
When you take on your first employee in your own business you must learn how to be an effective leader for this employee.
These are all times when you will have developed a new bus driver or upgraded an existing one.
If you are one of those people with the dialogue running in your head “who are you to think you can do this?” I ask you to consider spend a bit of time recognising where and how you swap those bus drivers in your head during your day. If you developed one bus driver, you can develop others. We watch our students do this all the time, and then we watch them flourish!
Like so many of the concepts I have shared throughout this book, this metaphor is an incredibly powerful tool to help your clients to make sense of conflicts in their world and to give them a simple to use way to change how they experience every relationship they have.
Spend time with you today and notice how you do this.