Suzy's Sample Coaching Session
Coaching Demo Transcript
Key: Speaker 1 is Suzy Fontaine
Speaker 1: Okay, good. So what would you like to talk about today?
Speaker 2: So I had a couple of topics … I think I’m going to go with the fact that at the beginning of the year, it wasn’t so much a New Year’s Resolution because I don’t believe in those, but I wanted to live each day with more grace than last … was my goal for this year.
Speaker 1: Uh-huh.
Speaker 2: But I think I’m partly failing at it, and just I didn’t articulate what that meant beyond I just simply wanna live each day with more grace than the last. So it’s just a big nothing in terms of, “Well, what does that look like?” So I would like to figure that out, and then figure out how I can actually do that.
Speaker 1: Okay. So if I hear you correctly, more clearly defining what you mean by “living with grace each day?”
Speaker 2: Yes.
Speaker 1: And then create a game plan of how to do that.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Alright, and how will we know we’re successful by the end of the call?
Speaker 2: I think I will feel it in my heart.
Speaker 1: Yes. Okay. Sounds good. So do you want to tell me a little bit more about what your original intention was and how you defined “grace” when you came up with this new plan for 2018?
Speaker 2: Well, firstly, I love Audrey Hepburn. And so, when I think of her, I always think of a person that is graceful and gracious, and to me, she lived with a lot of grace. And so part of I guess what I wanted to do, starting out 2018, was to figure out, “Well, how can I be a better person? How can I show up as a better person?” And when I started thinking about that, it was, “Well, how do I live each day, whether it be with just grace or with more grace than the last day?” And I’m not even sure what even that means, right? How do you live each day with more grace than the last? I don’t know. So I guess it really is about, “How can I be a better person, in terms of how I define that?”
Speaker 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And why is this important to you?
Speaker 2: I think because at the end of the day, and isn’t it funny, I just used to word “I think” as opposed to “I feel.”
Speaker 1: Yes.
Speaker 2: But at the end of the day, all we have is how we show up on this earth. And it doesn’t matter, what you’ve done in life in terms of your achievements or accomplishments. It really is about how we are in our relationships with all of those who are important to us in our lives. And also, I guess all of those people that will come into my life through my life’s journey. And so, it’s I guess, how do I show up and how do I … What is the effect I have on other people in terms of how I show up?
Speaker 1: And how would you describe that now? How you show up and how you are impacting others?
Speaker 2: I know there are certain instances where I think I’m great. So, for instance, with my students, i think I show up in a way that is compassionate and caring, while still providing them with an education, and always open-minded as opposed to the typical jump and … I’ll use one of my colleagues as an example, where she had a student who forgot to cite some sources in the project that he handed in. And she jumped directly to, “That is academic misconduct and I’m going to bring in the program manager and we’re going to see what we are going to do about this in terms of the consequences for the student.” Whereas, in terms of how I deal with my students, I will go back to them if I see that, “Oh. I think somebody forgot to cite their source.” I’m going to go and actually talk to the student and give them an opportunity to figure out, “Oh. I didn’t mean to plagiarize. Yes, I meant to cite the source but I simply forgot,” and hear their explanation. So in terms of how I show up for my students, I think I am caring and compassionate and open-minded. But I think where I fall down is with my friends and family.
Speaker 1: Yes. You want to say a little more about that?
Speaker 2: So I’ll use … Oh God, there’s so many different examples I could use, but I think I’m gonna use the one with my sister-in-law, who … So she turned 60 this year. And she has planned this birthday thing where she’s only inviting her actual sisters, so her siblings and then some of her girlfriends, and they’re going to Hawaii. And I was upset about that, because of the fact that, “Well wait a minute, I’m not included. How unfair is that? Because I wanna go too.” And so, I did not get into a dust-up with her, I got into a dust-up with one of the other siblings, one of the other sisters about it. And now, thinking back on that, I think, “Well that, totally, talk about not living with grace at all,” in that situation, where I let my own emotions get the better of me, rather than actually thinking about it and thinking it through, or feeling it through I guess is a better way to put it. To respect and honor that that was the other person’s wishes, rather than putting myself ahead of the other person.
