We have gathered together posts from other Three Principles blogs as well as our own ones. As time goes on we will be offering more services based on the Canadian West Coast and nearby islands. Look out for events and feel free to contact me to let me know about any events you think will be of interest to others in this area.
While, in my mind, it’s unfortunate, “issues-based” coaching (e.g., addiction specialists, marriage specialists, weight-loss specialists, or I-can-help-your-mental-game-in-golf specialists) seems to be the norm today. Trouble is, trying to help another person, or yourself, overcome a specific life issue by focusing on that issue drastically reduces the odds for development, insight, and achievement. We’ll get to what increases the odds later, but for now, here are the six reasons why (if you’re a coach, therapist, or consultant) you might want to reconsider this common practice ASAP.
- There’s not a causal relationship between a specific personal issue and one’s state of mind.
No doubt, it often appears that personal problems, or issues, are the cause of mental anguish or strife. But, in truth, it works the opposite way: Personal problems are a symptom of mental anguish or strife. Meaning, a person cannot feel better by trying to fix an issue that has nothing to do with how he or she feels in the first place. Plus, it may sound strange, but an issue isn’t really an issue at all. Issues tend to disappear entirely, or no longer look like issues, the instant a person’s state of mind ascends.
- Focusing on a specific issue points people in the direction of what they want to avoid.
Quite simply, addressing a supposed issue energizes the illusion described in #1. Here’s a quick story to illustrate: I once worked with an NHL team whose goaltender, according to the head coach, needed to stop giving up goals late in games. I asked the coach, “What have you guys done to help him?”
He said, “We talk to him about this issue all the time, but it’s getting worse.”
I replied, “I’m on it, but you must promise me one thing: You’ll never discuss this issue again.” The coach reluctantly agreed and, without me ever discussing it either, the issue disappeared. The team then went on to finish first in their conference.
- It’s impossible to reverse-engineer the human experience.
Human beings work one way: inside to out. That is, a change of heart (inside) is the only thing that can create a change of experience and clear up issues (outside). Sure, starting outside with the intent of working inside might appeal to someone who’s mistakenly blaming his or her low mood on a specific issue. But since fixing issues can’t fix moods (we can’t work outside-in), shifts will be minimal at best. For example, many coaches make the body language of their players a vital issue. Some even hire body-language specialists to teach players how to carry themselves. What they don’t realize is that body language is strictly an effect of one’s mood or state of mind. So, while players may temporarily exhibit good posture or forced smiles, they don’t experience the inner shift that causes consistently genuine and productive behavior.
- Truth is universal; the implications of truth are personal.
Although it’s a universal truth that the human experience is an inner one of spiritual ebb and flow, creating our varying perceptions of the world outside, the implications of this truth—or issues cleared up by it—will be personal for each of us. For one person, it might mean less fatigue and increased energy. For another, a decrease in the urge to cope. For another, a more powerful bond with God. You’re not a soothsayer. No one can accurately predict where looking within might take someone. We do know this, though: Truth (inside) comes first; implications (outside), second. Always.
- Addressing personal problems limits possibilities.
Seeking or offering help for a specific issue restricts opportunity. If you tell someone that you can help them lose weight, for instance, they’ll most likely confine their focus to weight loss only. This requires intense concentration and personal thinking, which narrows vision and reduces the chances for widespread growth.
- It’s a matter of integrity.
As inferred in #4, no one wants to make promises that they can’t keep. Whether in overt marketing or subtle innuendo, if you’re in the coaching business, you simply have no ability to guarantee precise results. And, if you’re tempted, bait and switch tactics (luring clients in the door by offering to fix X and then hoping to deliver Y) aren’t cool either. Rather, here’s what you can offer and guarantee the people, teams, and organizations with whom you work: love, accessibility, support, and an unwavering guide inward for answers. The bottom line: Issue-based coaching lacks integrity.
So there’s the list. And while I hope you find it helpful, the question remains: If issue-based coaching isn’t advisable, what kind of coaching paradigm actually does increase the odds for development, insight, and achievement?
The answer: one that strips away, and doesn’t take advantage of, the widespread misunderstanding that external “issues” truly exist. In other words, the world outside is merely a projection of the world inside. And we help others, and ourselves, by pointing toward this fundamental principle—never away from it.
