You Pick: Pain or Gain?

As some of you know, Adam and I work in ontological coaching, which means I get to use fancy words of Greek philosophical origin. We look at who we're being. I mean, we really take a good look; we really get in there. As some of you also know, we focus on who we're being from two angles: Essence, or the core of who you are (who you were born to be) and Survival Mechanisms (who you learned to be, at a very young age, to get by and succeed).

If you're interested in this stuff and learning about who you're being, get in touch with me. I'd love to chat with you about it!

christopher_robinNow, just for the record, your Essence and your Survival Mechanisms are not arch-enemies. After all, your Survival Mechanisms played (and continue to play) a really important role in helping you succeed at life. But they can get in the way of who we are, especially when we employ them unknowingly.

Your Essence is kind of like the pure, unfiltered, unblemished version of you. It's kind of like covering a beautiful painting, to keep it from being damaged. It's still beautiful, but there's a bunch of protective stuff in the way of letting the world see it ("it" being the painting and your Essence).

Life cannot dull your Essence. You cannot use it up. It's like love: The more you give away, the more you will find that you have.

My Essence, for example , is: Joy, Humour, Heart, Brilliance and Dedication.

Some people have asked whether it's a bit naive to wander through life, looking through these rosy-Essence-coloured glasses.

Maybe it is.

"Isn't it a bit too make-believe, too feel-goodery?"

Perhaps. Is it better instead to have something more real (according to who, if not you?), if real is something you define as negative and disempowering?

See, here's the thing: You can choose to hold yourself any way you want. The world will, too. After all, you can't control anyone else's perception of you (you can try, and a lot of people waste a lot of time and effort doing just that).

But I'm curious: Why would you grant greater credence to the opinions of the world/other people, when it comes to who you are being at the core of you? Why are "they" a better judge?

The world is, thankfully, full of wonderful amazing people who did not take as gospel what the world told them about who they were. Rosa Parks did not believe what the world told her. She believed what was in her heart. Thank God she listened to herself.

I mean, really, it's your choice. You can empower your Essence, or you can empower some crappy story. If it sounds like I'm biased here, it's because I am.

I have long listened to crappy stories about myself and believed them to be true. Know what? It sucked. It wasn't fun. I didn't feel better. I didn't win.

The following is an excerpt from an email in response to a client's initial questions after having an Essence conversation with me (included here with the client's permission):

"I can hear your skepticism about wandering through life with positivity and I totally get it: It’s not what we are trained to do as humans. And it’s a little over-simplifying, for sure (I’m not sure if you recall that at the beginning of our conversation, I started by saying that we were going to have a designed conversation. Not a conversation about Life as an ultimate and only truth and authority).

Remember how I said we work as coaches to move ourselves from operating from Survival Mechanism to Essence 90 percent of the time? That’s because it’s not realistic to assume that anyone will operate from their Essence 100 percent of the time. 90 percent is a lofty goal, even. But without aiming high, where would we land? In “good enough” or worse? That’s probably fine for a lot of people (indeed, I think most people operate on the good-enough principle). But it’s not good enough for me.

Recall those moments when we revel in joy and life is wonderful. I believe there are more of those moments than most of us really experience. We can create our own happiness. We’ll still have bad days and stressful times. We may not always choose to come from Essence, but I can tell you that I’m much, much more aware of my ability to choose my reactions, and that has a massive effect on how I experience my life.


Put simply, for me, I’d rather have more moments of happiness and joy than less."

Like everything else, it's a choice.

You get to say who you are being. Why not pick the option that makes you happy and empowered?


What do you think? Do you think it's naive to think positively of yourself? What do you stand to gain from defining yourself from your Essence? And, what do you gain by being hard on yourself? (It must be something, or you wouldn't do it...)