Speaker 2: And I think that’s hard for me, because I think, “Well, but how can I be authentic and be me and allow myself to feel what I feel and feel how I feel and be okay with that?” And yet, still, also have that wiggle room to allow that other person to do what they wanna do and recognize that, “Okay, there’s a reason, because they only have so much room in the house that they rented so they couldn’t include spouses,” blah blah blah. And to recognize that maybe I could act more grown-up, I guess, or act like a better person, for lack of a better term, I don’t know. I don’t know how to put it.
Speaker 1: So one of the things I’m hearing you say is that there’s an interesting distinction you’re talking about between your thinking and your feeling. About your emotions, “Well maybe I need to think through it or maybe I need to feel through it.” I would invite you … Where in your body do you feel that?
Speaker 2: Sort of somewhere between my heart and my gut.
Speaker 1: Yeah, okay. And how does it feel?
Speaker 2: I’m both upset with myself for the way I reacted, and I’m also upset with my sister-in-law for not offering spouses the option to go. Because even though the house is, yeah, you only have so much space in the house, you don’t need to provide accommodations for me. I could rent somewhere else to stay. And I get it, she wants everybody to be in the same house. It’s her birthday thing, and blah blah blah. But so I’m upset on two different levels, I guess. I’m upset with not being included, and then I’m upset with myself for being upset about it.
Speaker 1: Alright, yeah, absolutely. And when you’re feeling that in your body between your heart and your gut, what sensation or feeling do you have, somatically?
Speaker 2: I guess similar to indigestion. It’s that stuck-in-there feeling. That something is just … I don’t know how else to describe it besides it’s like indigestion.
Speaker 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So a couple things come to mind. If that were to have a voice, what do you think it would say to you?
Speaker 2: See, and this is where my head comes in, to say, “Just let it go!” I know that’s what my head would say.
Speaker 1: And what about your heart?
Speaker 2: I think my heart would tell me it’s okay to feel upset, that our emotions are our emotions, and that’s okay. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Then my head would come and … Well, I guess it’s still my heart, to say, “But where I could be better or do better is in how I choose to react.” I can certainly acknowledge the emotion and it’s okay to be upset and okay to say, “Hey, I feel kind of left out.” But then, in terms of how I then choose to act or react to that is where I guess my heart and my head have not figured out that piece. My head is like, “Well just let it go, it’s not a big deal.”
Speaker 1: So let me ask you this. Let’s say that situation happened in your classroom with one of your students, and you started out saying that you feel like you live with grace in the classroom with your students. Sort of juxtapose that to another professor or someone who handled it very differently, the citation situation very differently, perhaps, maybe with not as much grace. So if you were to imagine the circumstance you described with your sister-in-law in a setting with a student, how would you handle it any differently?
Speaker 2: I think I would … Well, firstly I would speak directly to the person. And then find out where they’re coming from. And then tell them where I’m coming from.
Speaker 1: And what would you say is holding you back from doing that in this situation with your sister-in-law?
Speaker 2: This is my own fear, I think, but I don’t wanna get into a dust-up with her, and get into an argument, even though I don’t think there needs to be an argument. But I can find a way to be caring and compassionate while conveying that what she chose to do hurt my feelings. But I’m not sure … I guess that’s where I’m not sure how to say that and I’m not sure how to do it.
Speaker 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So if you imagine how you would do it in a circumstance where you feel like you handle things with grace, what would that look like?
Speaker 2: Well it’s funny, because now that I sit with that, and now that I’m allowing my head to stop talking, that then my heart just says, “I don’t actually need to talk to her.” I don’t actually need to say anything. And that it’s about me acknowledging my own emotions and being okay with that, and then letting it go.
Speaker 1: I can feel that. I’m taking a deep breath because I can feel that. How is that feeling for you?
Speaker 2: Yeah, I could totally feel that. The moment I just sat and let it kind of settle where it needed to settle, then I could feel that, “Oh. I just need to get my head out of the way.” And then my heart says, just one, “let it go,” and two, “don’t treat it my sister-in-law’s decision as meaning to hurt me.” And yes, emotionally I felt that way, but at the end of the day, what she chose to do had nothing to do with me. And so once my heart kind of figured all of that out, I could let it go.
Speaker 1: That’s beautiful.
