Do you have a favourite book? A book which has inspired and motivated you?
My firm favourite, a book which has helped me to grow as a person as well as a coach, is The Chimp Paradox.
The Chimp Paradox is written by consultant psychiatrist Professor Steve Peters or just Steve, as he prefers to be called. It so eloquently explains the way in which our minds work and how we can use this understanding to manage our thoughts and emotions to live a more successful and confident life. It has to be one of the most useful books I have ever read. It sits proudly on my book shelf and unlike a lot of the books on there it is well-thumbed!
This weekend I was lucky enough to be in Sunny Sheffield at Steve’s annual conference. Listening to him speak reasserted to me how it really is possible to achieve happiness across all areas of our life, even if it isn’t all at once. I won’t give the game away – get the book – you won’t regret it but I would like to share something he touched on that resonated with me and made me think about relationships.
When we meet someone and fall in love, we tend to see all of the characteristics that charm us first and irritations don’t appear until much later. When we have committed, the relationship is based on a daily decision to continue. Nobody ties our hands behind our back and forces us to stay in it. Yet as time goes on we forget this …
I often meet people who come for coaching because they are very unhappy in their relationships.
Sometimes it’s just that life has gotten in the way of them spending quality time with their other half and their relationship just needs a re-focus. However, sometimes the relationship has run its course. The individuals don’t have anything in common anymore and when their children fly the nest, there is a big feeling of emptiness and the question to stay or leave raises its ugly head again.
A few weeks ago, I met a 58 year old woman who left her relationship of 30 years after her children left home. Although it took her 10 years to work up the courage to end the relationship, she is now running her own business, discovering who she is and what she was capable of.
Often, despite their unhappiness, people find that leaving their comfort zone is just too big a step to take. It is much easier to stay within the zone and settle for the empty feeling inside.
My advice? Do not let fear paralyse you. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. It is where magic really can happen …