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Boss of your schedule

by Aletta Wubben

Thomas, one of my clients, says he doesn’t really have time for coaching. ‘I have a really busy schedule, he says, a little apologetically. ‘It’s just one appointment after another.’ I ask him who’s boss in the Thomas- schedule relationship. Thomas says it’s him. It just doesn’t feel that way. There are so many things waiting to be taken care of. Thomas’s busy schedule doesn’t leave him much breathing space.

It’s a familiar picture, isn’t it? We mention our ‘tight schedule’ as if the thing has an identity of its own. It’s like a badly trained dog chasing a cat. Meanwhile the leash is pulled ever tighter. Thomas, a successful and valued professor, is one of those owners being dragged along. He doesn’t complain. He enjoys his job, which enables him to do the things he likes. And yet he has trouble sleeping. His heart races and he has headaches. He realises something has to change.

His health is suffering and that is both a good and a bad thing. Often change only happens if we are confronted with something potentially serious. On a conscious level we all know it’s better to relax a bit more. But running after that dog still seems the easier option. At least, he knows where he’s going.

Thomas has had enough. He decides it’s time for him and the dog to find some help so he can be in charge of the leash again. I ask him what he would like to achieve. Thomas says he wants to relax more and spend time with colleagues he likes to work with. He wants to do fun things with his kids, go out for meals. In short: Thomas wants to enjoy life.

We get started. A number of sessions into the training the dog is trotting obediently at his side. It still needs to be told to heel every now and again but it’s come a long way. How did Thomas do it? It’s not that simple to do, or explain. What it comes down to is that Thomas has decided that quality of life is more important than conquering his schedule.   There is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve certain goals but what we need to ask ourselves is whether it’s ok to have some fun along the way. If the answer is yes, your results and your life will improve.

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