“I just don’t know what to do,” Tom* said. Tom is a coaching client of mine.
“I’m tired of living here. My job is a joke. My wife and I want to start over. We’ve got our two boys. But I just don’t know what to do.”
The pressure felt immense.
Tom could see the current chapter of his life was coming to an end. He had no clue what the next chapter would bring. He was drained and scared.
So I asked him, “Well, what do you want to do?”
Tom could only talk about scenarios with doomsday endings. His creative gears were gummed up with a catastrophic concoction of analysis paralysis, fear and resistance.
I asked him again, “Ok. But for a moment, can we put aside all of the end-of-the-world crap and simply clarify what you want?”
I drove it home with…
“What are you afraid to admit that you want?”
Tom began telling me about how he wanted to move his family to a quiet community a few hours into the mountains. Good schools, good people. Spacious living. Stuff to do on the weekends other than going to the mall. A quality life.
He felt relieved to get it out.
You see, Tom knew what he wanted all along. But this desire was being eclipsed by his fear.
I pointed this out and he said, “I do that all the time! What the heck is that all about? Why does that happen?”
Big You. Little You.
I told him, “Inside of you is a Big Tom and a Little Tom. The Little Tom is only concerned with safety, comfort and predictability. Little Tom has no interest in discomfort or ambiguity. He only sees the world in terms of what he can and cannot control. When you let Little Tom run the show, your life is flat. There’s no growth. It’s groundhog day.
You’re living — dying? — in a box.
“Now Big Tom is different. Big Tom is on this planet to explore, to live, to share, to give, to express. Big Tom has dreams and a vision and a fire for being alive. Big Tom is the guy that hired me as your coach. Big Tom is the guy that wants your life to be a meaningful adventure.”
The Moon and the Sun
I continued, “So think about our Moon and the Sun. If we only saw things from one perspective, we would believe that the Moon and the Sun are the same size. In fact, from our vantage point, the Moon eclipses the Sun.”
“Now we know, the Sun is many, many, many times larger than our Moon. But from this fixed perspective we can’t really grasp the truth.”
“So you run into danger when you believe Little Tom is in the same league as Big Tom. You’re allowing Little Tom — your fear — to eclipse the much, much bigger part of you. The end result is your flaccid, stifled and drained life. At least that’s what happens to me.”
We both laughed.
Tom loved the Moon/Sun metaphor. He could see how he was letting his smaller fears completely eclipse this much bigger part of him that wanted to shine through.
While his fears were still there, they weren’t so big anymore. He had a new perspective.
Moving forward, I helped him to access Big Tom. When he slipped into analysis paralysis or some “sky is falling” theory, we came back to Big Tom.
Doing something about it
Over the next few meetings I walked him through a simple process to:
- Clarify what he really wanted
- Build a step by step plan to make it a reality
- Learn how to bounce back from the times he was hijacked by his fear
Does it work?
The result? Tom and his wife are working together to move their family to this idyllic mountain town. Does fear still show up? Sure. But Tom bounces back faster these days because he has perspective.
He’s more resilient and buoyed by the momentum he’s gaining. He feels relaxed knowing that he’s actually doing something about this instead of collapsing in fear.
And when it comes to following through, Tom’s got me to hold him accountable.
So let’s talk about you for a second…
- Are you getting stuck trying to figure out what you want or what to do?
- Are you letting your Big Self be eclipsed by your Little Self?
- And are you having a difficult time following through on any plan you lay out?
If you answered “yes” to any of these CLICK HERE and take a minute to answer a few questions. You and I can privately discuss how you can have clarity, your own plan and the tools to make it a reality.
I look forward to hearing from you,
* Tom is not his real name.
Dial in Your Daily Routine.
Developed by professional coach Tripp Lanier, The Daily Toolkit teaches you the small steps that create big changes.