A casestudy with Michelle: What is holding her back?
How is it possible that this energetic, intelligent woman with an incredible positive vibe around her, is too insecure to be successful?
Michelle contacted me via e-mail and wanted to know which ‘models’ I use in my coaching practice. I replied with a short answer: ‘I don’t’. This sparked some more questions and I asked her to meet me without any obligation just to answer these.
She had experience with 5 coaches and 3 therapists in the past 3 years. I was quite amazed by this number. “What on earth is your goal if you need so many different people to support you?!” I asked.
My blunt question made her smile and she told me about her triggers. “I’m struggling with doubt for years now. I’ve tried all kinds of jobs and never felt happy or in place.”
While she talks, I can feel she is very energetic, intelligent and has an incredible positive vibe around her. It is very hard to see why on earth she would need a therapist in her life.
“And what did all these people do with you?” The list she sums up is endless. Cognitive behavioural therapy, EMDR, soul-searching, coaching with horses, mind-fullness, etcetera etcetera.
“Did any of these things work for you?” I asked her. “No, some of them seamed to work for a few days, but in the end nothing helped. And that’s why I’m here.”
I was a bit amazed by this story. “But Michelle, please tell me, what would be your goal if we are going to work with each other?” She needed a few seconds, but then replied: “I want to get rid of my doubt.”
“And what triggers your doubt?” In her youth this woman learned that being certain and strong was not very helpful. Her dad was extremely dominant and rewarded insecure and sub-dominant behaviour. So every time Michelle was close to finding something she was good at, her father discouraged her by responding extremely negative. Her brain did not want this pain, and avoided succes by triggering a script with doubt.
Now, 20 years later, she still does this. “Would you be willing to dismantle this trigger and write a new script with me?” She shakes my hand, thanks me and leaves my practice. And we have not even talked about any coaching-model she was curious about.
In the following months I have worked with Michelle on creating a new trigger. As soon as something was possibly successful, we made the trigger ‘BOOST’. And with this, we started a new script, that:
- acknowledged her right to be happy and successful
- demanded her to keep up for at least 6 months
- to speak about her success moments with friends and colleagues
Now, a year later, she found a great job and is a lot more confident in her day to day life.
Our psychological being is nothing more than a set of software instructions, started by triggers. Changing these requires a structural process, pain and urgency as fuel en sometimes: a professional to support and measure this change.
Read more about psychological scripts and changing behaviour in Leadership Lessons #7: Pyschological Scripts
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