Marilyn Atkinson is the Founder of Erickson Coaching International and originator of the Solution-Focused Coaching methodology. A former Registered Organizational Psychologist, Marilyn is an NLP Master Trainer and specialist in Ericksonian Communications. Since 1980s she has been helping leading global companies and leaders through Solution- Focused and Outcome-Oriented Coaching. Marilyn has co-authored three books in "The Art & Science of Coaching" Trilogy (Inner Dynamics of Coaching, Step-by-Step Coaching & The Flow of Coaching).
Coaching and Expanding Our Human Metaphors
Imagine that standing or sitting in front of you is your great, great grandchild as a young one. As you see this picture, consider that like all babies, he or she is eager to live their life fully on this beautiful planet. Imagine that your care has done the work that has given this child a world with trees and rivers, beaches and oceans, fish and animals, birds and butterflies!
Imagine that they, like you, can wake up to a world where he or she can build a future that includes the life of their own next child, who is moving forward all because of your deep agreement that the Earth’s resources are a great gift, and we need to cherish them, and your willingness to do the necessary work towards this in your time!
Generations share a lot. No matter where we now stand on Earth, we are all here together. We share an amazing epoch in human history. What we all have in common is this incredibly critical time on planet Earth. We are living at a momentous moment!
Consider, all currently living 6-year old’s on this planet are moving into an era of their own. This is an era that we, if we are over 30, may never know. These young people have the most at stake in living in a workable world. They are bound together with each other to share the future that is coming into being.
We live in very unique times that have never happened before, and because of that, we need to find new solutions. We may wonder why we are the ones to find these solutions – but indeed – we are the ones, and the time is now. We create attraction to the Tipping Point by urging and inviting others towards it with us! Mirror-neurons work! We can lead the way!
Our populations grew very slowly over thousands of years until 200 years ago when we doubled, tripled, and doubled again. We are in a period of exponential growth. Our planet is crammed with people in every corner, starting to overshoot our limited planetary resources. Our hopes for personal wealth are overshooting what we truly have available as a shared humanity. The current climate change shifts, extinctions, land use requirements, and shifts in learning and leadership requirements will give our children a huge challenge. These are the difficulties our children must face, and they are also our responsibilities.
Imagine, as coaches, we assist with the huge shifts in consciousness that are needed right now on planet Earth. The size of our capacity begins with the size of our commitment. We can all be the ‘sharks’ moving to a bigger tank who grow to the size of our emerging responsibility. If we are committed, others will also build their commitment.
New Metaphors Needed
As coaches, how are we making our contribution to the future of all of us? Our clients set their vision with us. How do we assist them to expand out to wider timeframes and to assess the long-term ecology that is a key part of every action plan?
One important area is to assist people everywhere to change the metaphors they live by. It is time for us human beings to rapidly start altering our central stories. For example, one old story we can assist to alter is the ancient idea that ‘moving up’ means status and that ‘getting more stuff’ is better. The idea that private wealth and status is worth our time and energy, is an ancient idea that no longer fits our current historical reality. The accumulation of material things is no longer a meaningful pursuit today, especially when we degrade the climate, the water, and the land to do it.
We coaches, supporting many different cultures, have a wonderful opportunity. We can support both our clients and our cultures to build lifestyle metaphors that have long-term potential. This ecological imperative is at the heart of World Game Coaching. What if we could change our metaphors for the description of what a beautiful life means, and we could create a rich future for our children thereby? What if we could brainstorm together and find new kinds of meaningful pursuits, without the requirement to show high levels of material wealth as the definition of a ‘good’ job?
As coaches, we can use our skills to assist others to move beyond the Gremlins that hold our cultures in sway to the old theme that wealth is the main incentive worth striving for. The theme that ‘moving up’ in the world can only mean more personal prosperity is an idea that we might urgently want to step beyond now. We have so many other ways to be rich!
Along the way, we can explore potential ‘replacement’ metaphors. Can we create a ‘wealth of warmth?’ Can we learn to flourish with ‘enough is a feast’ as a true gift to our children? Can we create the treasure of eating the apples that have blemishes? Can we consider ideas like ‘saving food that is imperfect as a sign of real human perfection?’
We need long-term sustainability metaphors for our children to have a world. We might ask ourselves: “How can we shift our human story so that our creativity in restoring the Earth stays ahead, and our planet flourishes?” A worldwide story about sustainable prosperity – that we are willing to exemplify – could give our children and their children a prosperous future.
Not all our human activities need to be environmentally costly. For example, learning grows as you give it away! We can create stories that value our ability to use resources in a smart way. Perhaps we might build the metaphor of ‘Having Enough is a Feast.’ What if that were our mantra, our daily life framework?
The metaphors we share to others we coach will make a huge difference in the upcoming days, weeks, and years. Much value will be gained as we support each other to build metaphors of sustainability. We need to support those we coach to maintain their faith in the future!
Become a Solution-Focused World Game Coach
Discover more about the 2019 World Game Conference in Antalya, Turkey
Please come join us at the World Game Conference in Antalya, Turkey, April 12-15, 2019! I invite, in fact, I request you all to join me in taking action. The World Game is about taking that action from a resourceful, joyful perspective, and on multiple levels.
Let us assist this great change now!