Yesterday, we discussed wallowing and explored its benefits. I shared how as a coach, I could get behind encouraging wallowing as a tool to gain insight and help you move forward. Today, I thought we’d to continue exploring by getting deeper into a real life example and sharing some practical ways for you to make the most of your wallowing.
Laura is a bright, energetic, driven corporate leader who’s worked her way up the ladder. She has invested 16 years into her career and is recognized as a subject matter expertise in her field. But something is missing and she’s burnt out. We began our work together by exploring a career path that would put her skills to use in a consulting capacity. It seemed like the logical thing to do and she was taking every step she was supposed to in order to generate leads and opportunities. In our last meeting however, she was still feeling stressed out and uneasy. So we took the opportunity to explore how she was feeling and get behind what they might be revealing to her. We explored what felt off, what felt right. We explored when in her work she felt stressed and when she felt strong and confident. Something began to shift in Laura. The tension began to break and you could see her sinking into her emotions. Over the following two weeks, Laura took time to wallow in those feelings and continue to look for the messages they might be sending her about her next career step. When I spoke with her yesterday, she was bubbling over with energy. Her deep reflection revealed a potential career path that she had never considered. She couldn’t believe she had previously overlooked it as an option. Her wallowing allowed her to confront and release her built up emotions. And when she paid attention to the root of her emotions, she was able to see a world of possibilities opening up before her.
The next time you feel a period of wallowing coming on, make the most of it. Pull out your journal and begin to capture all the feelings you’re having. Take a deep breath and truly allow yourself to experience your emotions. And ask yourself some reflective questions* about your emotions:
Fear – What is the threat? Is it real or perceived? What must I do to move into a position of safety?
Vulnerability – What belief, behavior or perception is being challenged? How might my life change if I accept and adapt to this new insight?
Anger – What must be protected? What boundary must be restored?
Frustration – What is the block? What can I do differently? Who can I ask for ideas or assistance?
Sadness (when you know loss is coming) – What must be released? What must be rejuvenated?
Grief (when you have no choice about the loss) – What must be mourned?
*Questions are adapted from The Emotional Life of Horses by Linda Kohanov. Copyright 2005 by Epona Equestrian Services. http://www.taoofequus.com/linda_kohanov.html