Why Is That So Bad

13-Jun-2016

Why is that so bad? Coaching for creatives

One of the cool things about being a life coach is that you do a lot of self-coaching. Even the most experienced life coaches have self-limiting beliefs and get stuck too. And coaching—on yourself and others—is all about finding a negative thought and looking at it from a new perspective. But if any of you have ever been stuck in a funk or just have a serious case of ’bout-to-start-your-period, you probably know that this can be a hard thing to do.

So how do life coaches get underneath a negative thought? By asking lots and lots of questions. This can feel intrusive at first but it’s all about curiosity and gathering information—and loosening the grip around self-limiting belief that feels oh-so very real.

My very favorite question that I’ve learned from Martha Beck herself to use in coaching sessions (and that I use all. the. time. on myself) is this:

Why is that so bad?

Asking “Why is that so bad?” accomplishes a couple things:
1. It takes you deeper into the negative thought, which often uncovers the root of the real problem… OR
2. It makes you realize that what you thought was a problem is not in fact a problem at all.

Switching perspective coaching for creatives

Here it is boiled down in super-simplified example (but sometimes it really is this simple):

Client: “I’m afraid I’m staying at my job because it’s comfortable.”
Me: “Why is that so bad?”
Client: “What do you mean?” This question often throws the client for a bit of a loop.
Me: “Why is it so bad to be comfortable at your job?”
Client: “Wow. Yeah… it isn’t so bad to be comfortable.” And that’s where the shift in perspective begins to happen.

But that same conversation could’ve easily gone in a different direction:

Client: “I’m afraid I’m staying at my job because it’s comfortable.”
Me: “Why is that so bad?”
Client: “I suppose it’s not bad that it’s comfortable. But it’s bad because I’m not able to grow or develop my skill sets. I don’t have any mentors in my work place. I’m not being pushed to become the kind of designer I want to be.” So here we’ve uncovered that the problem isn’t comfort—the problem is the inability to grow. Now the client has a little more clarity around the real issue.

Why is it so bad to say no?

I use “why is that so bad?” when I feel pressure to say yes but really want to say no. If you’re a people pleaser, you probably obligate yourself to too many things you don’t want to do or feel bad about saying no. For me this includes lots of things—from deciding whether or not to go out on a Friday night to being invited to speak at a conference in New York to being asked to do free work for friends or family. It might also include being lazy about doing blog posts every week or not being as involved on social media as I’d like to be. When I ask myself “why is that so bad (to decline)?” it helps me see the reality of the situation, honor my own needs, and feel a lot less apologetic and “bad” about saying no.

Try This:
As you move through your day, take notice of your internal dialogue—especially when it comes to making decisions or judgments. Then ask yourself “Why is that so bad?” Create some new thoughts. Expand your mind. See what happens.

DIY coaching for creatives with Braid Creative

If you like this post you might like our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love—in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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