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Confession time: I love “life coaches” and self-help books.
I put “life coaches” in air quotes because, let’s face it—that’s a nebulous term if there ever was one.
Why do I love “life coaches” and self-help books? Because I have problems! And they promise to help me fix them. What’s not to love?
As someone who for too long was operating under the delusion that I could one day lead a problem-free life, self-help material seemed like it would provide the key to getting there. But, and you may already know this—I was missing the point.
To put it bluntly—to be alive is to have problems. One of the central truths of being human, and in particular, an ADULT human is that you are constantly navigating the problems life throws at you. Small problems. Big problems. Sometimes (hopefully not too often) catastrophic problems!
During my own journey to solve my problems, I ran across a book (called,The Tools, in case you’re interested) that totally reframed my perspective on obstacles and how to deal with them. In it, authors, Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, explain that part of growing up is coming to terms with the fact that you’ll always have problems. The trick isn’t getting rid of them—it’s developing smarter methods for managing them.
As you might guess, the book helps you do that. Well, helps you help yourself—it’s a self-help book, after all.
See all the progress I’ve made!
Sometimes, when I’m riding the New York City subways, I look around at all the people and imagine all their feelings filling up the subway car. What “life coaches” and self-help books actually understand so well about the human experience, is just this—how big our feelings are. The books and talks and videos they make, speak to the fears and self-doubt and lack of confidence that we all experience, all the time.
When life coaches and self-help books talk about journaling and manifesting and vision boarding, what they’re really offering all of us are tools and strategies for coping with our emotions, so that we can get back to doing the things we want to be doing.
Because our moments of frustration and anger and loneliness and disappointment and desire and depression and lack of confidence and fear, are messy and complicated and can really get in the way of us taking action. And taking action to fix our problems is what we’re actually all looking to do, it’s just that oftentimes (practically all the time) our feelings make it difficult to do so.
One of my favorite “life coaches,” inspirational guru, and business leader, Marie Forleo, has a quote about this that I particularly love:
“Insight without action is pointless.”
Now, I may not 100% agree that insight alone is pointless, but I think she has a great point here. Journaling and manifesting and vision boarding are a great way to deal with our feelings, but they must be paired with action in order to yield results.
“Manifesting” is really code for “convince yourself that you think something awe inspiring and exciting that you previously thought wasn’t possible—IS POSSIBLE—and then go out and do the things you need to do, to make it happen.”
The nice thing about manifesting is that it allows you to skip over the parts of your brain, or the feelings you have that tell you that whatever it is your heart desires isn’t possible or realistic. When “manifesting” you’re allowed to take all those feelings and concerns and chuck ‘em out the window and dream BIG.
Which is a big part of the reason I founded Skillcrush. I wanted to create a place where people could actually manifest their new realities.
And then we’ll help you figure out what action you need to take to achieve those big dreams (I want a new job, I want to work from home, I want to be happy at work), so that you can see the results of all your hard work.
So, to all of you out there, whatever stage of manifesting you might be at—stay positive, keep planning, and don’t be afraid to take action.Find people who interest you, and add them to your social circle. Acknowledge your fears and then succeed anyway. Figure out what your dream career is, and go find it.
It’s 2018—you totally got this.
Adda is not only the CEO and founder of Skillcrush, but also an instructor. With her self-taught tech skills, she’s worked on building sites for the New York Times, ProPublica and MTV.