A Guiding Hand episode

In taking this photograph of the Northern Lights I had to scramble in the dark across rocks to get a good shot. Though at first the rocks were an unwanted and challenging obstacle, in the resulting photograph they take their place and are an essential aspect of the whole composition. So, in taking this image, I was left wondering what value might there be in accepting and including the obstacles that we face in our daily working lives?

Consider if you will, the challenges that you currently face or have previously faced:

Describe what is or was problematic.

And what was your experience when you had faced these challenges?

What did you discover? And learn?

Take what time you need to fully respond to these questions…..

I commonly encounter folk in my work as a coach who experience begin stuck and somehow locked and unable to move forward by a particular problem. Automatically in these situations, we think that to move forward, we must push through or try harder. However, is this the answer or indeed what creates the problem?

Consider for yourself.

Albert Einstein wisely reminds, that we cannot solve a problem by the same level or by the same logic, that created it. So where do we find our answers if we are not able to rationally push through?

When we think about challenges, we commonly take an objective viewpoint and as result view the problem we are facing from the outside looking in. But what if standing outside and looking in is more the problem than answer?  Might the solution we seek be less objective and more subjective? Might we then realise that there may be no way around the issues we face, but only by entering and working through them. Could the only way out, be in?

So what does this paradox – the way out is in – invite of you, as a problem solver?

Take time to respond from your own experience….

Might we, In our wish to discover the answer, be willing to turn to face and therefore more fully enter into the experience that we are may be tempted to hold at arm’s length or turn away from?

Could we for example, move towards what we may fear or feel anxious about, rather than standing away or apart from in aspiring to resolve?

Once again, what we may discover is a remarkable invitation of our developmental journey, which is our ability to turn towards what we may automatically judge and turn away from.  This may at first sound a simple manoeuvre and yet what this seems to invite is our willingness to enter the issues and our experience, rather than objectively standing apart and trying hard to rationally work things out.

What we may be invited to learn is that the answer and resolution that we seek, may be revealed only if we are willing to embrace the emotions we may judge or turn away from.

Consider a current issue in your life and work that you are fearful of or are anxious about and bring this forward if you are willing. Notice how you may wish to react to fear and anxiety and push the ‘problem’ away.

Now imagine instead that you are willing and able to turn towards what you may fear or feel anxious about.

Firstly, describe as fully as you can what you fear or feel anxious about?

Then notice, how in describing and more fully facing these experiences you may change?

Take time to consider what you may have discovered?

And if and how this discovery affects your confidence in facing problems?

Take time to digest what you may be learning here. Take what time you need for this may be quite new to you….

When we deny or push away our emotions of fear and anxiety for example, we are not free of them but instead locked by them and commonly feel stuck. However, when we are willing to face into and befriend such emotions, we are free to be guided by them can move forward and experience liberation.

And here is the principle, what essentially locks us – if we can face and own and explore– becomes the only key to our liberation. Consider the importance of realising this remarkable paradox in your own life and work?

Through our automatic tendency to overthink and be over-rational in our approach to problem-solving, we essential rather than moving forward, we get in our own way.

However, if we can turn towards such experiences, the problem we thought we faced can then become opportunistic and guide us forward. In our willingness to go beyond rationality and instead to work with our emotions and experiences, we essentially learn how to get out of our own way.

Through such learning, we learn how the obstacles that we fear can become the stepping stones essential to our development and growth. And here once again let’s return to the photograph at the start of this conversation. Are these rocks obstacles or stepping stones? What we push away, seems only to hold us back.  What we are willing to face and emotionally attend to seems to hold the key and may unlock and reveal the way forward.

May you be willing to look and more deeply enter the feelings and experiences associated with the obstacles that you may face. Turning towards and befriending your emotions as the gateway to discovering how to move forward.  May you find the courage to face your fears, anxieties, and frustrations and discover the key to your lock.

May you discover how through such courageous problem solving you can more fully discover hidden your gifts and potentiality.

May such a practice build strength and fortitude as you willingly face your problems with growing optimism and resilience.



Podcast Version

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