Once in a While, You Just Want to Be Heard

By amandaalexander | Stress


I had a session with my own Coach this afternoon. She started in the usual way:

“What are your goals for today’s session?”

I thought for a long time.. I wasn’t sure. I almost felt too tired to speak, let alone make the mental effort to articulate a GOAL!

Eventually I replied,

“I just want to be heard. I want to be told I’m not alone in feeling that there are so many things to fit into each day and everything takes so much longer than I anticipate.”

I wanted to be acknowledged. I wanted to feel that I was doing OK.

The Magic of Being Heard

Sometimes, a coaching call is like a Magical Mystery Tour. You never know where you’re going to end up – but you know it’ll be good. And sometimes, your “goal” needs to focused on how you want to feel, rather than what you want to achieve.

My Coach acknowledged me for all the things I do. She said:

“It’ so exhausting isn’t it – there are multiple things to deal with. And then you deal with them on top of things like not having had enough sleep or dealing with a moody teenager, it makes it even harder.”

This was all I needed to hear. And I think we all need to hear these things sometimes. We want to hear…

* We are not mad/bad/selfish/ungrateful/silly for feeling this way
* We’re all in this together
* It’s ok to find it hard
* It’s tough being a grown-up, isn’t it?!

Ever had a BMW Session?

We had a short BMW session. What’s a BMW session, you ask? Well, BMW is an acronym I use when my clients need to “sound off” before we focus on the real work within the session.

It stands for Bitch Moan Whine: It’s good for getting stuff off your chest. I usually set a strict time limit for the BMW session.

Mine consisted of relating a couple of trivial but irritating things. Here is one of the very trivial but irritating things that I mentioned to my Coach…

Waiting Time at the Surgery

A while back I wanted to get a mole checked out on my leg. I was 99% sure it was fine, but it looked a bit different. I wrote the task “Call docs” on my To Do List about 2 months ago.

It took 4 weeks of periodically trying to get an appointment, setting an alarm and phoning at 8 a.m each morning, only to find myself at the back of the phone queue, no appointments left other than at times when I had clients booked or meetings booked.

I eventually got an appointment 2 weeks ago. I waited for 30 minutes in the surgery and was in and out within 3 minutes max. The doctor measured the mole and we scheduled a follow-up for 2 weeks time.

This morning, my phone pinged a reminder:

“Docs in 30 minutes”.

Damn, I’d forgotten! I was just about to start work…Scrap that. So I arrived at my allotted time – 8.50 am – the 3rd appointment of the morning. Surely I’d make it in near to my scheduled time on this occasion?…

Nope. At 9.30 am I was still waiting, trying to send a few emails from my IPhone, despite the lack of any signal! Eventually, at 9.35, the Doctor called me for my 8.50 am slot. I was in and out within less than one minute. Mole no bigger. Looks fine. She’s happy, I’m happy. Keep an eye on it. Job done.

Rage Against The Machine

It’s such a petty thing isn’t it? Moaning about the waiting time at the doctors! But when you add it to all the other time sucks from your week, your energy reserves are low and you feel like you’re running on nervous energy just to fit it all in, perspective has a habit of getting skewed.

“Oh my God, why doesn’t everything just work more efficiently?! Why does everything take so long?”

A friend posted a comment on Facebook this week that made me laugh out loud. She said she was back on the Tube in London for work and she’d forgotten how much she hated it after a few months of not doing it. She mentioned this to the guy next to her on the tube and he replied:

“It’s the rage that keeps us all going.”

One of those comments that’s funny.. and yet not so funny. I think they call it black humour.

3 Simple Steps to Stop you Raging Against the Machine

So how do we deal with all this frustrating, time-sucking stuff that 21st century life throws at us, without becoming stressed-out raging lunatics?

Well, here’s what works for me (and how I – ahem – coach my own clients!):

1. We seek what we need to redress our balance. For me today, I simply needed to be heard, acknowledged and reassured. I can do all this for myself, but sometimes I need to hear it from another human being, just as we all do.

On Wednesday evening I needed to be outdoors, walking, spending time with Freddie, soaking up the nature, the stillness and the sunshine. I needed to stop and get back in touch with simplicity and just “being”.

What do YOU need?

2. We remind ourselves – or we get someone to remind us – that these are First World issues. That doesn’t mean they aren’t hard when piled one on top of another in an increasingly pressure-cooked Western society, but they ARE First World issues.

Waiting for the doctor to get a mole checked out and having to do some work on your iPhone and not having a decent 3G signal are first world issues. Not having access to medical care or medicine when your child is dying of malaria is a third world issue.

How tough has your week been, on a scale of 1-10?
Now frame those frustrations within the “first world – third world” perspective.

NOW how tough has your week been, on a scale of 1-10?

3. Find the gem. This was my coach’s exact phrase: It’s about finding the positive in the situation and it’s the next logical step to reminding ourselves of our First World issues. My gem is that I didn’t have to pay the doctor and that I have access to medical care for whatever little thing I might be worried about. It might not be perfect, but it’s there.

Do a quick mental list of the things that have bugged you this week.
Now find the gem for each of them.
What’s the good thing about this thing that’s bugged you, even if it’s not immediately “good”?

Follow these 3 simple steps and you’ll reign in your rage, feel MUCH calmer and be a much nicer person.

Or at least until the next rage comes along…  😉


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