Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waking up to Happiness

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010 by International Coach Federation

One of the joys of getting older is gathering a wealth of experience to guide myself through life. Though of course, being older, I’m not sure I remember it all. Hmmm.

Anyway, thankfully through my work as a coach I have lots of lovely people around me who continue to teach me so much. A Head of Talent Development in a major commercial organisation recently said to me: “Success is how you feel when you wake up in the morning”. Wonderful. I had to ask and thank them for their quotable quote.

And it appears our government here in the UK is waking up to this wisdom too – the Prime Minister has asked the Office of National Statistics to find a way of measuring the county’s happiness. The intent is to build this into government thinking, policy and action and so that the monopoly held by the ‘Continuous Economic Growth’ lobby has some balancing force. And about time too.

The economic growth has undoubtedly been good. It has brought clean water and warm housing and universal education and health service and food to the shelves of so many. And it’s something that is to be still more widely enjoyed globally. But as I often find myself exploring with clients, ‘a weakness is a strength overplayed’.

The sustainability of delivering these benefits in the way we currently do is clearly questionable. And with over 30 million anti-depression prescriptions handed out in the UK alone every year, greater wealth has clearly not led to universal happiness. So getting a grip on what we want, what we really, really want is now approaching it’s time.

Which brings me to coaching. Is there a profession better placed than coaching to help people unravel their thoughts, hopes, feelings, and indeed prejudices and misconceptions so that they can see the connections, and find what it is they truly want and who they are? Is there a profession better placed to help people help themselves to take action, build new, more useful choices and habits and achieve what they want in the ways that are right for them?

And of course, the real power of what we do lies in the fact we are not preaching as experts, but simply inviting and enabling people to see their work and life and options from many different perspectives, then giving the support to do something about it. They discover. They decide. They act.

We truly have a role in shaping the future, because we enable people to choose to see the world through many different lenses. As more people see themselves in a bigger way, I believe they will see us all in a bigger way, and this will change direction from a highly individualistic ‘me/more/now’ culture to a wiser, interdependent view of ‘us and them and you and me/enough is just fine thanks/and is this good for future generations?’

I hope there will be a future time where happiness is more widely felt and enjoyed, because one person’s success is not about beating another in some ranking/performance/level of ownership table, but rather the success (and fulfilment) comes from one person helping another, and another….Coaching conversations with clients, and the wisdoms that emerge from them, has shown me how we are connected to everyone and everything around us, the past that got us here and the future of those who follow us. A strong vibrant profession will enable more and more people wake up feeling good. That would truly be a mark of success for our profession. It’s a great time to be alive.

Now where have I left those reading glasses?

Neil Scotton, PCC, December 2010

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