Living on Purpose: The ups and downs of the economy
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado “-“Can you believe what happened to the stock market?” my client, Dennis said as he took off his jacket. “Every day it’s more difficult to listen to the news.”
Although it seemed Dennis’ comments were a way to engage in small talk, I sensed an uneasiness about him that wasn’t usually there. I asked, “How do you feel about what’s happening?”
“The market has been bouncing up and down responding to last week’s events,” Dennis replied. “We were talking about it today and it seems like everyone is in a panic. My co-worker Mary said it best when she used the analogy of a flesh wound.
With the markets this unstable, and with so many people losing money, she said that instead of hemorrhaging any more, she would stop the bleeding by moving her money. I’m wondering if I should do the same.”
Going along with the analogy, I asked, “How badly are you bleeding?”
“I’m not sure what’s happening with my accounts, but I do know that things are bad out there,” he said. “I hear about it every day; it’s all over the news. I feel like I should do something, but I am not sure what.”
“Let’s try something,” I said. “Let’s switch roles. I’ll be the client and you be the coach. I’m going to say that exact statement back to you and then you take it from there. Are you game?”
“Sure. I’ll be the coach for a few minutes. This should be fun.”
I repeated his words back to him ending with, “…I feel like I should do something, but I am not sure what.”
Dennis easily jumped into the coaching role and said, “You mentioned that things are bad ‘out there,’ and the fact that you don’t exactly know what’s going on with your accounts.”
I couldn’t tell if Dennis was a life coach or a lawyer cross-examining the witness, but I felt that he was uncovering his own answers as we worked through this process.
Dennis continued with our analogy, still playing the coach, “Even though you know people are bleeding, doesn’t necessarily mean that YOU are bleeding,” he said. “It’s like being in an emergency room. Just because the guy in the next bed has a flesh wound, doesn’t mean that YOU are bleeding. Each patient needs a separate diagnosis.” Dennis paused and looked proud of himself.
Coach Dennis continued, “What would be the easiest way to figure out where you are financially instead of depending on what everyone else is saying? How can you best diagnose what’s happening and find solutions?”
“Let’s switch back roles and I’ll ask you the same questions,” I said, back in the coaching role.
“Those are some great questions, Coach,” Dennis said smiling ” again playing the client. “Instead of relying on what everyone else is saying ” including the media ” I will get out and review my most recent financial statements. I’ll also call my financial advisor since he’s the expert. Then together we can come up with some options.”
“It sounds like you have some great action steps,” I said. “When will you complete these tasks and how will I know?” I asked, pushing for accountability.
“By the end of this week, I’ll review my financial statements and schedule an appointment with my financial advisor.” Dennis then added, “If I were the coach, I’d have the client come up with a way to remind himself to stay centered on his own diagnosis, instead of everyone else’s.”
“How would you remind yourself?” I asked.
“Whenever I hear a news report about the economy, I’ll add onto the end of the story the words, ‘not necessarily in my world’ to remind myself that I am not ‘everyone.'”
“That sounds great. Do you have any plans to become a life coach?” I asked.
Coaching Challenge: When you feel stuck, pretend that you are your own life coach. First describe what is going on for you as the client. Then step into the role of the life coach. What questions will you ask to help the client move forward? Go back and forth between roles until you have come up with several ideas to help you move forward. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s simply a way to help brainstorm solutions.
Sheri Fisher is a life coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. If you have topic suggestions, please email or comment on Sheri’s blog. Sheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.