My book Supercoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life was my first attempt at articulating the three principles and their relevance to coaching and transformation. I don’t often recommend it to people anymore, as I can now see how much of my habitual “change the world to change your life” thinking was running the show at the time.
However, there are still a number of things in the book I love. So for this week’s blog, I thought I’d have a go at rewriting the epilogue to the book, which was called “Are You Ready to Become a Supercoach?” It began with an old Cherokee proverb:
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
The Bodhisattva’s Vow
One day, a seeker who had devoted many lifetimes to attaining enlightenment broke through the habitual thinking of his ordinary mind and saw the world around him as no more than samsara, a projection of his own largely fearful thoughts. His entire being was filled with joy, and he felt as if every cell in his body was dissolving into the bliss of nirvana. It was as though the gates of heaven had opened up to him and he glided effortlessly toward them.
But no sooner had he set one foot in heaven than he heard a sound that filled his heart with compassion. He turned back to see a seemingly infinite number of perfect beings acting for all the world like trapped cattle, struggling to make their way in the world and suffering at the hands of phantoms created by their own thoughts.
In that moment, he made this vow: “For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.”
To this day, it is said, the Bodhisattva works tirelessly for the liberation of all sentient beings, one foot planted firmly in heaven, the other planted firmly here on earth.
The Ten Secrets, Revisited
Here are the ten hidden truths we’ve been exploring in this book:
1. The world is what you think it is, and there is a deeper world beyond your personal thinking.
2. Well-being is not the fruit of something you do; it is the essence of who you are. There is nothing you need to change, do, be, or have in order to be happy.
3. There’s nowhere for you to get to – you’re already here.
4. Decisions are those difficult looking things you see when you drop out of the flow of wisdom and get caught back up in your habitual thinking.
5. Every feeling you experience is the shadow of a thought, not a reflection of the world around you. You’re living in the feeling of your thinking, not the feeling of your circumstances.
6. There are no givens and everything is up for grabs. It’s amazing what can happen when you aim yourself in a direction and simply do what occurs to you to do.
7. Connection is what happens when any two human beings spend time together without their thinking getting in the way.
8. You can ask anyone for anything if you don’t talk yourself out of it first.
9. Financial security doesn’t come from the amount of money you currently have or your ability to get more of it. Security is innate, making money is a skill, and abundance is a state of mind.
10. There is never a good reason not to hope.
As you begin to gain insight into these truths for yourself and experience their effects, your life will begin to transform. Results will matter less than ever, and you’ll find yourself producing them even more consistently. Your fears and stresses will fall away as you recognize that they are made of the same gift of Thought that allows you to experience miracles in the world. You may even find that your biggest problem is that you have no more big problems.
As your life gets better and better, it will begin to have a positive impact on the people around you and transform their lives, too. Even if your job description isn’t part of the helping profession, people will just feel more relaxed in themselves when they’re with you. They’ll find themselves experiencing more success in their lives and producing results far beyond their efforts. There is nothing you need to do to make this happen – it’s the natural result of resting in your innate well-being and evolving in your understanding of how we are all creating our experience from the inside-out.
When I was first learning to become a coach, my favorite stories were about the Taoist sages who used to wander from village to village in ancient China. Although these sages held a variety of jobs in a disparate array of professions, they lived in such harmony with themselves and the world around them that whenever they passed through a town, disputes would resolve themselves and problems would be “dis-solved” in the clarity of their presence. Without necessarily working directly to help others, these sages were simply a helping, healing power in the world.
As your understanding of the three principles behind these “secrets” deepens, you’ll become like one of these ancient sages – or at least their modern equivalent, a supercoach! While this will bring you untold joys in your life, it will also bring an interesting new responsibility…
The Helper’s Dilemma
“Happiness and a meaningful life come from making differences. But this is the most important rule to follow: always make the differences you can make, not the differences you would prefer to make but can’t.”
Once upon a time I used to walk out in front of a group to deliver a talk or a workshop with the simple intention of sharing the best of what I know from my heart. If people had insights and acted on what they saw, wonderful; if they didn’t, “no harm, no foul”. But as the years have gone by and more and more people have heard me speak and my books and blogs and radio shows have brought me some measure of reputation and authority, I notice that people are now willing to act on what I say simply because I said it. They’re more likely to bypass their own inner wisdom in favor of my clever catechisms, using my words not as catalysts for their inspiration but as a temporary replacement. “After all,” one seminar attendee said to me, “you’re you, and I’m only me!”
This came to a head for me when I was speaking at the United Nations to a small group of delegates, spouses, interns, and friends. The talk was an exploration of cultural mythology and how it impacts the global pursuit of success and happiness. Afterward, as often happens, people came up to me seeking guidance about situations in their personal and professional lives, ranging from diplomatic issues to weight loss and child rearing. But when one young person approached me to know whether I thought she should “break free of cultural mythology” and give up her virginity before marriage, I found myself face to face with every helper’s dilemma:
The more successful we become in our desire to make a positive difference in the world, the more capable we become of doing damage.
Do we press on with a willingness to follow the utilitarian philosophy of “kill one, save many”? Or do we mute ourselves, following the Hippocratic dictum to “first, do no harm”?
I’m a man of my time, so I get my inspiration as often from movies as I do from ancient philosophical treatises. And I’ve found my own resolution to this dilemma in the Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life. In it, Jimmy Stewart’s character wishes he had never been born, and his wish is granted. An angel named Clarence guides him through a vision of the world where his voice has never been heard. And in the darkness of that vision, he becomes reacquainted with his light and the difference he was born to make in the lives of others.
So here’s the best of what I know, shared from my heart:
- You have wisdom inside you – listen for it and give it voice.
- You have light inside you – feel its glow and let it shine.
- You have power inside you – let your wisdom and light guide you as you make things manifest in the world.
With all my love,
PS – If you are inspired to do this work in the world, please consider joining me on Supercoach Academy 2017. We’ve changed the format this year to allow more one on one time for everyone, and are only taking on a limited number of students.
Since I read my first self-help book back in 1986 (Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization), I’ve noticed that broadly speaking they fall into three distinct if occasionally overlapping categories. The first is…read more
One of the metaphors for the mind I have been using since the book Supercoach came out is of a movie projector. In that example, I talked about the mind as the power source for a movie projector. Thought is like the film, an ever-present but ever changing…read more
In his books on Nicomachean ethics, the Greek philosopher Aristotle pointed out that “a virtue is the mean between two vices”. While we tend to think of virtue and vice in terms of “good” and “bad”, but in Aristotle’s time the term “virtue” was more closely related…read more