Updated: Jun 18
Have you ever had the desire to reinvent yourself? To become an upgraded version that’s stronger and better than before? Then you are not alone! Johanna’s client Linda came to her with exactly that idea. Find out how it all went below.
"I want to become Linda 2.0"
My new client was a 40-year-old woman with a solid academic background. She now worked as a middle manager at a large international company. In her spare time, she ran and swam at an elite level. To an outsider, her life might have seemed perfect.
However, the last couple of years leading up to us meeting, a lot had happened. She told me she had gone through a divorce, been down at the bottom, and thanks to therapy she was finally back to normal again. Back to the ordinary Linda. She had gained life experience but that was not enough. She wanted more. “I'm done looking back, asking what I could have done differently. Now I just want to look forward, challenge myself, and develop as a person. Become an updated version of myself. Linda 2.0. "
The woman in the picture is not the actual Linda
After a first introductory meeting, I accepted the assignment and looked forward to working with Linda to explore what version 2.0 actually meant and how I could help her reach it. Coaching is, after all, about achieving measurable targets. You should be able to tell when you have accomplished your goal, so for Linda it was all about figuring out what 2.0 stood for before we started to work toward that vision.
Linda explained that the upgraded version of herself involved several parts of her life. “I want to improve my performance both at work and during training. In these areas, I face different challenges but I would like to have tools to handle all of them. In the end, Linda 2.0 is secure in herself: she knows what she can do, what she values and the potential she possesses ”.
So where did Linda want to begin? She chose the training. Previously, she had felt that she never quite reached her goals. She always gave up a little too easily and never ventured outside of her comfort zone. Before a race or a tough workout session, she always heard a voice whisper “Can you really do this?”
“I want to change that voice so that it instead shouts 'YES, this is going to be fun!'. I want to meet the challenge head-on and I want to dare to really try. Dare to think that it’s okay to be a rookie at first and expose myself to things even though I’m not sure if I will be good at them or not. "
One of the ways I like to work with clients is by using visualization. I think there’s such a power in that method if it’s done the right way and therefore I tried it with Linda. The objective: to quiet the inner voice that was the root of her hesitation. She decided to imagine a radio in her head which she could control the volume of via a large dial button. When the voice started to make itself heard when she for example stood on the podium before a swimming competition, she could turn the volume of the radio up and thereby drown the voice out. For the strategy to work, the visualization needed to be as concrete as possible so Linda even decided which song the radio played. This was Linda's first assignment.
I met Linda for about a year with a break for summer. We initially saw each other every other week, but after a while, our meetings became rarer. Through our conversations, Linda found the tools she needed to develop in whatever direction she wanted. In addition to the radio that she could adjust the volume of, she also created a mental visor she could protect herself with. Before, she had just absorbed the things her manager said like a sponge.
We also worked with role play. I pretended to be a specific person she really wanted to talk to but felt scared to meet. By practicing to say the things she wanted to say out loud while at the same time imagining the person in front of her, she created a memory of the situation that her body could draw strength from in the real-life scenario.
Other tricks that Linda discovered worked were to send encouraging text messages to herself and to celebrate as soon as she accomplished one of her goals. It could be something as simple as pasting a gold star into her training schedule the weeks she completed everything according to plan. And in the summer, when the big swimming competition took place, reward herself with a new wetsuit once the race was over.
We talked a lot about Linda 2.0. Was the plan to be a person reborn? And what would happen when this was achieved - was it then time for Linda 3.0 to make her entrance? Would it ever end? Could these new versions be compared to annual flowers - when one disappears a new one grows in its place?
Thinking of it like this made Linda a bit stressed. An annual flower has a fragile and shallow root system, she concluded, and that’s not what she wanted. She wanted to be settled - that was what it was all about. To stand firmly and dare to stretch out her branches toward the sun. Linda didn’t want to be replaced by someone who wasn’t her."Linda 2.0" was the same tree that it had always been, but thanks to an improved root system she could now focus on growing into an even bigger tree.
Linda decided the tree was an image she’d like to keep. And most importantly - not all branches needed to grow at the same pace. She would give them the time they needed to develop, however long that might take.
During our coaching sessions, Linda also identified branches she wanted to grow in the future. Ways in which she wanted to challenge herself. To create annual rings and hopefully become a really solid old oak in the end.
This was just one example of how coaching can work. Not everyone feels comfortable working visually and doing roleplays, but the good thing is that as a coach, I am responsive to what works for you. The important thing for me is that you move towards the goal you ultimately want to achieve. And what about Linda’s important swimming competition? Well, it resulted in both a medal and a new wetsuit.
Do you have a vision for your life that you want to realize? Or are you just curious about what having a coach could do for you? Then click here!