Updated: Jan 6
This article is eighteenth in a multi-part series that adapts and excerpts my entire book, The Coach Within: 28 Big Ideas for Engaging the Power of Your Own Wisdom, Creativity, and Choices* (Everything Goes Media, 2017).
17. Right, Right Now
“My problem was not, not being good enough, my problem was thinking I had to be.”
“The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Some coaching tools are more obviously variations on themes and extensions of other ones. Consider responsibility (big idea 3) and accountability (big idea 9); being not doing (big idea 14) and being with oneself and not one’s problems (big idea 10).
Some tools are seemingly contradictory. Take for example idealizing (big idea 16) and this one, right, right now. Where idealizing is future-oriented, making yourself right, right now is present-oriented. It means there is “perfection” in your life right now, right where you’re at. You are enough and have enough — as is.
Hold on, you say, perhaps thinking some version of: I don’t have enough money, I’m way too cranky, my home seems a bit shabby, my personal life is rather lackluster, my face is sagging…so is my butt (okay, everything is sagging!)…nothing is perfect!
Here’s where I can insert one of my favorite lines: If it’s not right, right now, time to lower the bar. Yes — go on, I insist — lower your standards until you feel that you are all right, right now, and keep lowering it until you have the experience that you and your life are enough, even “perfect” in their own way.
Right, right now can be thought of as “idealizing” the present. But you’re not donning rose-colored glasses or contorting yourself for perfectionism. And you’re definitely not permanently reducing your standards or expectations. Instead, you’re finding fullness and worthiness where you’re at, acceptance and gratitude (big idea later in the series) for what is, right now. Love what’s right now for a minute without thinking anything needs to be improved.
How can you make yourself right, right now? Get inventive. My favorite is removing or rescheduling most items from my to-do list, then doing the few items that remain at a leisurely pace (remember slowing it down, big idea 13?). Yay, I completed my to-do list. What a success. I feel great!
How about instead of I’m a mom who never has a clean house, you deem yourself, I’m a mom who makes time to listen to my kids and enjoy them?
Instead of I should have $150,000 in my retirement account by now (oh, so imperfect), you re-assess as, Look at me, I have $45,000 in savings, I make my mortgage payments on time, and I no longer have the bad money habits of my youth. I’m on the right track! (now, this is a great place from which to idealize — big idea 16 — what’s next).
You can be right, right now from any situation. Instead of, I’m unemployed and sleeping on my sister’s couch…wah! (read: my life is a disaster), perhaps this is actually your case: I’m so lucky to have a roof over my head and this unexpected time to spend with my sister and her family. I’ll be able to help them out while they help me out. My résumé is polished and I have lots of free time to look for a job I like better than that last one, where I stayed far too long anyway (appreciating all the present holds and taking responsibility — big idea 3 — for what comes next).
Your Coaching To-Do’s
⎕ Choose up to ten areas of your life to assess in your journal (health, financial, work, relationship with spouse/partner, relationships with children, relationships with friends, schedules and routines, free time and vacations, home décor, home organization, skills/learning, hobbies, social life, community, philanthropy, creativity, cultural pursuits, spirituality). Begin by evaluating these areas for their current perfection. What is right about them, right now? If you can’t see it, lower your standards and ask again. Make yourself right in multiple areas of your life today!
⎕ Today, just enjoy how right you are and let the feeling permeate you and your day. At a future point, given that you’re perfect right where you’re at, you can revisit these notes. This time, ask yourself what your future ideal in each of these areas might be. Start thinking about how you can begin moving from current perfection to future perfection, keeping yourself right as you go.