“My understanding is that every aspect of the Self, every voice, has its own innate wisdom; that if we would simply allow every voice to be heard, to be appreciated, and to be honored, we as human beings would live a much healthier, happier and joyful life; that by denying or suppressing any aspect we are creating a problem both for the Self and for others.”
~ Genpo Roshi – Big Mind
Do you remember the class in school where we were taught how to manage all our thoughts, emotions, feelings & moods, and all the stuff going on in our inner worlds?
Me either! So here’s a short intro.
We all have an Inner World made up of many parts of ourselves. Each part is a version of ourselves with different capacities, strengths, preferences, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, memories, moods and ways of being in the world.
There are no bad parts but quite often, in an effort to protect ourselves, our parts can be in conflict and seem to hold us back from being who we really are – our Authentic Self (just Self for short).
The inner conflicts between parts, obscure or eclipse the Self, and result in a lot of painful patterns and problems in our lives – both within us – mentally, emotionally and physically, and within our relationships with others.
It’s not about you leading yourself. It’s about your True Self compassionately & courageously leading your inner team of protective parts.
About Self – some people are comfortable thinking of it as our natural self, spiritual essence, our core, our essential nature, our soul, or our life force.
Too fluffy, spiritual or woo-woo? Others are more comfortable thinking about it simply as who you are naturally, when you’re feeling safe, free, whole and open-hearted. When you’re not in survival mode or defensively reacting under threat and stress – but who you can be when you feel relaxed, safe and free within.
If you know a bit about the Polyvagal Theory, I’m talking about being in the Social Engagement System (Safe & Social Mode) of our Autonomic Nervous System.
The thing is, many of us don’t live from Self much of the time. Some of us rarely ever (and some perhaps never) live from that place of authentic wholeness and safety within themselves. And that, is at the heart of so many of our pains and problems in life – the disconnect and divide from Self – and who we become instead – the strategies and reactions we unconsciously employ to try to get things right, be a good person, be who we think we need to be to feel OK in this world.
Without connection to Self, we experience:
- A lack of confidence and trust in ourselves
- A lack of clarity & certainty
- A lack of authenticity, meaning and purpose
- A lack of resilience and wellbeing
- A lack of faith and belief in who we really are
- A lack of joy, spontaneity, excitement and enthusiasm
What’s even deeper than these experiences are burdensome beliefs that:
- we aren’t enough as we are
- we aren’t good enough
- we won’t ever have enough
- we don’t belong and won’t be accepted and loved enough
- we aren’t worth enough or don’t matter enough
What does it feel like to live from Self?
Living from Self, or being Self-Connected or Self-Led, means we live from the core of our being – more from our hearts instead of from our heads and our egos. And when we’re in Self, usually we’re experiencing a combination of these qualities and capacities in varying amounts – so not necessarily all of them all of the time (but you might in a peak experience or flow state):
- Compassion (to our whole selves and to others)
- Connectedness (with our whole selves, others and all life)
- Calm (within & a calming presence to others)
- Clarity (of mind & the vision for our lives)
- Confidence (inherent trust & belief in ourselves)
- Courage (to face our fears, overcome resistance and do what matters)
- Curiosity (open-minded interest, enthusiasm & a drive to know & experience)
- Creativity (whole brain intuitive thinking & resourcefulness, and the desire to create, build, expand)
- Presence (being here now, aware, mindful, in flow, non-reactive or striving)
- Playfulness (fun, free, energized, joyful)
- Patience (accepting, trusting, self regulating)
- Perspective (ability to shift internal states & ways of perceiving & knowing)
- Persistence (faithful determination and drive)
Take a longer look at the list above and try to imagine what it would be like to live more of the time embodying these capacities and qualities. What it would be like to feel these ways in relationships? To be like this as a parent? As a leader?
As we work together, we’ll get to know them as the 8 Cs and 5 Ps. They are not All or Nothing qualities and capacities. They are more like continuums and we can learn to turn the dials up towards more and more Self, when we do the inner work involved.
“I have become aware that our life journey is not a straight path. Ongoing coaching provides reassurance, different perspectives, assistance with self discovery and some accountability in goal setting and facing fears that may block a path to what really matters. Coaching has given me feelings of relief and comfort during a time when my life felt stuck and out of my control…”
Self is a Healing, Integrative Force Within
The root of the word Healing is to make whole – as is the meaning of Integrate. I bring this up because I want to share how we become divided, and then I’ll get into the Self Leadership processes you can learn to reconnect, which promote wholeness and wellbeing.