Speaker 2: So interesting, that … and it’s funny, well, I get stuck in my head so much. And it’s about being able to sit and just take that quiet moment of letting my head stop talking and just let my heart be.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: And I can actually feel it in my heart, so thank you.
Speaker 1: That’s great, that’s great. I really wanna honor that. I wanna honor that in you. I could feel it. That’s just really beautiful. So with that shift, talking about sitting and allowing your heart to feel, be in that space, when we go back to your original question of, “How can I live my life with more grace for 2018?” Do you need to get that?
Speaker 2: No. Sorry about that. I’ll just let it ring.
Speaker 1: No, that’s fine. Yep. With this new insight, what do you feel you can do differently to then help you live with more grace?
Speaker 2: I think … and I just did it again, I just said, “I think.”
Speaker 1: It’s okay.
Speaker 2: To allow myself to think about things less, especially with friends and family. And to stop overthinking and just to allow my heart to lead. And I think also, and there’s the “I think” again. Also, to allow myself to feel how I feel about things and not beat myself up. That maybe living with grace is not so much about always being perfect with everyone. It’s about me recognizing how I feel and the emotions I feel, and then finding a way to deal with that in a way that’s respectful and honors the other people in my life.
Speaker 1: Huh. So can you tell me more about why you feel you need to be perfect with people?
Speaker 2: Well, because I’m hard on myself, and kind of unforgiving with myself. And I don’t want people to think badly of me, especially people who are close to me. And yet I also know, in my heart, that people who are close to me are very forgiving. They love me for who I am, so I just need to be me.
Speaker 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So have you thought about what it would take for you to love yourself the way your family and friends love you? In the sense of how forgiving they are of you, I’m hearing that you’re not as forgiving of yourself.
Speaker 2: Well, and because I always show up as the achiever, I think that’s one of my main sort of personas. That is the persona I wear. That I am the achiever and everything that I do … Not to say that’s a bad thing. That’s good in some ways, but in other ways, when it comes to just being and allowing myself to be, that’s the hard part. Because the achiever doesn’t know how to do that. Because my achiever’s always striving toward something. There’s always some goal.
Speaker 1: Right. Part of what I’m hearing you say is the doer in you wants to achieve. And when you step back and just be, that’s when you have grace. Am I hearing that correctly?
Speaker 2: Huh. And that’s an interesting perspective that I’d never thought of. And I think I do have some notion of that, which is funny. Because, I think by definition, living with grace doesn’t necessarily mean not going after my goals or somebody’s goals or whatever it may be, or my own goals. Hmm. But maybe it’s all about how I show up as the achiever. That, in terms of achieving, sometimes I leave people by the side of the road, and maybe that’s where I trip.
Speaker 1: Hmm. So can you say more? Describe that a little bit more to me?
Speaker 2: It’s that whole notion of I guess, finding your tribe. So, wanting to work with or be with or spend time with people who are like me. What that means is leaving some people who are lovely and are friends, but who are not in that same sort of tribe thinking, for lack of a better term, by the side of the road. And so, not doing as much with them. Not finding … I guess it’s more not finding time to get together with those people who are part of my world, but have become I guess on the periphery, in terms of friends and family, because of the fact that they either don’t enjoy doing the same things that I wanna do, or just aren’t part of my tribe in terms of like-thinking, whatever it may be. Huh, isn’t that funny, that as i say that, I think that is totally where I trip, in terms of my whole notion of living with grace and wanting to … Well and maybe wanting to be all things to all people is not realistic.
Speaker 2: And that it’s okay to have people who I see as part of tribe who I connect with and who I do more social things and more just work-related, business-related things with. And that some other people who are friends that I only see once or twice a year … It’s not because I don’t care about them, it’s because sometimes … Oh, but I hate to say this, because then it makes it sound like I don’t care about them, but sometimes I don’t have time to see them. And then it does sound like, “Well I don’t care about them, that’s not nice.”
Speaker 1: Hmm. So what does that bring up for you, overall?
