My theory is that I don’t need to dig into area’s of a client’s life unless they want to. This sometimes means that I have to be very careful of the area’s I probe more thoroughly. For example, last week a client who is seeing me to enhance the client’s tennis game came in wanting to talk about some potential ‘emotional eating’ issues. The combination of being an Elite Performer and struggling with body image, emotional eating or other food issues is not uncommon however after asking a couple of clarifying questions we both realized that it wasn’t really anything that we needed to evaluate too much further.
Digging up dirt versus assessing
For me there is a differentiation between digging up ‘dirt’ and assessing all the information. In the above scenario, digging up dirt would have meant finding a potential problem where there really wasn’t one. This is so easy to do. Assessing means asking a few clarifying questions to evaluate what is concerning the client and either moving forward if there seems to be a problem or putting the situation into a different perspective.
In our example, my client felt that late night eating was connected to my clients tennis game. Because I have experience working with people who struggle with food issues I know some good questions to ask around it so I did and after a few, since there didn’t seem to be anything there (right now) I helped my client see this situation from a different perspective. We had talked about how when my client was young the family ate dinner at 10pm. It seemed as though eating that late had become more of a continued childhood habit than a ‘problem’. This resonated with my client and the conversation moved on from there about how to change habits.
Preparing for anything
Can/should you be prepared for anything? Probably not! If something is not a challenge or a problem why make it one? Some things are ‘real’ challenges or problems and those are the things that get in the way of your sports, music, arts, business, etc. The ‘real’ challenges get in the way of you reaching your goals and those should be your immediate concerns. That does not mean that other things won’t come up as you go along.
When I work with Elite Performers (if possible) I have them ‘simulate’ current challenges or problems while they are ‘practicing or rehearsing’ that they’ve been encountering in competition, performance, auditions, etc. so they are more prepared once the big day arises. For example, one of my professional musician’s struggled with anxiety before auditions. We made sure to put this client into anxiety producing situations before any audition to simulate that situation and to also develop solutions.
Being prepared for anything sets an Elite Performer up for fear and anxiety because there are endless possibilities of things to be concerned about. Take care of what’s current and what you have control of.
Photo credit: utahredcross.blogspot.com