In one of our juicy early morning conversations, my husband and I we’re discussing the coaching term ‘staying out of the box’ that means refraining from trying to “fix” another person by telling them how they “should” navigate their own life.
Being recovering “fixers” we highly value coaching as a modality. Through the coaching code of ethics, coaches honor clients as the expert of their own life, rather than the helping professional, or person that inadvertently shows up as the self-appointed guru.
Lets be honest, we all like to wear the guru hat from time to time. However, when we recognize the tendency and let go of our attachment to the outcome, we free the person whom we’re trying to fix to discover his or her own gold. We also release ourselves from a weight that is not ours to carry.
Over the years, as a coach and group facilitator, I have learned the importance and honor of creating a safe container for individuals to show up, be seen, and feel safe. This doesn’t mean that things always go without incidence. Emotions get tweaked and messy, and periodically someone tries to highjack a group for their own agenda.
Naively, ‘fixers’ assume that if they jump into the deep end with a drowning person they will be able to rescue them. Sadly, both end up flailing and taking on water.
When we stay out of ‘fixing’, we are able to extend a lifeline to another. Rather than jumping in the hole, Brenè Brown calls this “sitting across the table”. Through expressing true empathy and acknowledging and validating another’s feelings, we communicate another's value, our availability and loving support. We, however, remain clear that we're not the savior.
True empathy happens when we put ourselves in another’s shoes and from there we can say, “I get you! Me too!” True empathy doesn’t put oneself above, in judgment, or determine that we can fix the problem.
Resigning from this role is liberating. However, it may initially be challenging to turn the focus away from ‘them’ to suddenly address the neglected and ignored areas of our own life. The noble appearance of a fixer offers its own rewards that can keep us striving for the at-a-girl-strokes, while remaining blinded to our own needs. However, when we realize that it’s not our job to save or fix the world, we are on the track to freedom!
There is an opportunity for powerful discovery when we recognize that we merely hold the space for the sacred work to be done in each other’s lives. The holy work of recognizing areas of the heart needing attention is intuitive and supernatural. A facilitator or coach serves merely as a guide or nurse, who might introduce a path into a secret garden, but all that takes place there is initiated and accomplished by the Master Gardener.
30 Paintings In 30 Days, Day 21, Fix Much?