There’s a part of me that is gleeful in sharing with the trainees in our life coach certification that I spent something like two years working with my own coach, Matthew, being resistant. I argued with my coach. I paid money to come to sessions and then didn’t do any of the work that he was suggesting. I was what the industry would have defined as “uncoachable.”
And then things changed, in that way that you can have a series of a-ha moments that stack themselves up with one another in a short succession of time. Or perhaps it’s as Oprah is wont to say, that first life throws a pebble, then a brick, and then the walls come crashing down.
I got it. Shit needed to change, and shit needed to change—now. I was not fucking around with my life, anymore.
So I got devoted. I became devoted to the work.
I booked more sessions. I did the work he was suggesting, all of it, no cutting corners, absolutely every single day.
For a year or so, I was absolutely rigorous about “using my tools,” Matthew’s phrase for the work he’d suggested I undertake between our sessions. After a year, “using my tools” wasn’t some life coach-ey series of exercises that I was trying to allot time for, each day. Those tools were just the way that I lived my life.
Flipping the Devotion Switch
We spend a lot of time wrangling with whether or not we will be devoted.
In my experience, once someone has been turned on to devotion, once they realize how hot it is, there’s a shift in their entire being. There are the people who get it—who have had the switch flipped, so to speak—and the people who don’t.
Most of the time, I’m interested in talking to the people who know that they don’t get it—but wow, do they WANT to. They really, really want to flip the switch and get devoted.
I’ve come to understand that whether it’s something as basic as a yoga practice or something as important as a marriage, devotion is the doorway.
When I stopped skipping the yoga poses that I didn’t like—when the devotion switch flipped—I began to get more out of yoga than I ever had, in more than a decade of practice.
When I decided that I was devoted to my husband, that I didn’t just love him but that I was also devoted to him and to the partnership that we had created, it forever altered our marriage.
When I stopped mis-trusting the coaching support that I was paying for, my entire life changed, and radically.
What’s funny is that actual devotion, the being-ness of being devoted, isn’t nearly as tough as is everything that comes before it. What comes before devotion is the questioning of the devotion and the commitment.
Will I do this? Will I really, really do this, this time? Am I actually going to (for real) be devoted, and (for real) follow through?
That back-and-forth wondering if you really (truly) will be devoted takes far more energy than the actual commitment.
In yoga, it takes more energy for me to debate with myself about skipping the hard poses than it does to do the hard poses. In my business, it takes more energy for me to debate with myself about whether or not to work on a task where I’m resistant, than it does to just get the task over n’ done with. In my marriage, it takes more energy for me to debate with myself (or my husband), than to take a breath and ask in a non-pissy voice, “Okay. I’m sorry. Let’s talk about this.”
And in personal growth, I’m glad that I finally came to understand that if I devoted myself to any practice intended to nurture me, that’s exactly what it would do.
Perhaps that’s the good news: that any practice intended to nurture you will qualify. You don’t need to go seeking new ones. Just stop, breathe, and look around at your life. What are the practices that you’ve already been offered? The ones that you’ve resisted or discounted?
That’s where the juice is. That’s where the greatest return on the reward of devotion will reside.