One powerful skill in coaching is making distinctions. Sometimes we’ve unconsciously collapsed multiple definitions or ideas together into one big fat limiting belief. “Since I got passed over for a promotion, I must not be worthy.” “I didn’t do my meditation today, that means I’m lazy and undisciplined.” Oh and my favorite, given the title of this post, “I suck at math, so I must be stupid.” Sure those are perspectives to hold AND they’re likely to keep you feeling very stuck or sorry for yourself. Not very productive or compassionate for that matter.
By untangling these definitions from each other, we’re able to see what’s really true for us and are opened up to a whole new world of options.
Here are some collapsed definitions that I sometimes trip myself up on. Creativity = Art (and the subset of that… Art = Visual Art). With the help of our handy transitive equation from algebra class that means I am only creative when I’m doing visual art. Wow, that’s incredibly limiting, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s the latest collapsed definition that I’ve been challenged with. Yoga = Asanas (and only of the Ashtanga variety since that’s what I’m trained in). For the last several months I’ve been dealing with a possible stress fracture in my foot. I’ve been extremely frustrated. I’ve made up that I can’t do yoga because it’s too intense and I need to stay off my feet. Well, over the past couple of days I’ve come to my senses and realized I’ve been in the grip of a collapsed definition. Simply by naming that, I feel more hopeful. I’ve reminded myself that yoga is also about breath (pranayama) and yoga is also very restorative. I can modify poses any way that I want and that will serve where my body is at. And developing my own sequence of healing poses is indeed a creative process (which blows my above collapsed definition about creativity out of the water, too!).
Which collapsed definitions trip you up? If you tease them apart, what new options do you see?