Post written by:
Mrs Joké Coker (JC) LEAD COACH, Constellation Coaching Group LLC. Master Practitioner of NLP, Licensed NLP Coach Trainer, Member ICF.
A good example of a person who personified exemplary levels of self-transcendence is Nelson Mandela, who was locked in prison for 27 years by the apartheid government in South Africa. He spent 18 of his 27 prison years under very harsh conditions, restricted to a small cell that lacked basic amenities and being forced to engage in hard labor.
Eventually, Mandela regained his freedom and ultimately became the first black president of South Africa. He could have used his position as president to unleash revenge against the perpetrators of apartheid. However, to the relief of his previous captors and the consternation of others, Mandela chose to look past the pain and inhumane treatments and even subdued his own natural, emotional yearning for vengeance. He had a fixed vision on his goal of developing a country that would correct its past errors, heal past wounds and be a home to all its citizens. His self-transcendence gave South Africa the opportunity to take its place in the comity of nations.
Transcendence is a key tool for leaders, both political and corporate. Life coaches also play a leadership role, as we help clients discover a life of happiness and meaning.
There have been various debates, discussions and theories on the subject of happiness. However, from the early years, happiness has always been conceived as consisting of two aspects: hedonia, which is based on the notion that to be happy is to experience more pleasure than pain—to have more positive moments than negative ones; and eudaimonia, which is based on the idea that happiness comes from being in a contented state because you are experiencing a well-lived life, a life of purpose and growth.
In recent times, there have been some unique theories on the concept of happiness developed by the discipline of positive psychology. Prominent among these theories is “authentic happiness,” a theory of happiness expounded by Martin Seligman in his book of the same title in 2002. Seligman propounds that happiness consists of three elements: the pleasant life, the good life and the meaningful life.
The pleasant life involves engaging in those activities that bring you pleasure and excitement. Such activities include taking long walks in the evening, watching a movie, or hanging out at a coffee shop or diner.
The good life involves utilizing your core abilities and skills in endeavors that will make your life richer and more fulfilling. The fulfillment that comes from achieving the good life arises from being engaged in an activity that aligns with your unique strength.
The meaningful life is about contributing to the greater good through the use of your strengths and talents. As you harness these in ways that benefit others, you enrich the world and make it a better place for all.
As a coach, your task requires you to focus less on your own needs and challenges. The moment a coach-coachee relationship begins, an effective coach will put aside her own needs. She puts aside her own challenges, biases and paradigms, listens without judgment, and asks open-ended questions that help the client reflect, reframe and review his options and actions.
The most effective way to achieve this dimension is through self-transcendence. However, achieving self-transcendence requires mindfulness and intentionality. As a coach, there are a number of things you can intentionally do to increase the extent of your self-transcendence. These include the following:
1. Reflect. Take time out to think about your current state of being. As a person and a coach, are you happy? Make a mental note to enjoy your daily experiences or even start a gratitude journal, savoring daily encounters mindfully. By keeping a gratitude journal, you are reminded daily of the many positive things in your life that you may otherwise have taken for granted. Since you are experiencing positive feelings about your life, it will be relatively easier for you to transcend beyond yourself and focus on the needs of your clients and how you can help them achieve joy and serenity.
2. Select. Select which joyful experience you wish to focus on at the end of each day in your meditation. As a coach, practicing meditation will help you ultimately transcend beyond self-absorption so that you will always be able to focus on your clients’ needs in order to help them achieve centeredness and greater feelings of calm, peace and clarity.
3. Impart. Share your learning on enhanced living with your clients. You may even talk to them about your gratitude journal. This way, you will be able to transcend beyond yourself and achieve greater results with your clients because you are focused on doing them good through your work with them.
4. Impact. The joy you experience in your work as a coach will empower you to go into each coaching session with an attitude of transcendence, focusing on truly helping your clients. This is because doing what you do brings you absolute pleasure. Practicing random acts of kindness also helps you find pleasure in your work, no matter the prevailing situation.
5. Review. Always take time to review how embarking on the changes made above is helping you achieve transcendence so that you can achieve better results with your clients.
6. Repeat. Commit to doing more of Steps 1 to 5 in the weeks ahead.