By: Erich Jordan
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith – Henry Ward Beecher
Success means different things to different people but most will concede that it can well be measured by the degree to which we realize our dreams in life. Many, having achieved some success by societal and/or family standards still feel unsuccessful when measured against their own dreams. More often than not it’s a lack of faith in these dreams that allows fear to flourish and keeps their dreams tightly locked away. As we learn to fear the differences in others, failure, the unknown, being rejected or being out of control, we end up towing the line and conforming to the norm. This power tool is designed to move clients from fear of, to faith in, their dreams.
Faith is not the absence of fear, but rather a force equal but opposite to it. Both forces effect action, faith empowering us and moving us towards our dreams while fear paralyses us, atrophying our limbs and freezing our hearts. Both have the power to conform us to what we pay our attention to. If we choose to occupy our minds with reasons for our dreams to fail we transform these dwarfs into giants and create our own self-fulfilling prophecies. If on the other hand we focus on our vision and allow it to grow large within our hearts and minds we starve our fears, smothering them with optimism as we harness the power of our dreams. A heart filled with faith is a hothouse for new ideas, creative solutions and ambitious goals, whereas fear sees anything new as hostile, dangerous and a threat to the status quo. Fear counsels caution while faith only adventure. Moving from fear to faith is therefore of vital importance if we ever hope to realize our dreams and become truly successful.
Operating in faith is completely natural for us whereas fear is primarily a learned reaction to perceived danger. Much of healthy human behaviour is undertaken in faith, in the confidence that things will work out as they should. Few of us really understand the inner workings of a computer and yet we set about using them in the full expectation that they will do what it is they are support to. The same is true of the vehicles we use; it’s our faith in the breaking system of a motorcar or the pilot of a commercial aircraft that allows most of us to embark upon and make the trip we do each day. Those who cannot muster such normal faith stay on the ground, refuse to use elevators, walk or simply stay at home, safe behind their heavily bolted doors. Such fear is no more normal than is losing faith in our dreams. Like confidence, it grows with each victory and the more we practice it the easier it becomes.
Faith like a muscle needs to be nourished and exercised regularly for it to grow strong. The protein powder of faith is your vision, goals and dreams. Spending time each day visualizing where you ‘dream to be’ and what you plan to achieve is essential to the development of faith. It’s a habit best practiced throughout the day whenever our minds are free to wonder. Day dreaming can be a great source of empowering energy. Feeding your mind with imagines of success before falling asleep each night is another great way to rob fear of its early morning haunt while at the same time stimulating your brain to creative solutions while you sleep. Early morning meditation and ‘event enactments’ are also great ways to move from fear to faith. If you have already ‘moved through’ or enacted an appointment, meeting or encounter earlier in the day when the time comes your mind is prepared to respond in faith rather than react to fear.
Actual pictures and verbal articulation of where you ‘dream to be’ are also great tools to cultivate faith. Having a picture of your dream home, car, job or holiday stuck under the sun visor of your car, on your bathroom mirror or simply in your wallet can be a great injection to your faith when fear threatens. A mantra or statement of faith to repeat to yourself also serves well to keep your mind focused on your vision (Interestingly enough our minds find it difficult to focus on anything other than what our mouths are saying). Pay attention to how you speak of your dreams and goals to other people. We sometimes unwittingly erode faith in our dreams through the negative language we use to speak of them. As faith grows, it’s more common to find oneself speaking of a future dream as if it were a realized reality.
Several smaller, but successful steps en route to your mountain peak are more beneficial to your faith than any number of failed attempts at reaching it in one leap. Have an action plan that includes primary as well as secondary goals. Plot these on a map together with a proposed route, time line and picnic spots. Scaling these smaller peaks en route to a primary goal is important as it gives reason to celebrate each victory, take in the view and builds confidence towards the next
goal. Before setting out on each adventure, take time to ‘repack’ your life, to make adjustments to the content and balance of our luggage. Provisions may need to be made for extra time and energy. Priorities may need to be altered and certain skills may need to be added or honed in preparation for each new journey. Attainable, well prepared for goals generate confidence and stimulate faith to higher and bolder levels. Repeated failed attempts at goals beyond all reasonable reach are certain to have the opposite effect.
1. What importance does faith hold for you?
2. What do you nourished your faith on?
3. What practices have you in place to develop your faith?
4. When last did you overcome a fear through faith?
5. How do you plot, route and repacked for your goals?
6. What is the ‘Statement of Faith’ in your dream?
Coaching is about creating action and movement from where we are to where we ‘dream to be’. Most people create this movement through self-determination and discipline. Such action will always be limited by how heavy the load is and the incline of the slope it’s being pushed up. The Faith vs. Fear tool is a great aid in developing ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ energy in clients.
1. Exposing Irrational Fear
Soon after creating movement towards a client’s goals, a slowing down if not outright stop may be witnessed. This is often due to deep seated and irrational fears that lie in wait around the first bend in the road. It’s often helpful to discuss such fears as the very act of articulating and exposing them to the light can be enough to reveal how irrational they are. Our brains have been conditioned over millions of years to expect danger and sound an alarm when faced with new experiences. Sometimes this fear is appropriate and can save our lives while at other times it needs merely to be acknowledged and put aside.
2. Developing Powerful Faith
More important to the creation of positive movement is the development of powerful faith in and imagery of the client’s dreams and plans. Tools and exercises that develop dreams into realistic vision and measurable goals are very helpful. It’s important to spend more time working on what the client ‘dreams to be’ than trying to dismantle their fears. As flight is not achieved through dismantling the force of gravity, so fear is never destroyed but overcome through the greater force of faith that lifts and carries us on.
Some known and less known exercises include:
1. Creating a Dream Board
2. A Designer Life Exercise
3. Discovering Your Success Life Line
4. Routing & Repacking Exercise
5. Mapping & Plotting Exercise
A ‘Mapping & Plotting’ exercise developed by The Coachman for use with this tool has proven very helpful as a means to visualizing where one is in life and what to consider when plotting a route to where one dreams to be.
Mapping & Plotting Exercise:
- List the Non Negotiable, Flexible, Energizing & Dangerous parts of your life.
- Reduce each list to only three items.
- Prioritise the three items in each list from 1 to 3.
- Name & link each item on all the lists to Mountains, Rivers, Lakes, Forests, Gorges, Swamps,
- Deserts or any other feature.
- Plot yourself at the centre and arrange these items on your map in greater or lesser proximity
- according to their priority.
1. How could you use this tool in your coaching sessions?
2. Can you identify different exercises for use with this tool in your sessions?
3. How does your own faith vs. fear relationship affect your coaching practice?
4. How would you coach a client who is paralyzed by fear?