What is Self-Help?
Self-help seems to have become a Mecca for anyone, regardless of background or credibility, trying to make easy money. Today, when the currently unemployed put “life coach” as the occupation on their Facebook profile, it is hard to know what that vague term even means.
Everyone needs some coaching from time to time, and the Internet is full of legitimate resources. Tony Robbins’ services are not exactly affordable to all who are in need. So, how do you choose someone that is legitimate and worth your investment.
First of all, remember this, it is called “self-help” for a reason. The idea is an old one. Instead of feeding the hungry, teach the hungry to fish so they can feed themselves. These lifehacks teach you what are 3 “must-haves” in the arsenal of any worthwhile “Life Coach”.
1. Vision: If you don’t know where you are going, how do you expect to get there?
If a counselor of any sort is offering advice and they don’t first test your vision, then they cannot help you very much. Envisioning your future isn’t some sort of mystical scene, it’s not supernatural by any means. Necessary, on the other hand, it definitely is. Take for example a construction tradesmen, while many look down on physical labor of any sort, the tradesmen know and teach a fair share about vision.
If a tile setter has been contracted to set a floor on the a certain slab of concrete that has existing tile already adhered to it, some challenges are in play right from the beginning of the job. Contractors do not see challenges, albeit, they only see solutions. Not a single profiting contractor would say, “I cannot finish this job.” Because that’s the only way they get paid, by finishing the job no matter what. The contractor doesn’t see cracks in the slab of concrete. They see a need for membrane. They never see a foundation out of level. They see the low places that need to be filled, and the high points that need to be ground down. Your vision must be the same.
2. Take Action: Now that you see the finish, run towards it.
Taking action, is always a necessary lesson taught by any good instructor. Those life coaches’ teaching, that you don’t have to diligently labor to get what you want, are banking on naive, lazy, disillusioned people who believe they shouldn’t have to do anything to have everything. If that happens to be you, don’t feel bad, just evolve your mind, because it’s just not reality.
Now that you’ve established where you will one day be, it is now time to take the next step. Make sure your next move is something that will line you up with your final goal better than you were before. For instance, if my end goal was to finish the floor that was contracted in the previous example, my next step would be to remove the existing tile floor first.
Once you’ve done the second step, start the next. You should always be moving forward. There will be times you fail, some of the journey will not be easy. You will need, aside from taking action, the 3rd ‘must have’ for any life coach: Perseverance.
3. You must persevere: If you get off track, don’t stay that way.
Without perseverance you will never accomplish your goals. In the words of the one time Austrian immigrant, from humble beginnings, Mr. Olympia himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Don’t be afraid to fail.” Failure should be your fuel, not your foe. If you fall down you stand back up better, faster, and stronger.
The first person to ever inspire me to never give up was the greatest champion that ever lived, Michael Jordan. When I was a child, I remember the first time I heard the account of Michael being cut from his high school’s basketball team, I thought it was a lie. In truth, he was cut from that team but Michael Jordan persevered. His Royal Airness wasn’t looking like royalty as he vomited into a bucket on the sidelines during game 5 of the 1997 Finals. Years later, I would contract the flu, only then I was truly able to appreciate the 38 points he scored to win the contest, now infamously known as “The Flu Game”.
The year before that, Michael Jordan’s father was robbed and murdered. MJ came out of retirement to regain the title that same season. Time and time again Michael Jordan persevered. When the Gatorade’s promo “Be like Mike” aired, children and adult alike absolutely wished they could be.
If your end goal is a great task, you must have vision, take action, and persevere. If your “self-helper” is not teaching you those three tools, then try a different outlet. Remember, self-help is just that. So help yourself apply those three parts of the self-help lifehack and find the strength you need. In the end, there will be no mentor, no “life coach”, the end game finale has only one hope for help: You.
Featured photo credit: The University of Chicago Campaign via campaign.uchicago.edu