Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Appreciator

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by International Coach Federation

This post first appeared on the CTI blog on November 20, 2012.

In the spirit of the holidays, it has been wonderful to see so many friends sharing emails and posting messages of things that they are grateful for on a daily basis.  In coaching, one of the tools that we share with clients is to access our crew of inner resources.  A key crew member is called “The Appreciator”.  The Appreciator is your inner authority that appreciates everything, the dark and the light, the wins and the losses, and the failures and successes, all without judgment.   Everyone has access to their personal Appreciator, but accessing it is a choice.

The past few days I have been resistant to my own Appreciator because of a challenge that has come up for me.  In working to pursue my career in coaching while teaching full time, I have realized that I can’t progress at the pace I want.  My solution was to quit my job and focus on my business but my husband was not comfortable with me making such a bold move, so he offered to take some of my household responsibilities and even help with some of my business needs.   I felt frustrated, disappointed, and even angry that a situation that was so important to me didn’t work out the way I wanted, and the way I felt I was entitled to.  Needless to say, I have had no time or space for my Appreciator to be present in my life in this condition. 

After 4 days of being in this disturbing state which was beginning to consume me, I summoned up my Appreciator and,  with a tone of disgust and indignation, asked

“Appreciator, what do you have for me in this situation?”

I was expecting for her to have nothing, expecting her to say, “this time Gina, it really stinks to be you”.  But guess what, she didn’t.   She was quiet for a moment and then took her time to inquire;

Well, isn’t this another way for you and your husband to come together and pull off an amazing accomplishment by giving one another support and love, by his stretching to be helpful to you and free up more time for you, and by you showing respect and understanding for his concerns?  Haven’t the times in your life when the two of you have done that before been the ones that make your marriage as rich, solid, and fulfilling as it is?

“Hmmmm”, she certainly gave me something to think about, and I thought that would be the end of what I would hear from her, but then she said;

What about your children?  Think about the example you and your husband will be setting for them about pulling together and stretching yourselves to allow you to follow your dream, even when it isn’t easy?

I got a little lump in my throat with that one, and nodded my head.  She went on;
and what about the fact that you have a vision that you are committed to and are willing to do whatever it takes to realize it, isn’t there value in the growth that you are going to experience as an individual?

At this point I noticed that my whole body began to relax and my breathing became much deeper.  I felt the air around me lighten, and possibilities within me expand.  Then she said;

What value do you think this experience has for you today, and in the future, as you are coaching clients who are daring to pursue their vision, but have serious obstacles get in their way?  If this worked out conveniently for you, would it be easy for you to coach them to be courageous when things got tough, or would it make you likely to back off because of being unsure of their ability to succeed?

“Wow”, I sighed, and in a matter of a moment, my perspective was completely transformed.  “WOW, could it actually be true that I need this experience?  This experience really is a gift to me; yes a GIFT that I am grateful for!”

Now, recognizing my circumstance as a gift, rather than a penance, I am focused on my commitment to my values, my vision, and the people I love, without the strain of carrying around frustration, disappointment, and the expectation to be exhausted, stressed, and resentful each day.  Now, my sincere gratitude is going to give my vision greater commitment, my actions greater fuel, and my experiences heightened meaning.  All of this adding yet another great reason to be thankful!

Regina Hellinger
And so, I reach out to each of you during this month of gratitude and I challenge you to look beyond the things that are easy to appreciate and into the areas of your life where you might be feeling frustrated, cheated, defeated, or angry and ask your inner Appreciator, “what is there to be grateful for here?”  You may be surprised at what you find, and worlds of possibility may open up for you. 

In the amazing spirit and power of Appreciation, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Regina Hellinger is a certification student in the final stages of certification with CTI, currently working as a coach with aspiring coaches, educators, and gifted individuals, as well as being a teacher of the gifted in Orange County, FL.  You can reach Regina at, or by Twitter @ReginaHellinger.


  1. Very nice Gina. As Marilee Goldberg perhaps would say - fateful questions determined your outcome.

    If you'd asked instead of “Appreciator, what do you have for me in this situation?” some other bitter resentful question, the answers you rec'd and the journey you'd made would've been different.

    Thank you for your message of “what is there to be grateful for here?" and best of luck with your certification :)

    God bless

    Joseph Joseph

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