Thanks for reading,
Here’s a quick review of a conversation I had last week with a player I’ve been working with for about two years. It reveals the power of waking up to the fact that the human experience is, by nature, one of yin and yang; light and dark; positive and negative; spiritual and physical. A moment-to-moment thrill ride. Some call the realization you’ll read about below acceptance, detachment, or surrender. I prefer freedom or Truth. Feel free to drop me a note and let me know what you would call it.
Player (via text): G, do you have two minutes to speak? I’ve got to tell you something ASAP.
Me (via text): Yep, call me now.
Player: Thanks, here’s what I wanted to talk about: It’s crazy, about an hour ago, I felt a wave of insecurity and worry build up inside of me. I mean I really felt like crap, like my life was caving in. But for some reason it then occurred to me that I was perfectly okay feeling that way. What I’m trying to say is that I actually felt horrible and wonderful at the exact same time. Almost as if I was watching or looking down on myself as I struggled. So liberating, but the strangest feeling in the world. Is that normal? I’m not sure if I’m even making sense.
Me: Perfect sense, buddy. In fact, I think it’s on the plus side of normal, and this might be the coolest thing a client has ever told me.
Player: Nice. Thanks. I’m on cloud nine. This means so much.
Me: Love you.
Player: Love you, too. Talk soon!
Without a doubt, finding a new perspective on the human experience—not trying to fight, control, or fix it—is an inspiring effect of grasping what the human experience truly is. It’s all energy. And whether coming or going, all feelings are normal. This player, I’m happy to say, is seeing it clearer and clearer every day. Knowing that he, like you, is okay no matter what is life’s ultimate blessing.
Here, to me, is one of the most confounding misconceptions springing from the worlds of self-help and psychology: The advice that people should wait for their heads to clear, or do something to try to make their heads clear, before they take action. Indeed, this misconception seems to paralyze more and more folks each day. Truth is: There is no actual connection between one’s potential to excel, compete, or serve, and his or her current state of mind.
If that surprises you, welcome to the club. I’ve never worked with an athlete or coach, from the high-school level to the finest on the planet, who hasn’t fallen for this fallacy. Until, that is, they recall moments of brilliance (such as hitting a golf shot close to the flag) that occurred at times of mental clutter. Then, almost like clockwork, relief sets in. A bit of dismay, too. As they wonder why they’ve been chasing an insignificant target or level—a high state of mind—for years.
Do you know the mental-performance saying, “Mindset is everything?” Well, it’s born from the misconception mentioned above; it’s such the wrong direction. Why? Because mindset is, and always will be, the ultimate variable. If anything, understanding the source of mindset is everything. What human beings feel is connected to the yin and yang of spiritual energy. And, whether cluttered or clear, spiritual energy can never be negative, abnormal, or problematic. Spirit can’t work against someone.
One more thing regarding the surprising irrelevance of mindset: Sometimes, when I indicate that it’s impossible for one’s feeling state to inhibit potential or talent, people get the idea that I’m prodding them to jump right up and take action. Not at all. In fact, I’m not saying you should take action; I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m saying the question is unimportant and, because it points outward, it’s also unhelpful.
These two questions, on the other hand, are important and helpful. They points inward to source, so they reveal a ton of implications and possibilities, too:
1. Do passion and love rest within your heart, within your soul, no matter what mindset you find yourself in?
2. When your vision is momentarily blurred, does your innate mental health remain an untouchable constant?
The answers are a resounding YES and YES. You are connected, whole, and capable—100 percent of the time.
Last week, I had dinner with my friend, colleague, and mentor, Keith Blevens. Among the topics we covered was a team I’m working with whose coaches decided to eliminate prescribed goals, codes of conduct, or expectations of any kind. I mentioned that the behavior of the players on the team, both on and off the field, had been effortlessly transformed for the better. Upon hearing this news, Keith smiled and then, seemingly out of nowhere, asked me, “Have you ever shopped at Nordstrom before?”
I responded, “Yep, couple times a year. In fact, it’s the only clothing store I go to. But what’s that got to do with the team I’m talking about?”
“Stay with me and you’ll see. What kind of service do you receive when you go to Nordstrom?”
“Hmm, come to think of it, it’s always courteous and accommodating. Their salespeople really hustle, too.”
“Why do you think that is?”
“No way. You’re kidding. Of course!”
Turns out Nordstrom doesn’t train its employees at all. They don’t preach culture. They don’t preach hard work. They don’t preach expectations. They don’t preach anything but good judgment (and I’m not sure “preach” even fits with the last one). To illustrate, here’s Nordstrom spokesperson Tara Darrow when asked about her company’s lack of focus on culture:
“We don’t have a thick manual telling our employees what they can and cannot do . . . we just ask them to use good judgment in all situations. We hope this philosophy not only empowers employees to provide the highest level of service to our customers, but also inspires them and helps build a great workplace.”