Speaker 2: Wow, just so many different things. Especially given all of the self-help things out there tell us how important it is to find our tribe. And I do love that concept, but part and parcel with that is that if you find your tribe, then you end up leaving some people by the side of the road. And those people were important to me at some point in time. And that’s hard, I guess for me, just personally, so never mind the impact on the other people, because I can’t control that. That’s hard for me to think that, “Well, that doesn’t seem nice for me to cut them loose,” because that’s what it feels like. That it’s like, I’m going along on my journey and I’m carrying on, and here’s the road I’m on. And those of you who couldn’t keep up or didn’t want to take this road, I’m leaving you here. And maybe sometimes when I loop back around, maybe sometimes I’ll see you. And that seems mean and cruel to me. I don’t know how to fix that.
Speaker 1: Do you need to?
Speaker 2: I think with some of our friends, maybe. Well, but maybe it’s something I can’t fix. Maybe it’s just a matter of recognizing that it’s okay to see people less. Only being able to see them a couple times a year because our schedules don’t mesh or our interests are not the same doesn’t mean that I don’t care about them. It just means that our interests aren’t the same.
Speaker 1: Sure, and it sounds like you really care deeply about your friends and people who you’ve interacted with, and that you take that very seriously, and can feel it in your heart that you don’t want to abandon people.
Speaker 2: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Speaker 1: And if we go back to your original conversation around wanting to live with grace and sort of that moment we shared around when you’re achieving isn’t always the time when you’re showing up with grace … it’s part of who you are, but it’s more of the “doing” versus the “being.” And when you’re sitting still in those moments, and you’re more in the “being” space than the “doing” space, that grace just flows freely from you.
Speaker 2: It’s easier for sure.
Speaker 1: Is that right?
Speaker 2: Yes. But I also really love the “doing.”
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a large part of who you are, right? That’s what I’m hearing. It’s a large part of who you are. You’re the achiever. You show up as the achiever.
Speaker 2: Yep.
Speaker 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative)?
Speaker 2: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So maybe it’s figuring out how I can be that achiever and not see that as not living with grace.
Speaker 1: Can you say more about that?
Speaker 2: So it’s about me shifting my lens, rather than shifting my life. For me to see it differently in terms of how I defined what living with grace looks like, and basically what being a good person looks like. And wrapping all of those pieces together. That the “doing” and the “achieving” doesn’t necessarily mean that … It’s not that I’m not living with grace when I’m doing that. And that when I’m achieving and doing and pursuing and all of those good things that I love, that if I come at it with an open heart and a willingness to hear others’ opinions and to be compassionate in dealing with all my interactions with people who are involved in whatever it is I’m doing, then that, perhaps, is better than … Not even better, it’s okay.
Speaker 1: Uh-huh.
Speaker 2: I think because I had some notion in my head that, and it all goes back to all the self-help stuff that pops up in my social media feed and other people’s blogs and everything else about how we should … And there’s one of those words again, how we “should.” We should shift from striving to thriving. And that striving is not thriving. So trying to figure out, “Well what is thriving? What is being a good person?” And all of that. But at the end of the day, part of me says, “Well, but I need to strive, because if I don’t, I’m not a happy person.” But that is just part of who I am.
Speaker 1: And that’s okay.
Speaker 2: And that’s okay. And that’s the hard part, is the being able to just exhale and know in my heart that that’s okay. Because we’re all different. And just because one person says, “Well, striving hurts you,” that may not apply to me.
Speaker 1: Right.
Speaker 2: Well, and it’s funny, just because the image I just got in my head was just a picture of a path in the woods, and that part of striving as well as thriving, is as I’m going down that path, I just have to take that moment and look around. And be able to be in that moment and enjoy that moment and be present for all of the other people who may be in that moment with me. And that, maybe for me, living with grace is not so much about solely honoring where other people are or what they want to do at the expense of my journey, but really being able to be present with the people that I’m with in each and every moment. And it’s funny, because now that I think back to what I was saying earlier about being in the classroom, and that is …
Speaker 2: The first day of class, I say to my students, “Here is my promise to you, is that I will show up as the best person I can be each and every class. And I will be present and I will be here during the three hours we have together each week. What I ask from you in return is the same.” And it’s funny how our conversation has brought me back full-circle. And that maybe that’s what that means for me, is that each and every moment of my day … and this includes my parents and my friends and my partner, just to be present with them. And to give them my undivided attention, and to just be open and be there, as opposed to beating myself up for, “I can only do this once a month or once a week,” or whatever.
