If Sisyphus was a butterfly…
Some of my coaching sessions make my blood boil.
What gets me is the injustice and absurdity of the system within which these clients operate.
I’m just out of a session, and this coachee tells me that – literally – people are dying because of how the system is set up. And those who are in charge of maintaining the system seem unwilling to do their job, so those with heart and passion and a genuine drive to do good in the world, find their hands tied.
And it’s not that they don’t try to influence [or: improve] the situation.
They voice concerns, they go on the record, they shout and scream, they rebel, they conform…
They try everything they’ve got – but at the end of the day it just feels like Sisyphus, pushing his boulder up, again and again, with no change whatsoever when it comes to the issues that matter. All that’s achieved are cosmetics.
And careful to not get too vocal, or make the powers that be too uncomfortable: those who aren’t experts at playing the political game are easily made into a scapegoat, and singled out as ultimately carrying the responsibility.
The questions that arise regularly for these clients are the following:
Am I really just like Sisyphus, and none of my efforts really matter? Will I fare best to make my peace with the impossibility of creating real change if there’s no buy-in of key people who have made it very clear that they’re not interested in change? Is it time to stop banging my head against the wall? Resign, conform, just “do my job” and live my life?
Or might I be the proverbial butterfly of butterfly-effect fame, and me flapping my wings may ultimately cause the storm that brings about change, the wind of change that will save those lives… even if it’s long after I’m gone at the other end of the world…?
Do I choose to believe in hope and that to keep fighting is essentially worth it? How much am I willing to sacrifice in the face of not being able to know which one’s the truth?
A dilemma? Perhaps an easy choice for you?
Is your Sisyphus flapping his wings?
Another Animas Coaching Uncaged episode is out. This time I’m in conversation with the Founder of the Coaching Diversity Institute, Dr. Towanna Burrous and we’re talking, amongst many other interesting topics, about the value of working with a diverse range of clients as a coach, while the reality of many coaches tends to lean towards niching down to a very particular kind of client. I also love her story of how she realised her own leadership capabilities. Well worth a listen!
[UPDATE] It’s now the next day, and I just came out of running a supervision group during which we discussed “emotions in coaching”, and how far we can go as coaches. One of the group members brought up how important it is to manage our own emotions, and I realised that this Nugget was totally a way of expressing and working through some of what I had been feeling during the session that inspired this piece. A release of sorts. Turning my emotions into a meaningful Nugget. So, if you’re reading this, thank you for the therapy! And perhaps have a think about how you release your own emotions after a blood-boiling session.
And that’s it!
As always, if any of this resonates, make it swing! I’d love to hear from you 🙂