The reason or cause for the disconnect and divide is in our PAST (Pain – Adversity – Stress/Suffering – Trauma). In times of great fear, stress, overwhelm, helplessness and/or hopelessness, parts of us got wounded and other parts developed strategies (ways of thinking, feeling and being) to cope and survive. To try to ensure something like that will never happen again.
These parts cling to these strategies very tightly, even years after the initial pain/adversity/stress/trauma has ended and it becomes ingrained in our personality and the way we show up in the world.
Instead of being who we really are, we behave in ways to avoid what we don’t want to happen but most of it is unconscious.
We often get confused, thinking these parts or patterns are just who we are. The thing is, these patterns keep us locked in and prevent our Authentic Self from leading us lovingly, freely and confidently through life.
Parts are a natural feature of the human psyche. That is, we are born with the potential for many ways of being who we are, many sub-personalities or sub-selves (simply known as parts). Each is a version of you but not the full and whole you.
Click To Learn More About Parts
Multiplicity of Mind
Imagine a mini-bus, or a big bus, whatever you fancy. Imagine it full of characters – each one is a part of you. Each has its own kind of personality, wants, likes, fears, style, charisma, attitudes, moods, thoughts, beliefs, emotions and so on.
These natural parts show up in different situations and get to be you for a while. You have some primary parts who take the lead most of the time and you feel THIS is WHO YOU ARE.
Sometimes, some of our parts take on rigid roles in our lives. Protective roles to help us survive. And at different times, different parts take the wheel – that is, they take the seat of consciousness within you. They are You for a time and take over leadership within you.
Some you like and appreciate because they help you get some of your needs met, they are acceptable to others and keep you relatively safe. They protect you by managing you and being preventive – that is, living in a way to try to prevent pain, shame, humiliation, loss.
Think any one or combination of these – responsible, achieving, driven, organized, nurturing, cautious, proper, polite or nice.
Some you don’t like or appreciate very much because although they’re trying to help take care of you, they might get you into trouble with others and ultimately cause more harm than good. They are more reactive and take over when the managing parts aren’t effective and you’re already feeling pressure, stress, fear, boredom, pain or shame.
Think any one or combination of these – lazy, volatile, procrastinating, indulging, hostile, forgetful, irresponsible or adrenaline-seeking.
And some parts, you may not even be aware of because some of your other parts have hidden them under the floor boards. These parts exist in a dark, hidden storage area of the bus – stuck feeling what they were feeling when they got locked away – pain, shame, fear, dread, overwhelm, panic, worthless, useless, unloved, unseen – the worst feelings you can have.
Your parts don’t want those hidden passengers making their way out of the dark, fearing they’ll overwhelm you and take over and cause you too much grief, pain and suffering because if they do take the wheel, you’ll feel what they’ve been feeling.
These hidden passengers – the exiles of our psyche – do get a sense of what’s going on above the floor boards (in our lives) and get triggered quite easily. So we’ll feel some of their feelings and most of us hate feeling those feelings, so other parts kick into action to bring relief. It’s quite likely that the conscious you at the time doesn’t even notice any of this going on. You just end up wondering why you did what you did.
Just think about it – there’s a you who shows up to work and is a fully functional adult, and a you who gets on the floor and plays with your kids or your pets. You not only act differently, you are different.
Think about times you were in deep conflict within yourself – a part of you wanted to do something and another part wouldn’t let you.
Think about the word ambivalence – when you have mixed feelings about something – you feel both ways at the same time.
Think about situations where you wanted to raise an issue you had with someone but you had to confront them, and as soon as you started speaking, another part took over and said something completely benign or you just forgot what you wanted to say.
Parts are not a problem – in fact, we should try to express more parts of ourselves more often. We’d feel more whole, more free, and more fully alive.
Problems come when a part that took on a role or job in our system or psyche to protect ourselves long ago, to keep getting our needs met, to fit in, to be accepted and to get by and now that role or program prevents us from being who we are today and expressing ourselves freely. Many of these roles began when we were kids. And once parts take on such a protective role, they have a hard time letting go of them.
To get a sense of the kinds of roles these parts take on, below is a list of some highly common ones – see if any feel familiar to you just by name alone:
- Inner Critic
- Nice Guy/Gal
- One of my favorite names I’ve given to one of my parts:
These Parts Are Not Your Enemies
There are some coaching approaches out there that make these parts out to be some kind of internal pathological enemies that need to be conquered, tamed, silenced or eliminated.
