This month I’m beginning a series of webinar presentations to ICF Chapters around the world. ICF is the International Coaching Federation which is the oldest and largest professional organization in the world. I’m explaining this as I’m so honored to be presenting an area of coaching that you know I’m passionate about: The Power of Somatics in Coaching.

So, I’m getting ready for the kickoff presentation… big deal, you know! I had returned home from a week long conference and retreat the day before so needed to review my presentation and feel totally prepared for the presentation at 10:00 in the morning. I checked my Internet connection about 9:00… all okay and good to go. I began the day early, looking at my slides and getting clear on what I wanted to convey to the participants. Then I made sure I did the long version of one of my practices to truly be grounded and confident and open in my body for the presentation. This is part of the power of somatics and I used what I know to be prepared!

I had been asked to sign into the meeting platform online about 15 minutes before 10:00. So at 9:45, I clicked the URL on my computer and… was not able to sign on to the site… uh oh!! My high speed Internet connection comes in through a dish that receives signals from a tower. The dish is mounted on the roof outside my office. It had snowed over night but the sun was out and had melted the snow just enough to slide down the dish, touch the roof, and knock out my connection. As I was wearing boots with heels and couldn’t safely crawl over the deck railing onto the roof to clean off the snow, I called my dear husband and yelled “Come NOW and help me!!” Rich scrambled out on the roof with the broom, swept the snow away and slide back to to the railing. All this took almost 10 minutes.

I raced back inside to the computer and clicked on the URL again. Viola! It worked. A woman was already there to greet me as we had only 5 minutes to prepare for the presentation. She looked down, said a few “uhs” and then said that she was so sorry but the presentation had not been advertised and no one would be coming. My reaction was anything but usual for me. I smiled and said one of those “all things work for the best” statements and agreed to reschedule.

After I clicked out of the presentation site I fully expected to feel one of several familiar emotions which usually leads to a story in my head about why I felt the way I did:

  1. Rejection: They really did advertise and no one wanted to attend. The woman was just being polite and I’ll never hear from them again.
  2. Anger: How could they not advertise? Who is in charge in that location? How dare they let me spend hours in preparation (after being away for a week) and then have this happen? I even spent extra time on my wardrobe and makeup for this occasion.
  3. Sadness: I had so much great stuff to share. This is my passion and I was so ready to share. How long will it take me to get over this disappointment?

I actually began to laugh… called my husband to thank him again and laughed even harder about what had happened. We were both surprised at my reaction. I felt the silliness of preparing for 2 hours, dressing up, rushing around with snow blocking my Internet Dish… and then to have no audience… It all became hilarious to me. And, the best part, that emotion lasted for days. As I shared the story with a colleague and friend, we discussed how this way of being had come to me. What made the difference this time in the emotions that were triggered to reveal an entirely different story than my usual ones… my old, no longer automatic ones.

We discussed the following principles from our coach training:

  • Emotions are triggered by an event.
  • Emotions lead to a story that justifies why we feel the way we do.
  • Triggers are learned; therefore, they can be unlearned and replaced.
  • Observing my emotions, my triggers, and my stories allow me to make a different choice.
  • Triggers and stories are habits; habits are learned; can be replaced.
  • It is a huge gift when an aha happens to reveal a very different observer.

Wow… still celebrating this one. What a very different week I had versus my old way of being. Yes… all I have learned and practice really works. All with practice and patience over time.

What choice will you make next time? What practices are you using to become a different observer when you used to be triggered with a negative story?

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