What follows is a more extended take on my life coaching work and the Ignition Life Plan which I evolve with you.
We are born with a spark of life within us. This spark houses our
- Purpose: we were all born to do something in our life, something known to our hearts but not always recognised by our minds.
- Passion: we come into this world filled with enthusiasm and zest for life, which is enhanced if we channel it into our purpose.
- Power: we have enormous life-force at our disposal. It inflames our passion and serves our purpose.
This spark gets obscured; ‘hiding our light under a bushel’. This bushel is like so much dead wood, hiding our powerful spark, diminishing our life force.
This dead wood consists of a set of beliefs that we live by, which do not reflect our true passionate desires or sense of purpose. We were not born with these beliefs: they were programmed into us by our family, society and culture. We internalise these beliefs and then act them out every time we us the words ‘should’, ‘ought’ or ‘must’. I refer to this as acting according to the orders of the Inner Dictator.
Three things result from living according to the Inner Dictator’s rules.
- We don’t know what we want – the Inner Dictator has suffocated our spark of purpose by demanding obedience to its own agenda and we do not see our heart’s truth.
- We believe we are never good enough – the Inner Dictator has tried to extinguish our spark of passion by dousing it with shame.
- We lack motivation – the Inner Dictator has sapped the power in our spark by channeling it into its own agenda
These three experiences combine to stifle our life force and prevent us from living our best life.
There is a lot of energy held in adhering to these beliefs: energy is held and does not flow freely when it is resisting. In this case, you are resisting your hearts own desires, although you probably don’t know it. Most of the struggle goes on below the level of your awareness.
When you take steps to follow your hearts desire, you unblock this energy and free it up. Unblocked energy is oxygen to your spark, and it gets fanned into a flame which burns away all the should and empowers, repurposes and encourages you to live your best life.
Making power, passion and purpose work for you.
So how can you actually ignite your life?
To ignite your life, you and I work a life coaching program: your Life Ignition Plan or LIP. Then you carry it out, with my help.
Your LIP is
- Bespoke, entirely yours and aligned with your needs.
- Modifiable at any time.
- Scalable so as to be realistic according to how much time you are prepared to invest.
I will be beside you every step of the way to provide advice, support and accountability.
There are two elements involved in igniting your life, and we build these into your LIP:
- You fan your spark – charge yourself with energy.
- You burn the deadwood – cleanse yourself of self-limiting beliefs.
Fanning the Spark
When we blow on or fan a spark we are feeding it with oxygen: fires survive on a diet of oxygen. Likewise, we have a diet, not only of food but of air, water, exercise, activities, friendships, and information. I invite you to review and refine your diet in our work together. Imagine feeding pure oxygen to your spark: what a blaze!
So you act to refine all aspects of your diet. You have a smorgasbord of refinement tools to play with, here:
- Eat healthy foods in smaller portions, drink filtered water and plenty of it, cut down on or cut out alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, processed foodstuffs, recreational drugs. I can build detox programs into your Ignition Plan, offer advice on physical diet and nutrition and support you on giving up harmful substances.
- Exercise to build your body for strength, flexibility and stamina. Your ignition plan could include all types of yoga from the gentle to the extremely demanding, callisthenics, strength training, running, cycling, swimming and breathwork. And if this sounds daunting, remember: it’s all scaled to whatever you feel you can manage.
- Refine your diet of information with less social scrolling, films and books that uplift rather than desensitise and avoiding giving or receiving toxic gossip. Reducing dependence on social media and increasing an input of material which inspires and energises you is a major source of energy and these elements can be built into your Life Ignition Plan.
- Refine your diet of relationship. This means with everybody: friends, work colleagues, family members, lovers, the people you randomly meet in supermarket queues and coffee houses. Imagine a life in which you emerged from a conversation feeling energised, listened to and compassionate towards the other. So often, the reverse is true. We can build all sorts of communication skills into your Life Ignition Plan to cultivate assertiveness, personal boundary-setting, consent, learning to deal with ‘difficult’ people in the workplace and more. We will use a combination of Transactional Analysis, NonViolent Communication, neuroscience, NLP, consent practices and more, to clarify your relationships, put you in touch with what you need from others and how far you are willing to adapt to their needs, and to attract new relationships in your life with individuals who are attracted to your growing sense of personal power.
- You can opt to work on changing your diet of activities. What I term ‘activities’ in your life can be anything from generating an Excel spreadsheet to changing a nappy to windsurfing. Your life is filled with activities, great and small. We are more prone to get more out of life when we have mastery of an activity: with mastery, we do things better, faster and with more joy, flow and ease. Your Ignition Plan can contain the keys to mastery, to organise your time and workflow using up-to-date time management systems and to engage in mindfulness practices so as to get the most out of mastery.
Imagine a Life Ignition Plan built out of some of these elements. Imagine your life beginning to change as, day by day, you work to eliminate from your diet all that does not serve you and embrace everything that does.
Burning the Deadwood
So far, then, we have spoken about the things you can do in order to increase your life force. Maybe this sounds good on paper but perhaps you have reservations about how realistic it is to carry out a LIP. After all, when was the last time you decided to give up cigarettes, or chocolate, or that fourth glass of wine – but didn’t? The truth is, we have resistance to making changes in our lives, even the ones that are obviously life-affirming. Most of us start regimes of self-improvement, and rarely, if ever, see them through to completion. Workshops wear off, and so does the vibe you get from devouring an inspiring self-help book.