It is true, that some of our parts hold onto their roles too tightly, and though they once protected us at a time when we needed it to survive and belong, they now cause us a lot of suffering. That said, I believe in a much more appreciative, compassionate, and collaborative approach to working with our problematic parts. In other words, loving.
We can’t heal and positively transform by fearing and hating ourselves even more.
One of the main therapeutic frameworks informing this work is Internal Family Systems (IFS) – you can read more about it and learn more about our internal dynamics – here: What is Self Leadership: Loving & Leading Our Selves/Parts.
I could have created a separate coaching service page for each one of those types of Problematic Parts, so you could feel this type of coaching would be highly relevant to your specific issues, wants and needs – but – the actual process would be the same, yielding life-changing results. In fact, I do have one page dedicated to The Inner Critic, because it’s an extremely common part, especially with high achievers, that causes a lot of stress and secret suffering for so many people.
I wanted to put them all under one roof here, so to speak, so it would be clear that reconnecting to the Authentic Self and learning to become the loving, compassionate, wise, strong, courageous leader within is the answer and pathway to greater inner peace, ease, confidence, freedom, resilience and wellbeing.
Managing Your Inner World Better and Building Trust in Your Self
If you’ve been into Personal Development or even Therapy before, you’ve surely learned about limiting beliefs, mindsets and attitudes, and how they put filters on how we perceive and experience the world. Many methods try to get you to change or release those beliefs from the top down – solely by trying to change how you think. That can help sometimes and indeed is worth learning but it rarely goes deep enough – into our emotional brains and our bodies to make a lasting difference.
By leveraging the heart and tapping into our own source of care and compassion for ourselves, we can relate to ourselves in new ways to release and replace those limiting beliefs and patterns.
Through our hearts we can access the Self, and it is the Self that we (our system of parts) build trust in. Through a series of processes that I will share with you, this helps parts to relinquish their rigid roles (beliefs & burdens), and frees them to reclaim their own potentialities and gifts within us.
They are no longer divided and pitted against each other. They may (they likely will) still cause resistance and even take over sometimes but you will have an inner process – a way of speaking to parts of yourself with compassion, curiosity, and acceptance so as to help them step back and let the Self take the wheel, internally and externally.
When they see what we can do, as the now grown, wise, confident, free being that we are, and they see the results we get when we are in Self, the impact we make, the meaning we create and the fulfillment we experience, they will relax their protective hold and we (our whole system) will feel a surge of wellbeing and positivity.
Because the Disconnect & Divide from Self is so insidious and devastating – and leads so many of us to self-devaluation and self-sabotage, which cause even more damage within us and in our lives, what this coaching approach promises is for you to learn and become very much more SELF-ish or SELF-FULL:
- Self aware
- Self understanding
- Self accepting
- Self compassionate
- Self connected
- Self appreciative
- Self confident
- Self loving
- Self leading
Self Leadership Coaching Begins with Inner Leadership Training
The main purpose of our work is to help you not only become more of who you really are – your Authentic Self – but more connected to it and living from it in the outer world.
I believe this is the best way – the only real way for you to create and live an authentic, rich, healthy, joyful & meaningful life. Being who you really are!
Self Leadership Coaching begins with The Resilience Fundamentals Training to teach you the important inner leadership skills of Awareness, Presence & Mindfulness, Heart-Centered Self Regulation, Emotional Processing, Thought Management, and the Priming of Positive Emotions. This will be a brief introduction to tools and practices of managing your inner world. Ideally, you will continue to develop your own inner leadership practices that you use daily.
These skills and tools help you manage your thoughts, emotions and energy in healthier ways. They help you build the muscles of resilience – the ability to notice when you’re not in your best self and have you come back to your heart, back to who you really are once you’ve been triggered, stressed, scared or struggling.
Starting with this training also helps us as coaching partners begin to build trust in one another, which is vital to our work, and will be very important to some of your parts (as well as mine).
We can then begin the compassionate, appreciative approach of Whole Life Coaching for Self Leadership.
In Self Leadership Coaching we’ll be working on creating the life you’re meant to live.