This week’s message is as fundamental as it gets: The more human beings fill their minds with information, strategy, techniques, or how-to’s, the less chance they have of living up to their God-given potential. Adopting someone else’s idea of how to behave, or what action steps are right or wrong, obstructs clarity, passion, realness, and love. Sure, in the arenas of leadership and motivation, culture is the hot new buzzword. But, sadly, many leaders are attempting to instill (in others) their personal opinion of what the culture of his or her organization should be. That’s called programming or indoctrination. It’s outside-in 101 and simply cannot work for the better.
Nordstrom’s story, on the other hand, reveals that a productive culture is an effect—of refusing to demand even the slightest bit of conformity from employees—not a cause. Their leadership grasps that human beings thrive from inside to out, 100 percent of the time.
Do you want to foster the wisdom that rests within your players, clients, students, family members, or friends? Well, if you ask them to believe in, and employ, your own vision of what it takes to excel—you can’t.
This week, I write to my students, clients, and colleagues. If that’s not you, read on anyway. A takeaway or two is waiting. G
I admit it. At times, I blame my upsets on those experts in the fields of self-help, mental coaching, and psychology who propagate this dual misunderstanding (the outside-in misunderstanding):
- Something external—the past, the future, someone else, oneself, money, a ten-foot putt—can cause a person to feel a certain way (e.g., fearful or insecure).
- Coping techniques, tools, or behavioral changes can help a person overcome #1.
Neither is true. Thus, my dilemma: Although their methods are woefully inefficient, as they virtually ignore the psychological immune system that all human beings possess, I don’t deem it valuable to alienate or write off these experts. Those who dedicate their lives to helping others are a-okay with me. Every person is a beacon of truth.
So, then, how can I—or better yet, how can those of us who strictly teach the inside-out understanding—help more conventional experts see past years of outside-in training and methodology so they can better serve others? Clearly, an “us versus them” mentality is not productive. And, frankly, it’s occurring more and more as of late.
Well, here’s how the answer looks to me. It’s basic, and I hope it’s useful to you: We must practice what we preach. It’s you and I who must wake up to the fact that our feelings are not connected to this sometimes serious-looking dilemma. These experts, and the direction they point, are not responsible for our upsets.
Indeed, when this principle is crystal clear in my own mind, wisdom takes over and, in deliberations with these experts, I neither alienate nor back down. I get my point across without ruffling feathers. I might pose a “what if it actually works this way” type of question, subtly (yet resolutely) pointing in the opposite direction. Or I might simply hold my fire, refusing to stoop down and retaliate, amid one of their attacks. Either way, these examples are a far cry from those moments when, in a desperate effort to change the minds of others (or my own feelings), I attempt to one-up them. Then, I serve no one and get nowhere. And it’s me, not them, who obstructs the dissemination of the inside-out understanding that’s essential to the world’s well-being.
No one—not me, not you—can overcome an injustice and take it personally, or blame our feelings on it, at the same time. In fact, it’s never the uninformed who stall evolution. It’s those who think they have a clue and, far too often, look down on the innocent ignorance of others. Truth be told, I was once the most outside-in person on the planet. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I was serving.
Remember: Every person alive is doing his or her best, what looks to be the right thing at that moment in time. Today, when I overlook this reminder—get outside-in about inside-out—I help move the needle of consciousness and love backward. When I wake up to it, I help move the needle forward. And, my friends, it works the same for you.
Man, did last week’s article (http://garretkramer.com/the-heart-of-choice/) create a stir—at least in my inbox. You guys either loved the direction I pointed or thought it was crazy. To be specific on the crazy, most disagreement revolved around the question of free will. One of you said: “You can’t tell me that human beings don’t have the free will to make choices for themselves, that’s just foolish!”
So, to clarify, here’s how it looks to me—and this realization has proven both liberating and valuable for those with whom I work: There is no actual separation between free will and God’s will. You don’t make some choices while God (the universal intelligence I mentioned last week) makes others. They merely appear separate because certain choices, such as the decision of whether or not to go to the gym, often involve some intellectual wrangling, while others, such as the decision to snag a ball out of thin air, occur instantaneously.
