I have been blessed to work with many personal development coaches over the years. I worked with John for the longest - about 5-6 years. John and I had bi-weekly coaching calls for 30 minutes. These calls are some of the most impactful calls I have each month.
Early in our coaching relationship, I can vividly remember having one of those really negative days… you know those days where nothing seems to be going right?! One of those days where all you can see is the challenge… the adversity… the rejection… the negativity?!
Yeah... This was one of those days…
John always begins our calls by asking me “Dave, what’s got your attention today that would be relevant and impactful for us to talk about?”
I can remember my response being something like this: “John, I’m pretty frustrated right now… and I know that you are going to help me correct my perspective on what is currently in front of me, and I love that! But, for now… I just need to vent! Do you mind if I just vent?”
To which he replied… “Sure, Dave, if that’s what you want… I’ll listen.”
And for the next 28 minutes, I did just that… I went OFF… Talk about poor EQ on that call…
About 28 minutes in, John thanked me for sharing everything… and he said he wanted to give me an assignment to do that we could review on our next call… but first, he had a question for me…
“Dave, other than taxi cabs and school busses… those don’t count... How often do you see yellow cars?”
To which I replied “Not often… I mean… maybe every once in a while, but not a lot.”
He said. “Alright… for the next 2 weeks, each time you see a yellow car – not a taxi or a school bus… those don’t count… but any other yellow car - I want you out loud to say "Yellow!" Will you do that?”
“Sure,” I replied.
We scheduled our next call. I finished my business for the day and headed home.
Well… what do you think I saw on the ride home that evening? Yeah! A yellow car. So out loud, I said "Yellow."
The next morning on the ride into the office, I saw 2 yellow cars. "Yellow. Yellow."
The ride home 2-3… The next day 3-4… Then it was 5, 6, 7…
It got to a point where I was seeing 7, 8, sometimes 9 yellow cars on each ride (My commute at that time in my life was 60-90 minutes each direction).
It’s like I couldn’t keep from seeing them.
2 weeks later, we hopped on our call. John said, “Hey Dave! Before we dive into what’s got your attention today… I had given you an assignment on our last call… Did you do it?”
“John, you’re my coach. You asked me to do something. I committed. Of course, I did it.” I said.
“Great! What was your experience?” John asked.
I told him “John, I am seeing yellow cars all over the place… I can’t avoid seeing them.”
He asked what I learned from the experience.
I said, “John, I think what I learned is that the yellow cars… even though they are out there… in the midst of all the black cars, the white cars, the gray cars, the silver cars, the navy cars… all of the normal cars… the yellow cars just kind of get lost, and I don’t see them all that often… BUT, when I take time to acknowledge the yellow cars, I start seeing them all over the place!”
He said, “Alright. That’s an interesting observation… I’m curious – what is the transferability of that... how does that apply to you as it relates to our conversation from two weeks ago when you were really frustrated?”
“John, I think what I realized is that in the normalcy of our lives – the everyday ups and downs… the go-to-work and go home… the challenge, the straining, the rejection, the pain, the adversity… All of that… all of that everyday stuff… all of that is fairly normal… All of that stuff is like the black cars… the white cars…”
“OK,” John said.
“And,” I said, “in my life, there is so much that I have that I can be full of intentional gratitude for; however, it can get lost in the midst of all the normal day to day stuff… It’s really when I take time to out loud acknowledge those blessings in my life, and those things that I have that I am grateful for, that I start seeing it all over the place. I just need to start seeing more of the yellow.”
He said, “That’s a great lesson, Dave.”
I figured if I experience so many setbacks, discouragements, frustrations, and unexpected things then each of you reading this sure as heck do and could benefit from this as much as I have.
Dave Resseguie is the Founder and Chief Shepherd of The Resseguie Group and a contributing columnist for Advisor Today. You can watch Dave's webinar "Intentional Gratitude" on the Advisor Today Webinar archives.
The next webinar in the Advisor Today webinar series is "7 Keys to Create Relationships with the Adult Children of Your HNW Clients" presented by coach, speaker, author, and leading advisor Simon Reilly on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 1 pm eastern.