Here are the main pillars of our work:
- Establishing the meaningful direction you want to move towards – the future state that you want (the reason why you’re coming to coaching)
- Understanding your Essential Needs – what they are and how you’ve been meeting them and learning more effective and life-enhancing ways of fulfilling them (Safety, Security, Belonging, Love, Self Worth, Authenticity, Purpose, Contribution, etc.)
- Clarifying and connecting to your Core Values to prioritize and to take a stand for what really matters to you so you can guide your life, long term and day-to-day more effectively and meaningfully
- Forming a clear vision of the kind of person you’d be if you were authentically free – and the impact and difference you want to make in the world – your purpose.
- Identifying the strengths of character and virtues that bring out the best in you, that light up your parts and help you be more of you in life – engaged, committed and in flow
- Understanding and facing your fears, and practicing acceptance and compassion for yourself
- Uncovering and resolving blindspots, limiting beliefs, maladaptive patterns, and inner conflicts caused by our competing protective parts, while getting to know the wounded parts they’re protecting and learning to help them feel safer with your Self taking the lead more of the time
- Supporting you in creating meaningful goals that stretch you and help you grow by taking effective courageous values-driven actions forward and working with the resistance and interference of the relevant part, helping you become more Self-led over time
- Working together till you feel you’re ready to bring our first journey to a close – we can always pick up again down the road when you’re ready for more
“If you are looking for a coach who is authentic, and truly believes in his work and how it can help you, Guy is the coach for you.
From my experience, Guy is fully invested, 100% committed and completely present at each session. He has an uncanny ability to listen to what you are saying and respond back with exactly what you need to hear.
Guy helps you to see for yourself where your resistance and fears reside. He has a way of leading you toward self-discovery and insights, all the while being patient, compassionate and real.
The problems on the surface require getting closer to the roots and that is what Guy is able to do. As Guy says, we have blind spots and he helps us to uncover self-limiting beliefs and behaviours.
All this deeper work helped me to shed the ‘weight’ of uncomfortable feelings meaning to not resist them and to work with them when they come up.
He helped me to clear the emotional blocks meaning to not let them have such a hold on me so as to recognize they are there but I am free to make choices.
I recommend Guy to anyone searching for a coach who is the real deal. He is dedicated and focused on helping you to achieve your goals. And last but not least, he is an amazing human being.”
The Role of Self Leadership Coach
I believe what’s most important, beyond my own 20 years of personal growth work, rigorous and devoted training, and 13 years of coaching, is how much Self I’m bringing to our coaching.
I will bring presence, empathy, compassion, acceptance, understanding, curiosity, playfulness, professionalism, integrity, confidence, courage, and trust to our work.
I will use my own awareness, empathy and connection to my own parts to our work as well – my parts help me in coaching quite a bit.
In addition, you can also learn more about me indirectly on this page on Coaching with Anxiety & Depression, which shares the various approaches that guide this kind of transformational coaching.
The Process & Timing
After our free Coaching Exploration Session (sign up below), I’ll share a customized approach with you based on our conversation. You’ll have the chance to review the approach and suggest any changes you want to see. Then, once you’ve chosen me as your Coach, I will send you a Welcome Package containing everything you need to get started – Discovery Questionnaire, Assessments, Resources, and our Agreement.
You’ll complete the discovery work and I’ll review it and we’ll have our first real session to explore your work and begin with the Resilience Fundamentals training. You’ll have some exercises to take away and practice.
Every 7-14 days, we’ll have another session that builds on the last and introduces you to new resilience building skills and practices.
After 5-7 inner leadership / resilience training sessions, we’ll begin the coaching phase as described above and we’ll take it step by step – possibly alternating between working on whole life coaching and self leadership parts work but sometimes both.
It will be completely tailored to what you need in the moment and it will be a purely collaborative and co-creative journey.
Want to Talk it Over? Let me share a Coaching Exploration Session with you
This 45-60 minute call will be a time for us to meet, get to know one another, talk about your life and how you’re experiencing it and how you want it to change.
Once we have a clear understanding of what you really want and what’s getting in the way, we can talk about this whole approach
Just fill in the fields below and submit your request, I will get back to you with a list of options and some more details for the call.
Since this will be custom-tailored to you, and may include anywhere from a minimum of 15 sessions to more than 24 sessions, so a fixed price can’t be set at this time.
If you want a chance to share what’s going on in your world (inner and outer) and get more information to learn if this program is for you, just fill in the fields below and submit your request and I will get back to you with a list of options and some more details for the call.
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