In other words, a universal intelligence doesn’t rest above you; it rests within you. And the deeper you grasp this spiritual principle, the less time you’ll spend intellectually grinding over choices and the more instinctive and energetic you’ll feel. In fact, experience tells me that those who think they’re separate from God, think they live under the personal obligation of choice, or think they’re in control (of anything) are among the most stressed out souls alive.
The bottom line is that free will has little to do with choice. It’s simply a concept derived from the truth that you, or your will, are free from the influence of others (the outside) and only guided by God (the inside). Besides, trying to make choices is both impossible and mind bending. That’s why, if you want to be at your best, serve others, or thrive, understanding that a spiritual guide rests within is always better than attempting to manually grab the wheel.
Note: Consider the direction this article points and, whether you agree or not, see what implications occur to you. As always, feel free to reach out with comments, insights, or questions. G
Simply peruse your favorite social-media sites and you’re likely to come across some version of the following statement:
Happiness, confidence, and a positive mindset are a choice!
In fact, in the area of self-development, the theory that human beings can choose their moods, or even their ice cream flavors, runs rampant. Trouble is: It’s simply not true. Sure, it often seems like you own the personal power of choice. But, in my mind, you’ve never made a deliberate decision in your life. Rather, there’s a universal intelligence at work behind the scenes, guiding and orchestrating—everything.
Here’s an illustration, using ice cream again, of this spiritual principle: If asked to make the choice between vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, I go for vanilla. Why? I honestly don’t know. I didn’t wake up one day and deliberately decide to prefer vanilla. I just do. So, while it seems as if I’m making a choice, the choice of vanilla ice cream has actually been made for me.
Same goes for mindsets. The reason you can’t choose a good mood all of the time is: You’re never able to choose a good mood. It just looks like you can—when the spiritual energy that chooses (controls and guides) your mood becomes unstuck and starts to flow, that is.
One more thing about the illusion of deliberate choice: Because trying to make choices (as with any illusion or mistruth) is clutter provoking and psychologically taxing, not trying to will remove an enormous burden from your shoulders. It will fortify intuition, ease, enthusiasm, and love. However, if you’re still convinced that decisions are up to you; if you’re still convinced that revelations are indeed manmade; if you’re still convinced that free will means your personal will—no worries. At the right place and time, you’re destined to stop blowing the sails and let the wind do its thing.
After all, am I choosing to move my hands on the keyboard now as I type? Am I choosing the words from my mind to the screen? Are you deliberately choosing to read them? I suppose it might look that way from the outside, but when you get right down to the heart of choice, the answer has to be no.
A five day retreat in Spain.
8th – 12th June 2017
Only one thing stands in the way of living a mentally and spiritually healthy life filled with peace, love and wisdom: the personal ego and the fear it breeds. It is behind all our problems, difficulties and issues and is usually the most difficult thing we bump up against in our lives. No matter how much we understand the Three Principles it seems to rear its head again and again, and we keep getting tricked. The purpose of this retreat is to explore how to get it out of our way, and to see what happens to us when we are able to transcend it.
However, because consciousness makes the ego and fear look and feel so real, it is not so easy to extract ourselves from the “reality” of it or to see our way through it. This takes deeper exploration. The answer does not lie in trying to change our thinking, or in “figuring out”, or in getting to the root of where it comes from, or in stating the mantra, “There is no ‘I’”; the answer lies in truly transcending it. But what does transcending the personal really mean? And how can we help it happen, when it does look and feel so real? This is the direction our exploration will take in our first retreat.
For some of us it will be enough to see it more deeply for ourselves. For practitioners who attend we will also explore how transcending the personal impacts the effectiveness of our work with others.
Who is it for?
Anybody who already has some understanding of the Three Principles and would like to gain the benefits listed below.
What are the Benefits of Attending this retreat?
- gain a deeper understanding of what “the personal” really means and how it and the fear it breeds is the only thing standing in our way of living in a state of peace and love
- more deeply explore the varying aspects of the personal and how subtly and insidiously it works within us all, even when we understand the Principles
- gain a deeper understanding of what “transcending” really means, what we are transcending to
- become better able to deeply listen to what our personal blocks are saying to us and to
- become better able to help ourselves and others see through the personal blocks standing in our and others’ way, deeply listen to wisdom and see how to transcend them via the spiritual
Booking Now Open via Eventbrite.
Note there is also also an event for those who want to help others Transcend the Personal – suitable for coaches.
Both retreats will be facilitated by Gabriela Maldonado-Montano & Dr Jack Pransky
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