I had a light bulb moment this morning in the shower… let me back up a bit and explain the scenario, so that you can understand …
I am currently enrolled in classes to become a Health Coach. Not just any classes… I am enrolled in the Master Level Certification Course with the Dr. Sears Institute. This segment is 20 weeks and it is the “psychology behind change”. It’s called the “Master Level” for a reason. It requires each student to master the information.
Anyone can become a health coach, and many people are trained to motivate people, or are applying healthy principles in their lives… It’s something that I have been doing for a bit… so, why not become certified? Right?
All of that aside… This course has been kicking my a$$!
One of my friends asked me about the classes a few weeks ago, my response? I am not loving it anymore. I really am not enjoying it and I don’t know why. She said she was sorry, and hoped for me, that I could find some joy in it.
I thought about that for a long time… I even tried to find the joy. I set aside my attitude and my dislike for certain parts… and I was faking the joy. I didn’t know how to find joy in something that I didn’t like.
I will be the first to tell you that I love to understand why things work the way they do. I will also tell you that playing a dime store shrink has been my side job for a long time… truly. So… why is this information not sinking in?? Why did I spend most of the day on Sunday in tears? Why??
This material is not designed to memorized… it’s designed to be learned and understood.
Those two concepts are not the same!!
Most of my life, I have been A.D.D, I memorize information and then just as quickly, I forget it… I study to pass a test, then most of the information is gone.
This course is not designed to be memorized.
I must learn it.
I must understand it.
I must know it.
That is what our instructor has been saying… “a deeper understanding.”
I did not pass the second exam. (This segment is broken down into trimesters, we are tested on each three separate parts.) I was so upset… I cried. I literally felt defeated and wanted to drop the course. I felt like the exams were designed to trip us up or trick us… I was throwing a huge pity party… I spent two hours on the phone with my sponsor. My eyes were swollen and I felt like such a baby.
I felt incapable.
She helped me to understand many things… the most important concept, was that society gives us rewards by praise, by grades and by acknowledging our work. I have been conditioned to “know my worth” in these ways. I have been taught to understand my feelings, by how you may feel about me. I feel better about me, when you appreciate me or the work I have done or am doing.
Let me repeat that… I have been conditioned to know my worth… by how you feel about me or the work I am doing.
My idea of finding the joy in this class has been by “passing”! Really… just passing is what I wanted.
I felt like such a failure… I have been studying my butt off and then… I fail. I have devoted so much time to reading each night. I have sacrificed time with friends and my husband to study. I show up each week, I do my homework, I do the required reading and pass the quizzes… then when I log in to take the 90 minute timed, open book exam… I BOMB.
I sent a nasty little review about the test and this past 6 weeks… I was ready to quit. If I hadn’t spent so much time and money already, I would have quit. That’s why I called my sponsor.
I needed to understand, if this was old behavior? Or if I was in over my head? I was asking permission, to just bag it.
She is a wonderful woman who gets me. She told me this information is hard. She uses motivational interviewing, compassionate communication, appreciative inquiry and all of the other information I am studying, each and every day. (She even uses it on me.) By the way, those are the books we are studying.
She told me that this information is not designed to be taken in an online class. It’s best learned by applying it and using the principles with other people. This is probably the hardest way to grasp the fundamentals of “Motivational Interviewing”. (Okay… so that made me feel a little less incompetent.)
She also told me that because of my conditioning, it’s going to be even harder for me to understand- Not impossible… just harder. (Okay… I am breathing a little easier … the tears are not from defeat now… they are from within… from someone actually seeing me.)
She then asked me, about finding joy in it. I still didn’t understand that concept. How could I find joy in something that I am failing? I was breathing easier, it all felt less personal.. but I still wasn’t sure.
I sent the instructor an email, I apologized for my harsh words in the review, I asked for more information. I told her that I was contemplating quitting the class. I explained that I would never use the “certification” and wondered if it was possible to just take the rest of the class without having to take the exams. Yup. It is possible. But… she urged me to continue.
She said she has watched me in our break out sessions, she has watched my video’s and she knows that I will be a wonderful health coach. She also mentioned the fact that I got a 77% on my first try on the exam, that- shows that I do know most of the material. (We have to pass with an 85% or better.)
I am sharing this because I don’t think I am alone… This is a new concept for me… finding joy in something that I am not understanding… or not quitting when I feel defeated.
My instructor also pointed out that she knows I understand the concepts of motivational interviewing and if I stick with this last part of the class, it will all fall into line. Okay… what do I have to lose? By the way, my sponsor asked me that question.
So… moving forward… but… still trying to process and understand this.
All of this.
I had a conversation with another friend about the test, the class and not loving it. I explained the above scenario in detail… and how he could probably relate to my feelings… he was raised in the same way. He is a local person and he gets me…
He shared a story with me… he races mountain bikes. (Or fat tire, or dirt bikes… whatever he races… the point is- he signs up for a race and competes regularly, what he races is not important.) Anyway, he told me his favorite race of all time, was the one that he came in DEAD LAST. Seriously. He said that young girls and senior citizens beat him. He said, he wanted to quit. He wanted to- just- give- up. He wasn’t in shape, he wasn’t ready to compete…
He told me the story and painted a visual of the day. It was a super hard course and he hadn’t trained properly. He got around the first lap, mostly uphill… and saw his car in the parking lot. It would have been so easy to just keep going towards his car… He could ride over, pack up and head home.
But… he committed to doing another lap. He was really struggling. He finished another lap, then he realized that he could do the last… He knew that he had it in him, to finish the race.
When he finished, the was ecstatic. He was so happy that he committed and finished… he was proud of himself for not giving up.
I was flabbergasted. I asked, How in the hell do you find joy or happiness in coming in last place?? Honestly, it was making me anxious just thinking about it.
He told me that he kept hearing his dads voice. “Who are you competing with? The people who have trained for this? Or yourself?”
He said there was another race recently that he came in 7th out of 9th… and he felt the same way. It isn’t about winning. It isn’t about the grade. It isn’t about the people at the finish line who are throwing you a party… it’s about committing to something and knowing you have what it takes, to do it.
Just for today… I will suit up and show up. I am capable.
By the way, I did re-take the exam, I got a 96.5% on my second try. I don’t say that for an “atta boy”… I am saying that to show anyone who is still doubting… I got this…
And, so do you.
If you’re struggling today, if you are reading this and really don’t know why or how… don’t quit. Talk about why you’re struggling, chances are- you’re not alone.
Until next time, Peace and Love Peeps