How coaching helped me make the biggest decision of my life

This is the story about the power of a reframe. About a simple shift that made a world of difference for me.

Before we dive in, let’s start with the basics. What’s a reframe? It’s a tool we use in coaching a lot to get the client to see the different possibilities of a situation, or to see another side of an issue. Reframes have the power to shift someone’s energy from destructive and draining to positive and uplifting.

For as long as I can remember, I struggled with the idea of having kids. I wasn’t one of those people who was born to be a mother, and yet, when I thought about my life far into the future, grown children were always a part of it. I just couldn’t see a clear path there.

Parenthood scared me. I worried that I’d regret doing it. I worried that I’d regret not doing it. The whole thing created so much anxiety and worry.

I finally got to a point (thanks, Mother Nature) where I had to make a choice one way or another. My husband and I spent months weighing out the decision and running through scenarios.

Most notably, one of the themes that continued to come up was travel.

I didn’t want to stop traveling and worried that kids meant the end to our international adventures.

Travel is a huge part of our lives. We’ve been all over the world, and simply adore exploring new places, eating new foods, learning about new cultures and stepping outside our bubble for a couple of weeks.

And sure, it’s possible to pack up a baby and head across the ocean. Rationally, I knew that was true. But somewhere in my gut, it didn’t feel true. It would be too hard. It wouldn’t be as fun. It would be so exhausting that it wouldn’t feel like a vacation at all. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

This belief that we’d have to stop doing something we loved so much really bummed me out — and ultimately, made me seriously question whether having kids was something I wanted. I felt stuck and confused.

Early on in my coach training at iPEC, my instructor introduced one of the principles of Core Energy Coaching™ that changed everything: Energy attracts like energy. She explained the concept as the energy you put out into the world is the energy you’re going to get back. So if you look at the world with a critical eye, you’re going to find a lot wrong with it. Whereas if you look at the world as full of possibility, you’re going to see all the opportunities around you.

Simple concept, but something that I had never really thought about. Reflecting on the “kids” question we were thinking through, I realized that I was focusing only on what I didn’t want, what I was worried about losing. I only saw this decision through the lens of limitation.

So I challenged myself to reframe the thought of I don’t want to stop traveling to what I did want. I sat there for a minute and then it came to me.

I want to show my child the world.

I took a deep breath, and with an excited tremble in my voice, I said it out loud. I immediately teared up, my heart raced. I was so inspired by that possibility, by the beauty in that. I felt joyful and excited. I thought of all the places we could share with them, all the people they would meet. I felt energized and grateful that seeing it differently opened up a whole new world — and made our big decision so much easier.

Even though the shift from I don’t want to stop traveling to I want to show my child the world was simple, the impact was powerful. And now, I have a beautiful 11 month-old daughter that I can’t wait to show the world.

That’s the power of a reframe.

Once I got past the travel hurdle, I started reframing all the limiting beliefs I had about parenthood —that I’d lose my freedom and “me time”, that I wouldn’t be a good mom, that my marriage would be strained. Each time I was able to curiously and gently interrogate the thought and see another side of it that usually left me feeling empowered and hopeful. I’ve relied on this tool in countless ways along my relatively brief parenting journey and hope to tell some of those stories as well.

What thoughts or beliefs are dragging you down? How might a reframe help you see it a different way?

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