Two helpful comrades in work and life: Action and Self Compassion

When I coach clients I often use the ‘crew member’ tool. Crew members are sides to our personality that are useful in different situations. The idea of crew members suggests that we are in charge of how we navigate through life, we can consciously choose different sides of our personality to get the best out of our experiences.

In a coaching session not so long ago I wanted to connect more to my energised, healthy side and so visualised a crew member called Anita (no idea what the name is about!) who looked healthy and vibrant and bright. When I imagined her I felt inspired to go out and run, and I felt inspired to go and buy a raw juice. I now actively call upon Anita during my day to day whilst I’m deliberating over things like whether to buy a smoothie or a glass of wine, or whether to sit in front of the tv or jump on my bike.

I have a bunch of other crew members that I use as well, but the two I want to introduce to you today are Action and Self Compassion.

My action crew member takes the form of a map reader. She has a big map of the world laid out in front of her, she is action orientated, proactive, can see the route ahead and is excited to tell all the rest of my crew members which way we’re heading.

I use my map reading crew member when I want to plan some things in the future that might need a little stepping outside of the comfort zone to make happen. This crew member creates lists of goals and has high standards.

My self compassion crew member is a plump cuddly woman who supports and loves me when I want to feel cared for. When my map reading crew member pushes me to do something new, and for whatever reason I don’t succeed in the task set, my plump, cuddly woman crew member is there to point at the learnings from the failure, and to acknowledge me for trying in the first place.

The two go hand in hand, because if we spend too much time with self-compassion we run the risk of letting ourselves off from stepping outside of our comfort zones. But if we engage in action after action after action with no self-compassion around slowing things down, taking a break, celebrating achievements, and learning from those failures then it’s a one way ticket to burn out.

These two crew members will take different forms for different people. What I invite you to do now is grab a piece of paper, jot down or draw some of the attributes your action and self compassion crew members have. Once you have visualised them you can start to use them in different situations.

And please share with me what comes up for you!

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