English articles

Spring and lockdown '21

I just came home from my first visit to the grocery market since November. Here in Rapperswil by Lake Zurich, the market happens every Friday morning between the end of March and November. It takes place on the beautiful main square, surrounded by street cafés, usually open and busy. For me, the setting always triggers some southern France feelings.

Of course, at the moment the cafes are closed. You can get a hot drink and stand outside, that would be allowed, but it doesn't come close.

In other countries, restrictions are even stricter, no markets, no standing around. People are buying groceries at the supermarket and head back home immediately.

As a life-coach and individual therapist, I know the fears that change of personal routines can cause.

However, we live in a different time and either have to accept this or can endlessly dwell on discontent and hatred for those making the rules or hope that this pandemic will soon pass and everything will go back to the way it was before.

I offer another option:

The chance to find a ray of hope during these very unpleasant and uncertain times. We can find it in ourselves.

What other choice do we have than to reflect and go inward? People ask themselves the questions: What is really important to me, what makes sense in my life now and what doesn't?

They question more critically than before the direction they want to take in their lives. When something old and familiar breaks away over a longer period of time, e.g. cultural events, cinema, restaurant, concerts, etc. an emptiness comes up in many people.

I see this as a positive aspect, because we are all creative beings and have much more in us than we previously might have given us credit for. Maybe we had become just a bit too comfortable with the many distractions on the outside and had let ourselves be deviated from our real needs, goals and desires about how we want to shape our lives.

I work as an individual therapist and have noticed that my clients are more critical of themselves and their environment these days. They question more, but are also more dissatisfied with situations.

It often takes a lot of courage to honestly recognize that something needs change, and it takes just as much courage to accept that there are situations that you can't or won’t change.

In both possibilities lies the opportunity for a new perspective and enrichment.

Both are important processes in which I support.

We live in polarity and it follows that a negative, when viewed differently, can also be judged positively. Thus it is possible that an apparent hopelessness can bring something positive to light with the help of a change of perspective, a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

As a coach supporting people during changes, it is close to my heart to strengthen people, to give them a positive feeling and a possible approach to a possible solution.

It is known that self-confident people with inner strength, stability and a positive orientation can shape their own lives positively and in turn attract positive events.

You too can achieve this.

End of March 2021

Life decisions

Everything we do, first requires a conscious decision, then the action.

There often are numerous possibilities in a situation requiring a decision. Which path is the right one, and when taken what will be its implications? However, we cannot predict the future. We are, perhaps, able to rationally calculate some possibilities but even these are not certain.

As an example, the case of a client I saw beginning of last year when the pandemic had just started.

He was in his late 40s and had already consulted me a few times previously. I was aware that he’d been working in his job for over 20 years but was greatly unhappy and complained about it constantly.

When he came to me that time, he reported that he had received a job offer from a much smaller company where he felt his work could perhaps be more appreciated and where he could even envisage himself eventually becoming part of the management.

I was thrilled for him and we talked about the positive sides of this job change, which he was able to describe to me in much detail when I asked him to. He felt the emotional relief and freedom that such a change would offer him.

However, after each positive description and despite confirming how relieved and happy he would be with such a change, there came massive BUTs…

He would soon be caught up again in his fear, counting the negative sides and uncertainties, like “what if in these uncertain times, the company would have to close; what if he would not be able to cope with the new situation; what if the commute to work would be too tiresome; what if he would see his old colleagues much less”, and so on…

These prejudices kept him awake at night, he was torn and could not decide.

From my therapeutic perspective, his fear of change outweighed the positive aspects and he could not move forward. He felt stuck and unable to make a decision.

My approach was, helping him tap into his own positive past experiences regarding change and use these as his motivation.

It was possible for him to emotionally remember a powerful past situation where he had been able to take the plunge and bring about a life change. At that time, a courageous new step had enabled him to further his education and to eventually get a well-paid job. He was reminded and emotionally actually re-lived much of that very positive experience. It anchored in him the positive feeling and inner strength the earlier change had resulted in and helped him eventually to come to a decision in his current situation.

We all need to take risks as we do not know the future - life is full of decisions (good and bad), uncertainties and – yes - risks!

However, a study showed that in retrospect the deepest regrets people had after having been faced with a decision was when they had NOT taken any decision and thus had let an opportunity pass by!

Poor decisions, when taken with the best intentions, are regarded to be much less regrettable than the ones missed to take at all, the study suggested.

It is the lost opportunities of not having seized the moment and of having pursued something that had presented itself is the greatest regret.

Isn’t change what life is all about?

Back to my client’s case:

He came a few more times, each time he looked more self-assured and stronger. Eventually he found the courage to resign and take the new position.

Was this a mistake? When I saw him recently, he reported amazing things:

He feels a lot happier in this company and, although the first few months had not been easy, he is now well accepted and liked in his small team.

Taking this decision presented another positive experience and was so encouraging for him that he even found the motivation to also move into a new apartment, something he had been wanting to do for years….

When asked what he would have done, had the new position not suited him, he amazingly said: “I would still have been glad to have made the step because of how it had felt to resign. I felt empowered and in charge. I want to continue feeling this way!”

It is not only about the changes on the outside. Taking this particular decision, he overcame his great fear and took a more active approach. He confirmed to me how much more alive he is feeling and how he can now see situations in a different light – less fear based and more joyful.

Is there something in your life that you feel needs a decision? I support you!