There is a reason for this.
Most of us do not live our best life because, as I mentioned earlier, there are the things we ‘ought’ or ’should’ or ‘must’ do. Every time I hear somebody act according to a ‘should’, I know they are living according to their Inner Dictator’s rules, not their own:
‘I should listen to my colleagues tedious monologue without interruption.’
‘I ought to mow the lawn and clean the car because it’s the weekend’
‘I should quit trying to make a living from writing/painting because I can’t make a living out of it.’
The ‘should’s suck up your life force and train you to sit in the passenger seat whilst the Inner Dictator does the driving. And your power gets channelled into obeying those shoulds.
Remember, as I explained at the beginning of this talk:
When we live by the Inner Dictator’s code and not by our own, three things hold us back from living our best life:
- We don’t know what we want – the inner Dictator has suffocated our spark of purpose by demanding compliance to its own agenda. We spend so much time doing what we ought to do that we lose sight of what we want to do.
- We believe we are not good enough – the Inner Dictator has tried to extinguish our spark of passion by dousing it with shame.
- We lack motivation – the Inner Dictator has sapped the power in our spark, channeling it into its own agenda.
It is the Inner Dictator who sabotages our life, sabotaging our productivity, stifling our creativity. S/He gives us the message that we are not good enough in all sorts of ways. The messages vary between individuals: not attractive enough, not slim enough, not successful enough, not intelligent enough. These messages are programmed into us from a very early age and we secretly build our identity out of them. These are largely unconscious processes but they run our lives, hiding, dampening and enslaving our essential spark. Because we don’t see them, they are extremely difficult to transform. I call these, collectively, the Deficiency Myth.
Our Deficiency Myths are the mission statements of our Inner Dictator.
It’s like when we fan our spark and power up, we are inflating the balloon that will carry us to the heights we dream of. But the altitude we reach is limited by how much dead wood we are carrying in our balloon.
My clients vary in how much dead wood they carry. Some of them have powerful self-limiting beliefs that are evident to themselves and others: others have relatively mild ones that remain hidden. Sabotaging your life-affirming work through boredom, believing it’s too difficult, deciding you can’t be bothered and so on are ways of proving the Deficiency Myth to yourself….which is why workshops, self-help books, programs of activity etc tend not to work: the Deficiency Myth deadwood can be one heavy weigh-down when you aim to rise.
If you want to ignite your life and fire up that hot air balloon to gain the altitude you dream of…and beyond…you will need to not only fan that spark to heat up the balloon, but jettison the Deficiency Myth deadwood.
Now this task may be more difficult than it may seem. Deficiency Myth conditioning has many layers, and the deeper, earlier ones are the hardest to deal with. Challenging beliefs and behaviours work successfully for a few people, and I use positive psychology and encouragement to help them achieve their goals and that is enough.
But for many of us, they continue to weigh us down no matter how much we chant positive affirmations like mantras. We get a sense that something is weighing us down, but we don’t know what that something is. It’s embedded in us, so we are like fish, not knowing the water we swim in. That something is your Deficiency Myth which, out of your awareness, you are busy proving to yourself.
To get to this deepest material of our earliest conditioning, we need the approach of a quality depth psychotherapy. My life coaching work entails the use of my therapy skills to uncover this buried material. I am trained in Transactional Analysis, Integral Psychotherapy and Bioenergetics, and additionally use Actionistic Therapy and Dramatherapy. This work is deep, powerful and can progressively liberate you from the deadwood of your conditioning.
The result is that your balloon ascends with greater ease: increased benefits from all your LIP dietary refinements. I have 23 years of experience working as a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist and ran a clinic from the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy for two decades. I am well-qualified to help you in this respect. It’s one of the elements which differentiates me from most Life Coaches.
So to recap: a program of change involves a combination of changing your diet in the widest sense of that word, and outing your Inner Dictator. This restores your inner sovereignty, and enables that bright and shining flame of your power, passion and purpose to make your best life.
It’s not all effort and efficiency…
One thing I’d like to mention here is the role of the heart. What I have been speaking about suggests that I am encouraging you to train like a decathlon athlete and that your LIP is going to look hardcore. Actually, this is not what I am advocating. When you ignite your purpose in life, it’s your heart which is your compass, not your mind.
Your mind can weigh up both pros and cons for any course of action which you consider undertaking, but it is your heart, with it’s sense of ‘YES!’ in your body, which is your truest compass. When your heart tells you what you need to do, you will answer it call despite your mind’s misgivings. It is the mind which is infected with the Inner Dictator’s musts, should and oughts. To the extent that these are burned out in the work we do together, you get to know your own heart.
Because your Inner Spark is in your heart, not your head. Your head naturally serves your hearts purpose, not vice-versa. With the work we co-create, you grow into a kinder, wiser and more empathic human being altogether. You become attuned to yourself, to others and to your environment. You create your life. And you do this without sacrificing any of your efficiency or potency.
Outcomes are fluid.
The outcome of quality life coaching work is that, as fire cleanses you, water takes you into the full flow of your life. You learn to be a navigator on your riverboat, knowing when to use effort to steer your boat, and when to surrender to the flow in the knowledge that you cannot steer the river itself. Sometimes we need to apply ourselves whilst at other times we need to let life happen to us. Wisdom resides in knowing when to surrender and when to hold the rudder…and when to do a bit of both.
Are you ready to Ignite your Life?
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