a Pain in the Neck

I’ve had this terrible shoulder and neck pain since we moved.  My neck and shoulder muscles are so tight that I’ve been getting “clinical” massages.  (“Clinical” is basically just a fancy way of saying that I pay someone to beat me up.  They aren’t relaxing.)  Turns out they weren’t relaxing for my masseuse either.   During my first week, my masseuse whispered “damn girl” under her breath when she started.  The third week, she tried to quit and refer me to “someone stronger”.


Clearly, I had a problem.  Here is the list of some of the other things I tried:

    • cranio sacral massage
    • physical therapy
    • chiropractic
    • yoga
    • relaxation stuff (meditation, etc.)
    • coaching around why “I’m so stressed.”


And, truthfully, they have all helped a little. But the pain persisted.  


Until this week that is.  This week, I finally discovered the source.  I have Invisalign and my teeth feel weird most of the time.  The only thing that relieves the weird feeling is slight pressure.  So I’ve been unknowingly, gently gritting my teeth most of the time.


I honestly had no idea how much of the day I was doing it.  If you’d asked, I would have said 5 times a day.  Truth was it more like 500 times a day.


But here’s the thing.  Discovering the cause doesn’t fix the problem; it gives you the ability to fix the problem.  


Obviously, identifying the cause a huge first step because you can’t fix the problem without knowing the cause.  At best, you can only manage it.  Which is what I was doing.  


But the real work remains that I need to train myself to relax my jaw while I finish out my Invisalign.  This means reminding myself, over and over and over again.  And then more times after that.  And I have to put up with the uncomfortable feelings that I was trying to avoid in the first place.


Coaching is like that.  

My clients primarily come to me because they are frustrated at work.  They’ve tried a million things.

  • new job
  • working harder
  • working smarter
  • being more direct
  • being less direct
  • biding their time
  • eating / drinking / facebook


But none of these things actually help them identify the cause of their problems, so their issues persist.  And the frustration persists. That’s where I come in. Together, we work through the problem to find the root of it, and it is huge when we do.


They are as surprised by the root cause of the problem as I was.  Which makes sense because if it was simple, they wouldn’t need me.  


And then they are surprised that real work is just starting.


My clients have to practice the new solutions we’ve discovered.   Just like with my jaw, they have to remind themselves many times a day in the beginning to make a new choice.  To take new actions.  That’s why I only work with clients in packages because I find that they want/need the support even more during “integration” time.  They need someone to help them see all the ways things are changing and to make tweaks to continue to improve their results.


The good news is happiness at work is waiting on the other side.  And it’s worth it.

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