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Why would I need a life coach?

...If you are battling to deal with change, or are unhappy with certain aspects of your life...     then read this

Life coaching secrets that will help you!

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4 easy steps to change... by Liezl Thom

The changing seasons are some of the best reminders that nothing is permanent. Just take a look out of the window… those green shoots that are appearing furtively after their Winter rest, will be fully developed by the end of the month. In six months’ time, they’ll start to wither again… as the wheel of time rolls by steadily. 

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus hit the nail on the head more than 2 500 years ago when he stated that “the only constant thing is change”… or something to that effect.

International best selling author and Life Coach, Martha Beck (PhD), describes the change cycle as:   a square, divided into quarters.

Life coaching secrets that will help you!1***  The first block represents the impetus for change… or as Beck calls it, the “Death and Rebirth” square. This is where the change is initiated. Whether it is a physical death of a loved one, or an emotional death – like when you lose your job – this first step of the change cycle can be extremely traumatic.

It’s not to say that it has to be painful, though. The change can be a wildly exciting event… like getting married or being promoted. The point is, to a greater or lesser degree, there is a sense of loss. Take the example of a woman getting married. Yes, it can be a tremendously exhilarating time in her life… but she has to give up a few things to obtain that ring around the finger… like her surname (although this is happening far less nowadays than only a couple of years ago). She also has to give up her status as single, available, master-of-her-own-destiny girl and forge a new identity as wife. The same goes for entering the physical and emotional rollercoaster of motherhood, being promoted… or any other significant milestone in life. Some part of the self has to die for the new-and-improved version of you to emerge.

Life coaching secrets that will help you!2***  The second square, according to Beck’s analogy, is the “Dreaming and Scheming” phase. This is what happens when you’ve accepted the fact that your life is changing… and start thinking what you would like out of the situation. Let’s take the example of the woman (or man – hey, change happens to all of us!) who gets retrenched. After the initial shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance (in other words, once the entire cycle of grieving is completed), she starts to daydream about what she wants out of life…

Maybe she dreams about being an artist… or going back to university to study archaeology. The sky is the limit here. In this phase, anything is possible…

It’s also in this second square that we start to make plans how to attain those goals. It might not be a complete, fool-proof plan, the details might still be a little foggy… but the first outlines of what your future life could/would/should look like is slowly starting to emerge… a little bit like those buds and leaves in early Spring. In fact, if “Death and Rebirth” is seen as representing Winter, this square undoubtedly represents Spring.

An interesting trend amongst people in the “Dreaming and Scheming” phase, is the physical changes that occur… Like losing weight, changing your hairstyle or wardrobe, or redecorating your living room. (Actually, there are thousands of manifestations of this physical change – but seeing as we don’t have all day, I’ll leave you to find a few examples of your own…)

We’ll return to this square a bit later…

Life coaching secrets that will help you!3***  The next step in the change cycle is what Beck calls the “Hero’s Saga”. This is where you actually have to do the work to realise those plans you schemed up in the previous phase. Now, I consider myself as quite well-read… but I’ve never come across a hero who sets out to attain some glorious goal, gets the job done (and gets the girl) and is back in time for dinner and the seven o’clock news. Oh no! Its not called a saga for nothing… there are obstacles to overcome, monsters to defeat, calls of sirens to ignore… basically, for the first three quarters of any story worth reading (or repeating) it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back.

But a hero is not a hero if he/she does not have more than a bit of tenacity. (I’ll admit, a stroke of luck also plays a part sometimes – but I believe we make our own luck… and that’s a story for another day). The point is, in this phase, we have to stop dreaming and actually do something. If the plan does not work, we refine it. This is where you knock on every door and work like a slave to get to your goal.

Life coaching secrets that will help you!4***  Beck’s fourth and final square: the “Promised Land”. This is when you get what you wanted – like the Israelites who traversed the Middle East for how long? Forty years if I’m not mistaken. (Which again shows you how hard you sometimes have to work in Square Three). Enjoy it – you’ve earned it!

But don’t get too comfortable… remember old Heraclitus? The wheel of change can turn at any minute – and you can be catapulted back into Square One before you have time to savour the sweet rewards of your journey. If you’re lucky, you might spend years in the Promised Land… but be assured, whether its through boredom with all the wealth you’ve amassed, or a personal tragedy, change will happen again.

Before we return to the “Dreaming and Scheming” phase, its worth noting that different aspects of your life can be in different phases of the change cycle. You might have an awesome run at work (Promised Land stuff)… while your health or personal life might be in Square One… or Two… or Three.

Remember I mentioned the physical changes frequently noticed in people who are in Square Two? Another interesting occurrence is how people who have a physical make-over, (whether its by means of a competition, or whether you’re visiting Mr Rademan and he’s creating an entire new look for you), get thrown head first into the change cycle. If this is happening in your life – brace yourself, baby! You’re in for one hell of an adventure!

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Favourite quotes from this article:


"...a hero is not a hero if he/she does not have more than a bit of tenacity..."


"...I believe we make our own luck..."


Liezl Thom is a Martha Beck certified Life Coach. If you are battling to deal with change, or are unhappy with certain aspects of your life, you can e-mail her at pathfinder@live.co.za to set up an appointment.



Martha Beck, 2001, Finding Your Own North Star, United States, Piatkus.

Ηράκλειτος (Herakleitos; Heraclitus) of Ephesus (c.535 BC - 475 BC)













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