Some people go through life knowing exactly where they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. Like birds, they seem to have an unerring internal sense of direction. For those without this sense of direction built in, just as a GPS system can help navigate the roadways, a coach can can help you navigate your life and relationships.
This is a four-step process:
Step 1: Get a clear picture of where you are. When I work with couples or individuals on improving their relationships, this is the first thing we do: Collect information and enter it into to give GPS our starting location.
Step 2. Decide exactly where you want to go. This sounds obvious, but it is often overlooked, and it is key. and the one most over looked is deciding exactly where you want to go. Most people or couples can agree they want to improve their relationship, but few can clearly define and visualize what the ideal relationship looks and feels like. So we have to take some time to explore and to dream about what it would be like to have a relationship where each partner supports and nourishes the other so that the relationship is a safe and stable place to be committed to. This part sometimes is called dreaming phase or visioning. You have to have a new address to enter into your GPS so it can help you navigate your way through strange surroundings. If this process reveals that one person’s ideal vision is not the same as their partner’s, we negotiate a compromise and help each party see what the other person needs to flourish, grow and feel safe in the relationship.
Step 3. Get the lay of the land. Now is when we take some time to identify obstacles that could possibly get in the way of the couple reaching their destination. If you identify possible obstacles you can proactively be prepared and not get caught off guard by them when they come up. Some you can just go around like a detour around a closed road. Others you might have to deal with head on and solve together so that you compromise on how to handle the situation. Whatever the decision is, the coach, like a GPS, reminding you of your destination, telling you when your get off course and redirecting you toward the mutually satisfying relationship you described.
Step 4. Making it sustainable. Here the GPS metaphor breaks down a little. When you take an auto trip, at some point you turn off the GPS and get out of the car. With a relationship, you want to keep moving forward while remaining at your destination. Once you reach the relationship you want, how can you maintain it? This involves reminding ourselves of the original goal and listening when one partner thinks the couple has drifted off course. Communication is an ongoing component of healthy relationships and integrated throughout the four steps of the process.
One nice part of the GPS metaphor: Every couple is different—where they are now, what their ideal relationship destination looks like, and the obstacles they will encounter. Just as a good GPS unit won’t take you to the mall when your destination is the beach, I’ll make sure you reach your ideal destination—not where I think you should go.
The important part is to take action. There’s a reason “Being Proactive” is the first habit described in Steven Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: You have to be willing to take not only the first step but also each step along the way. You have to take action if you want to reach your goals and improve your relationships. These steps work in any relationship, whether it’s employee/boss, parent/child, or between spouses.
What types of relationships do you want to have and create?
If you’re interested in proactively taking steps toward the life and loving relationships you want, please feel free to contact me: Chuck@InnerStrenghtQuest.com