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Figure it out

I have often found myself talking with people who find themselves at a crossroads or are struggling with the uncertainties of life. In the past decade I have developed a passion for helping young adults find direction for their lives and exercise their independence. This passion led me to becoming a Life Coach. And throughout this journey, I have learned so many things.

People that know me would likely describe me as opinionated and vocal. I entered into coaching with the preconceived notion that people needed to hear what I had to say. To the contrary, I have learned that coaching is about asking the right questions and empowering the client to find her own solutions and answers. The biggest challenge for me, in coaching and in everyday life, is to keep my opinions to myself and to keep my mouth shut. And wow, have I loved the amazing affect that can have on other people. Learning to listen and get out of the way is an amazing process. It allows people to resolve issues for themselves. You see, problem-solving is a lost art. Today, we look for the quick fix. No one wants to have to “figure it out,” we just want someone to give us the solution, or worse yet, do it for us. But being able to work through a challenge can be incredibly rewarding. Here's an example...

Several years ago, my two girls were about 10 and 7. One evening after riding horses, my husband and I headed to the house to get dinner ready while the girls unsaddled horses and fed. Hadley, the oldest, came in the house fairly quickly to ask Dad for some help as there were no easily accessible hay bales near the horses (He would usually bring up a couple of bales at a time from the large stack at the back of the property). She explained that being two little girls, they had no way to get the heavy bales to where the horses were. His response was, “Figure it out.” After Hadley stomped out the door, mad at her lazy dad who wouldn't come help her, I confronted Dak and questioned his willingness – or lack of – to help his girls with what I saw as a task that they physically did not have the strength or ability to do. His response was, “They'll figure it out if they want their horses to eat.” I shut my mouth and prayed for God to keep it shut. After stressing for 30 minutes about how in the world my little babies would ever be able to lift the heavy bales and move them across the two acres – and do it without killing each other – the girls burst through the back door giggling and teasing each other. Surprised at their happy demeanor, I asked if they got the horses fed. Ellie responded, “Yeah, why wouldn't we?” When I expressed my concern for how difficult the task seemed and asked how they managed, she said, “We tied a rope around the hay bale, dallied (wrapped the rope around) to the saddle horn and used our horses to drag it up to where we had to feed.” She then proceeded to elaborate on what fun the adventure was and finished with, “We figured it out.” The end result was a sense of accomplishment and ownership that only comes from self-sufficiency and independence.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with seeking advice or help - but be careful. Whether asking for assistance or giving it, do so sparingly. Being handed an easy, unearned cure can rob a person of valuable knowledge and experience.

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