Those who have a why to live can bear almost any how- Victor Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
It was in the middle of a conversation during our fourth coaching session a client, I’ll call Roberta, paused for a moment and said “I want peace of mind”. Roberta, I’d learned, was a remarkable woman. She and her husband had just come through a decade of personal and financial fluctuations. Along this journey she successfully fought cancer and survived the failure of a business start-up. Through it all Roberta had never stopped being a supportive mother to her two children. Roberta had become an inspiration to me.
Now in her mid-40s, Roberta had reached out to me because she knew her relationship with money had to change. She understood that she and her husband Jeff had made mistakes in the past. She also knew these couldn’t be repeated if there was any hope of achieving a measure of financial independence in the second half of their lives.
Roberta is a savvy, educated, energetic and growth-minded woman. She is also, and this is key when it comes to taking control of money, reflective. Coaches love to work with people like Roberta because she’s coachable. By that I mean she welcomes and responds to a life coaching approach. She doesn’t want or expect to be told what to do. Instead she wants to be challenged. She wants assistance finding her blind spots so she can map a pathway to a brighter future. That’s exactly what she and I do, over the telephone, for one hour every Wednesday at 10am.
A coach has to be responsive to the nature of his/her client. In Roberta’s case, it was evident
that she needed to retrace the events of the last decade; partly to aid my understanding but more so her own. This was her reflective nature in operation. At this stage of coaching one of my rolls was to ask the questions that would lead her to greater awareness.
I recall an exploratory phone call prior to working together when I asked Roberta what she hoped to accomplish. She mentioned she needed to pay down debt and build savings but said she didn’t know how to do those things. Goals like these are what I call Outer Why. Not that these aren’t worthy objectives, but I know that something bigger and more powerful lies beneath, something I call the Deeper Why. Getting to this often requires a bit more patience, more questions, more reflection. It’s not a thing we will to the surface, it’s something that arises.
It was in the middle of our fourth session when it arose for Roberta. Seemingly out of nowhere came her Deeper Why – I want peace of mind. She’d had insights in earlier conversations but this was breakthrough and we both knew it. Since making this declaration, a lightness is evident in our conversations which wasn’t there before. Clarity has replaced murkiness.
Our Deeper Why has an elegance to it. It’s something that can’t be further divided. It’s our heart talking. It’s what we really want. What Roberta really wanted was less drama and more meaning in her life. That started with a healthier money relationship. Using peace of mind as her lens, she rapidly gained perspective about things she previously agonized over. She once thought those things would lead to peace of mind. Now she saw they actually blocked it.
Simplifying the complications we construct in our lives takes time and Roberta still has work left ahead. Still, in places where she previously resisted changing, change is now occurring. It’s natural for people who want to take control of money to wrestle with thoughts of how. How is an important step, but it’s not the first step. Like Roberta, I invite anyone who wants a brighter financial future to plumb your depths for the Deepest Why you can uncover. Once you’ve gained that, the “hows” will appear all around you!