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  • Ruth Schocken Katz

Coaching Snippet: Focus Vs Centre





When faced with multiple action plans, clients I work with often feel they must choose the right one for themselves. They feel that if they don't choose they will be stretched too thin, that people will criticise them. Sometimes they feel it means they are lazy, or indecisive. However, usually and naturally, people are interested in more than one thing. And the debate about which one to follow is impossible to resolve, because they want to follow all of them!

In this conversation, we give permission for Donna to follow several stands which interest her at the same time, and in the process discover a way to reverse external motivation to internal motivation, by changing the language we use.

What do you think about the distinction between focussing and centering? Let me know in the comments below.


INT. DAY. MY OFFICE


I sit at my desk while DONNA is on screen. Her background is a clear blue sky - aspirational! We are talking of the various strands of her career, and her confusion with choosing and/or prioritising them.


ME

Do you have an inclination as to which one you want to pursue first?


DONNA

No. I want to do all of them.


ME

And that’s a problem?


DONNA

Yes. Because it means I am stretched thin. I don’t do any of them fully.


ME

What does “fully” mean?


DONNA thinks for a while.


DONNA

I think it means that it bears fruit. That it fills my time, and that I make a good living out of it.


ME

But you are telling me that you want to pursue all of them. So why do you want just one of them to fill your time? And to be your only source of income?


DONNA

I guess I could do more than one.


ME

I’d like to suggest to you that there is no need to choose right now. All of these different “strands” are one, as they are all an expression of you at this particular moment. They are all you, and they are not really separate from each other because of that.


DONNA

Mmmm....


ME

They are all informing each other, and can impact the way you approach each of them. They are one.


DONNA

I guess. But then I start visualising it, and I see myself struggling to focus!


ME

In what way?


DONNA

I like to draw in the mornings and I often draw shapes and fill them with words. This is what I drew this morning.


DONNA pulls out a notebook and opens it on the most recent page. She shows me a drawing in which four chunky arrows are pointing inwards into one central dark dot. Each of the arrows is filled with text.


DONNA (CONT’D)

It’s like it’s coming at me from all directions and I am not sure how to focus. I need to focus.


ME

When you say the word “focus” I sense judgment from you. You are not pleased with yourself when you say that. Am I right?


DONNA

Totally!

ME

That makes me think of the word ‘focus’ and I realise that we focus always on things external to us. Also a camera is focussing on a point in the distance. How about we change it to the word “centre” instead? Saying “I want to centre on this.” How does that feel?


DONNA thinks for a while.


DONNA

It does feel different. It’s more soothing... aligning me. It feels more... grounded.


ME

Yes! And that makes me think that maybe it would also reverse the direction of your arrows. If you centre on these four strands, they would be coming out of you, as opposed to coming at you.


DONNA

Yes. That feels better. They would be internally motivated, and not pushed at me from the outside.


She pauses to scribble for a minute and lifts her book.


DONNA (CONT’D)

It would look like this!


The four arrows are now coming out of the central point, and she even added a curve to them which makes them seem energetically bouncy. It makes my heart smile.


*names and places have been changed to honour privacy


Illustration by Evie Fridel


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