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The Power of Being Your Own Coach During Crisis and in Everyday Life

by Melani Kalev May 11, 2020
You are a beacon of calm, usually. But what about when things are not going so well?

Collectively, we’re all in the middle of some pretty big challenges. You’ve had to get used to working from home and only seeing your team on Zoom calls. If you live with someone, you’re now spending a lot more time together in comparison to only seeing each other in the mornings and evenings. You’re now taking on the role as parent, team member, team leader, teacher, personal trainer, cook, and guidance counselor…all in one. Juggling work, family, and personal life while stuck at home 24/7 is no simple task.

So how on earth do you manage all of these emotions and jobs without losing your mind?

Knowing how to coach yourself could be a total life-changer. 

Project Oxygen, Google’s internal manager research, says coaching is one of the top five skills that leaders in organizations should embody. However, it’s also a skill that every single person can develop to get through life’s daily challenges, and there are many coaching techniques which can help to support and manage them. 
Ajit Nawalkha is the co-founder of Evercoach by Mindvalley, the world’s leading coach training platform, and is quite the coaching guru himself. Here he shares 4 ingredients to help you find your way into clarity and calm—a state of mind we could all use.

1. Avoid Sucking Up Other People’s Negative Vibes 

Ajit Nawalkha speaking at Mindvalley University 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia

As human beings, we run on emotions and emotions can be erratic. You can easily go from a state of excitement to sadness in a matter of minutes. One of the major influences on your emotions are centered around the people you interact with and the energy they bring out in you.

If the people you talk to every day, whether in person or through a screen, have negative responses to the current state of the world, you can easily feed into their energy and let it get to you, affecting your mood and entire day. 

Or, you can detach yourself and choose not to emotionally respond. Instead, take a back seat and watch it all play out from the outside. Recognize the reality of the situation and that they are likely being affected by circumstances; there’s really no reason to let their negative energy affect you. 

You see, coaching yourself out of any situation is doable depending on how you choose to respond. You’ll end up absorbing better energy by refocusing on different and positive thoughts.  Just as the negative emotional states of others can influence you, your own emotional state can influence them. Try to flip the switch.

You’ll find that when you change the narrative, your experience will change with it.   

Remember, you can only control how you react, not how other people act. By choosing to diffuse the negative energy instead of feeding into it, you’ll help to create a better, more positive environment in the shared space for everyone.

2. The Motivation Myth 

Whether you’re starting a new business, exercising, or creating art, it’s not motivation that drives you to success. This is a common misconception. It’s actually the process. 

Motivation works parallel to your emotional state. If you’re having a good day, you feel motivated. If it’s rainy outside or you have low energy, you may not feel motivated. Without motivation, you’re more likely not to take action, which is usually followed by a lot of procrastination and unnecessary stress.

Motivation can fluctuate every minute but your process shouldn’t. It’s your system that makes your goals and plans a reality. James Clear, the author of the New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, says that motivation is the result of action, not the cause of it. It’s often easier to finish a task than to start it in the first place. So, you need to make it easy to start.

Think of writing. It’s not about being motivated, it’s about approaching it systematically. You might wake up every morning with a set number of hours to write, but you get stuck wondering what to write and end up staring at that scary blank page. You can’t keep waiting for the motivation and inspiration to strike you, or you might end up waiting forever. Instead, it’s about setting rituals and creating patterns to initiate your behaviors. 

Try creating your own pre-game routines to pull yourself into the right mental state. The most important and the most difficult part is starting. Your own small routines can make it easier and you’ll notice that your motivation comes after. The process trumps motivation every time.

3. Gain Clarity by Asking Better Questions

Fireside chat with Ajit Nawalkha and Vishen Lakhiani, Founder of Mindvalley, at Mindvalley University 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia

Life has its ups and downs. There will always be events and circumstances out of your control, triggering you in one way or another. As individuals, we need the awareness to identify opportunities that lead us to feeling a certain way. Recognizing these external factors and then asking: What can I do to change this? How will I respond, knowing I’m in the middle of my emotional reaction? Get curious about it, not reactive.

Asking questions may also be one of the most important techniques to use with your colleagues and friends. The best way to support someone else during this period is being present and hearing them out, instead of ignoring their challenge. You don’t need to take on their struggles as your own; instead listen and ask them a question to help them to better understand what they’re going through.

Is this a temporary problem or a permanent situation?

This is the beauty of coaching that people often don’t realize. Life coaches don’t need to know all the answers. They just need to know the right questions to ask. This is something you can easily start learning to do.

The Power of ‘Not Now’

A lot of people talk about the benefits of mindfulness and living in the now, but the stories you create can only go in the direction you take them. Instead of being reactive and giving into fears, challenges, and anxieties, try to refocus on what the future is going to look like. So don’t think about now—think about three months, six months, or even a year from now. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What can I do in the long-term? 
  • How can I come out of this on top? 
  • What will I learn from this?

You can do this now. Take out a journal and write down what will happen one year from now based on your current situation. If you’re looking for guidance, try the ‘Three Most Important Questions’ exercise with Vishen Lakhiani. The moment you embrace and start building upon the future, your current reality becomes a lot easier to deal with.

Conclusion

When you’re leaning into your emotions every day, you’ll feel like life is either going really well or really bad. You’re always going to have the occasional irrational or emotional response toward factors outside your control. The trick is to become aware and not react to them. 

If you don’t want to lose your mind when dealing with stressful situations, step out of the current reality and look at yourself to see what’s really happening and focus on the long-term perspective. Don’t focus on what you think is happening, but rather what is actually happening.

An even bigger perk to this is that your own self-coaching can also have a positive impact on your friends, family and colleagues. You don’t need to be a superhero who has all the answers. It’s more often about actively listening and asking powerful questions, whether to those you interact with, or to yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about how coaching can bring you the answers you need, check out Evercoach by Mindvalley.

How do you stay calm in a crisis?


(This article was based on a Mindvalley Podcast with Ajit Nawalkha, written and edited by Melani Kalev.) 

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