Remember that song: More More More (or am I showing my age here? The video is so 70s it will make you laugh and cringe)
One of the pieces of feedback I got from the blog about contentment was how easy it is to keep looking for more, rather than being content with what we have (see contentment blog here).
Which got me thinking about coaching, which, I think encourage the search for more, more more. One of the most popular coaching models is Whitmore’s GROW model.
G is for Goal – what do you want?
R is for Reality – what are things actually like right now?
O is for Options – what are your options to make things different?
and W is for Will – what will you commit to to make this change?
- Try it. It’s a really great way of working.
For example, here is a live example for me today:
Goal – to be able to shut the shoe boxes
Reality – the shoe boxes are so full of shoes they don’t fit and the boys can never find their shoes
Options – do it myself, get the boys to do it, do it together.
Will – I will do it when I’ve written this and I will need the boys to help me sort out which shoes they still wear.
- Can you think of something small you would like to achieve and then apply the GROW model?
I actually find that people are very good at setting goals.
- What are your goals? Short, medium and long term?
- Do you have SMART targets?
We’re not as good at seeing things as they really are ie the Reality (I talk about this more here).
Often we are setting goals and looking for more and so we don’t notice what we have. We spend so much time wanting that we don’t appreciate.
And that all comes to the foreground when crisis hits.
A friend’s daughter is critically ill in Great Ormond street hospital. When times like this strike, everything falls away and all we want is for our loved one to be better. The new TV, ipod are forgotten. The cobwebs are unseen. Highlights don’t need re-doing and who cares if the kitchen needs re-decorating?
When Youngest Son broke his arm last year all I did and all I wanted to do was get him to hospital, stop the pain, make it safe, make him healthy. Work didn’t matter, I didn’t matter, the house definitely didn’t matter.
It’s often only when we’re on the verge of losing something that we appreciate what we have..or to coin another song ‘Don’t it always seem to go, but you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’.
- What stuff are you telling yourself you need more of?
Not only do we think we want more stuff; the latest phone, the next car, this season’s clothes, we also think we need to do more (see previous week’s blog on doing and being).
- What do you think you need to do more of?
- What do the kids need to do more?
We think we need to take our kids places, do things with them, make sure they join all the right clubs, give them all the opportunities we can afford. We go from home to work, to after school clubs to bed and then we do more work once the kids are in bed. We feel guilty if we do nothing, like we are wasting life.
We think we need to be more. That we need to work harder to get the next promotion so we can be someone more important. We think we need to meet someone and marry them to prove that we are worth marrying. We want our kids to ‘be someone’, to be successful, often so we can feel that we were good enough parents.
- Who would you be if you were ‘someone’?
- Who would your kids be if they were ‘someone’?
- How do you think your life would be different if you thought you were important?
And then something happens to shatter our illusions about what we think we want. Usually the ‘something’ is what we would call ‘bad’, like illness, death, divorce, betrayal, bankruptcy. Something where we lose what we thought we had; our health, our loved ones, our money, our freedom, our status.
I remember working hard, doing a part time job, leading workshops round the country, running the house hold and being a mum to young children. I thought I was going to be someone, that I needed to do it all to prove I was someone. Which is how I ended up off work for 7 weeks crying in the toilet and unable to think …just blank.
All the meetings I thought I couldn’t miss went on without me or didn’t happen. All the people I thought needed me, didn’t, apart from my kids – who the ones who I was unable to take care of for a day or two.
I wanted more, but the line from Yeats’s Second Coming seemed to sum up what happened:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
After S’s death I went traveling round India because I wasn’t scared of losing anything any more, because the worst thing was lost. It didn’t matter that I would be giving up my job and leaving home, alone…I didn’t want more of anything, I wanted to live.
I was talking to another friends who left her husband a while ago. She has seen her mum and dad die painfully slowly in the last year or so of cancer. She’s started dating again and people are telling her ‘it’s too soon’, but from where she is standing, life is short so why wait, she wants to live now.
- Why do you think you want more?
We don’t need to have something ‘bad’ happen in our lives to ask ourselves why we want more, when what I think we really want it depth not breadth.
I think we want to sink deeper into life. We want deep connection with ourselves, each other and the world in which we live.
We get depressed when we are lonely, when we are trying to be something we are not and not amount of ‘more’ can cure us. I think stress comes from the distance between our real selves and our pretend selves – the self we show to the world. It is stressful to pretend we are happy at work when we are worrying about our kids, it is stressful to work hard for a company we don’t believe in, it is stressful to live with someone we no longer like.
We don’t want or need more, some people do, but not you if you’re reading this because you’re safe enough and well enough to read it.
Instead of looking ahead at getting more sometime in the future, look around and see how much is here for you now. The clothes you’re wearing, the food you just ate, the shelter of your home.
When we stop looking for more and can see what there is, we can see it more clearly and connect with what is here right now. We can connect to the rain and be glad to be able to walk in it and splash through the puddles. We can be honoured to have kids in our lives and we can spend time with them just being. We can appreciate the body we have right now and stop hankering for a thinner one or a younger one.
Wanting is the antithesis to appreciating what is. When we look for more, we are not looking at what we have.
Instead of ‘More, More, More’, does anyone fancy writing a song called ‘Be, Connect, Appreciate, Dive in Deep, Now.’ Not as snappy maybe, but it is where life is; here now.