I should say friends, coach AND therapist. We need them all.
I have had my share of therapists, a couple of business coaches and a bank of incredible friends to call on for support, advice and to listen. Throw in some healers and I am super fortunate to have help from so many. When we think we can do it all alone, we only hurt ourselves. Cultivating meaningful relationships takes time and energy as does finding the right people to work with. But it is worth it for so many reasons. Plus, what is the alternative? Stay the same, never challenge yourself and lead a safe and shallow life? Nah, not for me.
I recently watched Keep Breathing on Netflix, so would like to add being lost in the Canadian wilderness, as an additional option for transformation. Granted, a rather fast track and terrifying way to work through issues and trauma but very effective (at least it was for the main character, Liv). Keep Breathing is a very intimate character portrait that spends its time digging into Liv and her past. What happens when you’re weighted down with sadness and suddenly forced to fight for your survival? Do you give up and let nature take its course? Or do you fight tooth and nail to make it out alive? This is what many of us go to therapy for.
There’s a moment when Liv is remembering a meditation about being in the forest, being calm and being at one with nature. At the same time, the stark reality is that she could die there. It also illustrates, so beautifully (metaphorically and through stunning shots of light in a dense forest), the power of the mind. How she thought was the key to surviving.
Last week, I went through the Take Stock and Set Goals workbook to make sure it flowed well and also so I actually do the work myself. The consistent theme of the last 6 months has been to let go, to surrender. I have been struggling on with my health for over 2 years now. With some wins, the fatigue and other issues still linger on. I blur the lines of giving up and surrendering. I know those two things are different, yet fear keeps me from surrendering and finding peace and survival at all costs pushes me onwards. Sometimes pushing is not the answer but it feels like survival. That is probably why I wept at the end of Keep Breathing. There is a bewitching scene when Liv surrenders to the fast moving river. Is it giving up or is surrendering? Having just returned from spending time with my family (which included white water rafting), the similarities did not escape me. I won’t spoil the ending but the big question still remains; what does surrendering look like? Although Liv is trying to get back to civilisation and survive in the woods, she’s really trying to survive her mind. Like many of us, we are trying to reach a level of acceptance and peace.
Before you book your private plane to Canada, let’s explore the differences between a coach and a therapist.
Therapy is designed to help you heal. It’s also designed to help you grow and become more self-aware. Therapy is what you need when you want to “feel better.” A therapist creates a safe space where you’re free from the pressure to perform that you have to deal with at work or home—commonly, pressure that might be making you feel stressed out, depressed, or anxious. Therapy helps you do a deep dive into your psyche and reconnect the dots of who you are.
Life coaching is designed to help you succeed. It’s also designed to help you grow and become more effective. Life coaching is what you need when you want to “do better.” A coach creates an encouraging space where they apply gentle pressure and hold you accountable in your efforts to achieve your goals. A coach can help you make meaningful progress on everything from writing a book to progression your career. They tend to help you identify which goals you want to make progress on in the first place.
Ultimately, therapy and life coaching are intertwined—two strands of the same braid of self-discovery, healing, and personal development. Doing one kind of work can bring up material for the other kind of work.
The success of any personal growth work is up to you and through the commitment, effort and time you dedicate to it.
And get out in nature. We all know this but rarely do it enough.
We would love to hear about your experiences on this topic. Where have you received great support most? Let us know.