I decided to have a Thai massage and whilst lying there, reflecting on the past and getting a sense of real relaxation, I heard the lovely Thai woman say to me that I am really tight in my back, to which I just smile and say I know. We all get so busy and caught up in the doing and peddling as someone once told me, that we forget to reflect on what we are thinking and feeling…we are just doing.
My mind wondered to my back and why I was feeling stressed. It might be due to the fact I have been running around like a mad woman, meetings, coaching, writing leadership training, conducting interviews, making a million phone calls, headhunting and looking after a daughter…ugh…now do you understand the massage! But my first thought was the floods occurring in Brisbane at the time and how I hadn’t been able to work with one particular client as the construction site was submerged. Then I began to think about what I have been frustrated by and around how I haven’t been able to work or help those people I coach and develop on my client site. I really missed it and really missed them. I love my work and I love that I make a difference but I also learn something from them. I was terribly frustrated I couldn’t help them and was eager to get back into the swing of things!
Sometimes we forget who helped me? And in turn whom, are we helping. In my coaching sessions, which really focus on a number of areas but mostly on self-awareness and building leadership capability, I talk to my clients about “Who Helped me?” A powerful exercise around thinking of people in our lives who have helped you most in your life, career and the people whom you would say, “Without this person, I could not have accomplished or achieved as much as I have. Without this person, I would not be the person I am today.” I love that saying, people come into your life for a reason. I truly believe this.
This exercise and reflection really does make you think about the people who have impacted you – but also you become aware of yourself and how you are impacting others around you? Yes?! What did you learn from these people?
Then you start to think about the feelings and sensations you are feeling when you think about what they said or did – or in some cases didn’t say or do. And what do these memories want to make you do today?
I find you typically experience warm and emotional reactions to the memories of the individuals who helped them. They remember how deeply affected they are or were. I know when I think of a few people who really helped me, I find I begin to think about their long lasting impact and how profound that impact was in my life. They helped me discover my true strengths and values and ultimately my personal vision and learning for myself…Pretty powerful!
So the next time you are stuck in traffic or having a Thai massage (Note: Yes, I know what a life – but I really deserved it! And by the way we all do!), think about Who Helped Me? How do you feel about that person…what do you remember? Then think about Who Are You Helping? What impact or difference do you think you make as a leader to those around you? Or as a father, mother, friend, sibling, sports coach…it impacts many areas of our life. An understanding of how people have helped us and how we help those around us, helps us learn and grow and creates a fascinating set of guidelines for professional and people development…and you don’t need to massage to begin to discover that one!
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