The Gift

“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself”
- Michael F. Staley  

Sandra had been coming to see Vivian for three weeks. She’d made some progress, but because her marriage had failed, she’d lost several business clients, her grown son had recently moved back home and her mother’s health was deteriorating, Sandra appeared stuck and unable to move forward. Vivian recognized that Sandra was overwhelmed by her current circumstances. On their third visit, Vivian handed Sandra an envelope, which she reluctantly opened. Inside was a note with the phrase, Yard by yard, it’s very hard, but inch by inch it’s a cinch. She signed Sandra up for a quilting class.

A few weeks later, Sandra presented Vivian with a package. Vivian opened it to reveal a patchwork quilt that had been painstakingly pieced together. In the corner was a hand written square that said, “To Vivian, with appreciation and understanding in each and every inch”.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. We often feel overwhelmed while in the midst of crisis. Remembering these situations are life lessons; they are here to teach us and encourage us to look inward and to look for opportunities to make us better people. As in Sandra’s case, perhaps she was trying to take on too much and learning to delegate or to merely say no was necessary. Not every life lesson will be resolved the way we expect or desire, but it’s important for us to remain open, flexible, find creative solutions and sometimes simply make the best of our situations.

Not all gifts are physical. Some of the best gifts we can give others aren’t things at all. Sharing knowledge, expertise, compassion, acknowledgment and validation are all valuable offerings. When we give someone these gifts we show them that we care about their well-being and care for their best interest.

The most valuable gift is one given without the expectation of receiving something in return. When it is about “us”, we may be apprehensive that our gifts won’t be well-received or even worse, unappreciated. When it is about receivers, when it is about “them”, we forget about the risk of being rejected and willing to give fully and freely.

A coach can help clients recognize which obstacles and issues may be standing in their way, and invite them to see those obstacles and issues as a “gift”. To see these gifts as opportunities for advancement helps clients to move forward and progress. Clients are encouraged to look inward and ask themselves: What is this trial, ordeal or struggle trying to teach me? What lesson am I supposed to take away? This helps clients to put things in better perspective. “You may not believe everything happens for a reason and for the best, while you can certainly find the good in everything.”

[Coaching Questions]

  • What are you gifts? What are your strengths?
  • What life lesson (s) are your circumstances trying to teach you?
  • What obstacles do you see as being in your way?
  • Is it about them? Or is it about you?
  • How do you find the good in everything?
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