|A Counselor's Wisdom
When I decided to get a counseling certificate and study adult development to support my role as a lifestyle coach I enrolled in the program and received, by return mail, an invitation to meet with my advisor. I arrived at the meeting, introduced myself and sat down. The advisor said, "Your admissions form says you are in the health promotion business. Tell me what you do."
I replied, "I design exercise and diet programs for people who want to lose weight." She responded, "Who are you to tell other people what to do?" Somewhat taken aback, I revealed my experience in the field and attempted to restore her confidence in my abilities to design exercise and diet programs for people who want to make lifestyle change. My advisor repeated, "Who are you to tell other people what to do."
I took a deep breath and began to list my background experience, relationships with mentors, expertise and respect in the field of health promotion and anything else I might add to convince her I was competent at designing exercise and diet programs for people who want to make lifestyle change. For the third time, I heard, "Who are you to tell other people what to do?"
My advisor was using a psychological strategy known as "broken record." At the time, I didn't get it. I was looking at a woman who very much needed my services. In addition to being overfat there was an ash tray on her desk that led me to believe she was a smoker. Judgmentally, I thought, "Girl, you are going to learn a thing or two from me this year!"
I don't know what my advisor's lifestyle is today. I know I had a powerful life lesson that year. I learned that the reason people were returning to my programs with the entry, "I know what I need to do but I just can't seem to do it," was because I was giving them my program instead of coaching them to design of a program in keeping with their way of life.
I changed my modus operandii. I found the SMART WEIGH TO GO was to teach people how to set their own goals then give them the tools to reach that goal. Soon, more clients than ever reached their SMART goal. Even the clients who didn't achieve 100% success were happy. They would say, "I haven't lost weight but I haven't gained any. My clothes fit better and I don't deprive myself."
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