Speaker 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Speaker 2: And to let go of that. The quality and not the quantity that matters. Something so simple.
Speaker 1: Simple maybe by words, right? Not so much in concept, or to actually live it out isn’t so simple, always.
Speaker 2: But it’s so interesting that just being able to walk through and talk through that, that it does boil down to “It’s about the quality.”
Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 2: And I can totally feel that in my heart.
Speaker 1: Can you?
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 1: So you’ve had two pretty pivotal shifts, there, that you felt in your heart.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Yeah. That’s just great.
Speaker 2: That’s a pretty … two big a-ha moments for me.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Speaker 1: Thank you! You’re doing all the work.
Speaker 2: Yeah, well, it’s just the questions, right? That helped me to get there.
Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Speaker 1: Of course, yes, it’s my pleasure. So as you think about moving forward … So the goal was to understand what it meant, how you defined grace, and then create an actual plan of living it each day. Where are we in that?
Speaker 2: So … and I was just about to say, “I think,” but my plan is to pay attention to my interactions with each and every person, in terms of how present I am, down to, like when I’m at the grocery store, buying groceries. And when I’m at the check-out, rather than trying to rummage through my purse for whatever and then my phone and whatever thing, to actually just stand and have a conversation with the person who is checking me out at the check-out stand, and to be present for them. And to be present for all of … anybody I come into contact with, that rather than thinking about, “Oh, I’ve got to rush here to do this thing,” or, “This is my to-do list,” just actually breathe out and take that moment and just have that interaction. And to honor that other person’s presence for what it is. Even if it’s 30 seconds or a nanosecond with someone. Actually just stop and acknowledge the other person. And to remember to ask. So, for instance, at the check-out, I never remember to ask, right? “How’s your day going?” Because I’m always in a hurry. So it’s just the time and stop and say, “Well, how was your day? How are you?” Stop being in a hurry, for me. I think it’s just … and that’s I guess the-
Speaker 1: Slow down.
Speaker 2: Slow down and just being piece. Not that it gets in the way of my achieving or striving or anything else, it’s just be present. So that’s my plan.
Speaker 1: That’s your plan. Awesome. And are there any obstacles that might get in your way, to be able to execute against that plan?
Speaker 2: Like my text ringing or something on my phone. So learning to ignore all of the dings that come from my phone and … Well, and just to resist the urge of checking it. And to, I guess, put my busy brain away whenever I’m with other people. To stop letting my mind wander as to, “Well I have these six other things I have to get done today.” Just stop and be in that moment. So yeah, the obstacles that occur in my own mind. All of the stuff that’s going on in my to-do list and everything else. That I need to just say, “It’ll still be there,” and to remind myself of that.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Is there any kind of symbol or phrase that you can think of that would symbolize the “being” or the slowing down or the being present in the moment that you’re talking about, that you could sort of hold onto and remind yourself about, if you get in that monkey-mind or busy mind, or distracted, or feeling really rushed?
Speaker 2: I think it’s that path in the woods, and looking around. Because you never know what you might see. If you turn around, turn to the side, “Oh look, there’s an eagle right there.”
Speaker 1: Right.
Speaker 2: That path. And partly, because my path also runs along the side of the ocean-
Speaker 1: Ah, awesome.
Speaker 2: I’ve got woods and I’ve got ocean.
Speaker 1: Beautiful, beautiful.
Speaker 2: Just to take that moment and look around.
Speaker 1: Yeah. And how will you measure if you’ve done that or not, in a future session?
Speaker 2: Well firstly, to check in with myself every day, at the end of each day, just to take stock. To see if I’ve … I was about to say achieve, but really, to see if I’ve done or accomplished, I guess … And there are those achiever words again.
Speaker 1: It’s okay.
Speaker 2: Just to see how my journey went-
Speaker 1: Uh-huh.
Speaker 2: I guess is really … to take stock of my journey. To see whether there were opportunities to make it better, and then decide to do that the next day.
Speaker 1: Yeah, wonderful. So do you feel better equipped to live with grace tomorrow than you did today?
Speaker 2: Absolutely. I totally do.
Speaker 1: Yay!
Speaker 2: Thank you!
Speaker 1: That’s awesome. It’s my pleasure. I’m going to stop the recording.