Friday, May 24, 2002

Climate Control

I just joined Coachville’s Graduate School of Coaching (GSC). It was time to throw myself into a new learning environment. This environment is full of coaches with new ideas and lots of energy. Already, it's given me a new topic for this newsletter. The 14th of 15 Coaching Proficiencies at Coachville is "To Help the Client Design Supportive Environments." The GSC is one of my new supportive environments. I enrolled and paid the price. There is nothing more to do. I'm just along for the ride.

There are three ways to make a change or evolve yourself.
  1. Experiment. Keep trying new things until something fits. “Throw mud on the wall and see what sticks.”
  2. Willpower. Make a decision to change and use your willpower to push through, persist, sustain, and change. This one is hard work and has a high failure rate but can produce some cool adrenaline if you're into that.
  3. Environment. Create an environment that supports your change and let the environment pull you forward.
“Pulling you forward” is radically easier than accomplishing things via willpower, determination, and “pushing through.” Most often, we make change difficult because we have not designed an environment that supports the change. Easy change comes “because of” the supportive environment you design, not “in spite of” the draining environment you may be in. A supportive environment provides incentive, nourishment, enthusiasm and pulls you.

Look around you. You have a relationship with everything in your life and they are all environments. Environments are the books you read, the car you drive, the house you live in, the people you work with, the people you play with, your office, your pets, your computer, the art on your walls, the music you listen to, nature and all it has to offer….. Start thinking of these as environments and change becomes easy. Whether an environment drains you or energizes you is your choice.

Want to wake up in the morning feeling rested and eager to move into your day? What's your sleeping situation? Is your mattress old and worn out? Does the color of your bedroom and your bedding energize you? Do you have to plod to the kitchen to start the coffee or can you smell it already perking? They make machines for that, you know. I have a friend who sets her automatic bread machine to start baking early on Sunday morning.

When I want to learn more about something, I often put myself in an environment where I have to explain it to someone else. This newsletter is an example.

My dogs are an environment. I don't use willpower to get exercise and stay in shape. In fact, I never even think about it. Why? Because at least twice a day I have two wet noses in my lap and four eyes reminding me that it's time for a walk. While I could justify to myself that there's too much to do to take time to walk in the woods or the weather is just not good, maybe tomorrow, I can't say “no” to my dogs.

A few winters back we had a bad storm that bought down a lot of trees. I had a lot of cleanup work to do and was not looking forward to that chore. Until, we decided to throw a bonfire party. Same task, clean up the downed trees. Different environment, PARTY!

When properly designed, environments do all the work.

"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself." ~Mark Caine

You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back? ~Clement Stone

"It's not unusual to learn more in the 5 minutes between classes than one learns during the 55 minutes of official class time.” ~Howard Lambert

“All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.” ~Joseph Joubert

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