A Coach's Reflections

June 27, 2012


Filed under: Reflections — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 7:51 pm

Choosing from the Menu of Life

A long, long time ago in a previous life I was a doormat. I know it’s hard to believe. But I was raised to be polite, respectful and helpful and put the needs of others before mine. Somehow I muddled up those messages and mistook them for a need to say ‘yes’; to please and comply.

Things have changed somewhat over the last 25 years or so. First I got comfortable with the fact that it was ok to look after my needs, I started standing up for myself, and then I got comfortable to say ‘no’. Like, very comfortable.

For those of you who know me well and read my blog, you’ll know that I found it tough leaving an established coaching practice in South Africa & starting up all over again in Singapore. Ok, tough is a euphemism. But of course, I have been coached to within an inch of my life. So I really know what drives me. I’m incredibly conscious of my beliefs, values, goals and strategies. And I do my best to make sure my personal and professional behaviour reflect that. In fact I’m so conscious of who I am and what I want that over the past few months, I found myself desperately wanting to say ‘yes’ – just for a change.

Hence I’ve turned down 3 job offers this year. One of which would be my dream job if I ever wanted to move back into permanent corporate employment. Excuse me whilst I shudder  ….  Which is why I said no. The other two ? Well let’s just say that the growth/value/freedom/innovation /remuneration equation didn’t quite balance the way I would have liked it to. There were bits missing. And I just don’t do missing bits anymore.

Just like I don’t coach someone with whom I don’t have rapport. Just like I have also turned down work this year that was cleverly disguised as coaching, but in reality was probably counselling dressed in a beautiful Armani suit.

So, I really, really wanted to say ‘yes’ for a change. I wanted more business. I wanted the right business.  I also really wanted to say ‘yes’ to a few organizations in particular. It happened one Friday afternoon a couple of weeks ago – I got to say ‘yes’ five times in one afternoon.

Looking back, what did I learn ? Sure, it reinforced the principle that sometimes you have to say no to say yes.

But … there was something else …

I know that when something is completely aligned to my values and goals, it’s easy for me to say yes. It just slips out. No analytical thought, discussion or consideration is necessary. I just know !

Here’s something else I know – I’m going to have to keep saying ‘no’ to say ‘yes’, because I love saying yes. It’s no longer even a shadow from my past. It is the result of having done so much self-awareness work, and so much professional work that acting out of integrity and courageous authenticity is the only way I can make decisions.

So, if you find yourself vacillating , going round and round with decisions, not knowing if you really want something, my advice would be to return to your core. Figure out who you are, what is meaningful for you and what you really, really want. Then start practicing how to say ‘no’ to the iffy things life offers you – so that one day you can say ‘yes’ to the items on the menu of life that really matter to you.


  1. Oh WOW! I soo needed to hear this – THANK YOU. Seriously, thank you a million times over. I have a question I’ve been asking for so long and would love your spin on it: everything that ‘sits with my soul’, that I would love to do, that would be my dream work – doesn’t pay (well, not immediately) and is so time consuming that I could never be paid by the hour. Namely my painting. And yoga. So in the last few weeks a painting opportunity has presented itself but its all work up front and paying bills much later. And yoga has presented itself but its not an option yet … not ready quite yet to teach on my own but it keeps coming to me – yet I know timing is not right. And advertising/marketing has just stepped back into my life in a big way. And a new business venture that is so huge it cannot be ignored. So: new business venture is happening, I’ve pulled in a partner and attracted the right people and its happening with relatively little input at this point. Marketing is happening right away and I’m outsourcing, but not without is crazy deadlines and frustrations. Painting ….omg! A dream opportunity is possible if I can find the time to do samples on stuff I haven’t even have developed a technique for. If it works – I could be looking at a full exhibition of the Natural History of United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi …. J – at what point do I say no? I often find myself overwhelmed but have got quite good at breaking everything down into baby steps … but. It does get tiring …

    Comment by Nicole Kretzschmar — June 27, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    • Thanks so much for sharing Nics.

      I have to do a fair bit of assumption (or mind-reading to answer you), but I’ll do my best.

      Firstly (here’s the first mind-read), I think you are clear on you soul’s work. I know you are familiar with the saying that Work is Love made visible – and for you, that appears to be painting and yoga. So, your WHAT is clear.

      So, I don’t think it’s about the WHAT for you. But the issue may be involve a thinking pattern we call either / or. I can either do this, or I can do that. Try change your thinking as you answer the following Q’s to both / and. How can I do BOTH this AND that ….

      Is your WHEN clear ? I get your ultimate dreams – have you put time frames to them ? Are the painting / yoga time frames the same ? Or different ?

      Then, when you know what you want, and when you want it, create the HOW. How can you make both x and y happen (Here’s where I can’t mindread, but it may be something like – how can I work towards an exhibition AND a long term career in painting AND earn a good income AND work towards teaching yoga). This is the planning phase. You don’t have to achieve it all tomorrow, but if you plan it today, it will be your reality in every tomorrow.

      Count every step, every achievement, everything that moves you closer to your dream.

      And if you want to have a cup of tea and chat over Skype, we can do that too !!
      Love you girl – make your dream your reality. You can !

      Comment by Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections — June 27, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  2. Fabulous. And I am in total agreement. Thanks for endorsing that attitun :)de that I know must be the right attitude to make life a place one wants to be i

    Comment by Coziamyourmother — June 27, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  3. Hi J, like this post! It resonates…. Mostly!

    Personally never been coached but feel lucky that my growth/value/freedom/innovation /remuneration balance is more or less ok.

    The bit I seem to struggle with is ” First I got comfortable with the fact that it was ok to look after my needs,”. How do i get there?

    Love u cuz

    Comment by Zoe — June 28, 2012 @ 2:17 am

    • Hi Z, and thanks for the Q.

      Looking after your needs vs others’ needs is a thinking pattern.

      It often stems from wanting to help, but habitually putting others needs before yours will eventually put you in a situation where you feel taken advantage of. And then you do things for others with a bit of a heavy heart. So, to change that, you must first give yourself permission to have needs, and work through any objections you may have to giving yourself that permission.

      It’s not about being selfish, but about acknowledging that if you are comfortable to a) acknowledge you have needs, b) define your needs and then c) fulfill them in a manner that is congruent with your values, you can be of even more service to others because your needs are taken care of – and then you can contribute even more.

      Much love, and I’m always here for you if you want to talk through it.

      Comment by Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections — June 28, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

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