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Life Stories: “The Year Ahead”
Life Stories: “The Year Ahead”

Susan Armstrong Marino, BFA, MA, NCC, LPC
“The Year Ahead
Interview 2009 Number 183
            I have participated in both counseling and coaching according to my needs. I have enjoyed the dedicated time to sort through the more complicated issues of my life, as well as set priorities and focus on specific goals. I have learned that I can’t get to second base while keeping one foot on first. Releasing what has previously worked for me in someway, is a lot easier said than done. In counseling, which is more about emotions, I have learned that people don’t do things without an emotional pay off, which can be negative or positive. The benefit can be as simple as meeting the expectations of those I hold close and dear.  Approval, acceptance and appreciation can go a long way. Ah…… the comfort of positive strokes from my people.   Ah…… the satisfaction of meeting my own expectations and the personal pleasure of success. Ah……it’s so easy to rest on my laurels.
            I usually make good choices when I am not under pressure. I am a little concerned about the year ahead because challenge and change are frequent topics everywhere I turn.    For me even welcome change is stressful. My stomach starts to churn as I remember the first day at a new school or a new job. Looking back I have stayed in less than satisfying situations longer than necessary because I did not want to face change. I feel so out of control it’s easier to make mistakes. So I am starting this year a little grumpy.
            Have you ever noticed that some people figure out how to make their work simpler and others make their work more and more complex? Through coaching, which is more about simplification and goal achievement, I have learned that change is not reserved for rocket scientists. Finding my way can be as simple as when something works, do more of it; when something does not work turn away from less dignity, privacy and time.  Healthy people tend to walk towards situations that good for them and away from situations that are bad for them.
            Being reborn as a different person is not probable in one lifetime. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Friends and family tell me they love my strengths; I can keep what brings us closer. Perhaps tweaking my weaknesses is more practicalin the face of change.  As long as I am not abusing others, working on one weakness at a time is plenty. How many people stop smoking immediately the first time? How many people lose weight and never gain back an ounce? It’s only a cop out if I surpass a reasonable amount of time (3 months is generous) without a tweak to my credit. If no one close to me has noticed, a review is in order. Ask, friends and family loves me even more for my vulnerability than my successes. Love is a budget friendly treat.
            Speaking of treats, I have always justified working too hard with consumerism.  I now have a list of both money and non-money required treats. I can invest more time in exercise for my figure, organization for my efficiency, or help others for community support. There is more than one kind of bank account. True wealth includes good health, rewarding relationships, and being on good terms with the neighbors. I have been a consumer for so long, maybe letting go can be a liberating experience. I’m thinking positive, but I still don’t like change.
            Change can be easier if I get some tender loving care. I don’t have to set myself up with large exact goals in a tight time frame. Leaving room for some flexibility is allowed. I can have company, which I think of as joining a team that is going where I want to go.  There are many teams out there and group of warm bodies is better than nothing: however, I can save a lot of time and frustration by being selective. Most great teams have a coach: thanks for being mine. I can talk it out rather than take it out on myself and others.
As told to Susan Armstrong Marino, BFA, MA, NCC, LPC
Featuring © Life Stories and Lessons by counselorsam
TIP! “Coaching is a proactive step before and in between Therapy”

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