There are these prolific weeds in my garden. I swear they can grow anywhere; completely covered by massive, picky squash leaves; in cracks of burning hot asphalt; near the blushing stems of beets and strawberries, and in the lovely dirt we have worked so hard to create. The clever thing about these weeds is that seem to be able
to adapt. When they find themselves covered by leaves, shaded from the sunlight, they quickly change from spreading their leaves and stems far and wide, to reaching straight up, sneakily creating a new path back to the sun.
These weeds are also the sort that if you don’t get every single piece of them out, they immediately come back. Ten fold. Their roots are hard to pull and the tiny little leaves are quick to fall back to the soil, and so, regardless of the amount of time and effort I spend waging war on them, they come back, seemingly finding ways to thrive.
As I was ready-ing myself for the fairly daily battle with these weeds, it occurred that similar weeds exist in us, showing up as doubt, self-criticism, palely accepting circumstances that we know we could change, and so many other things. These weeds are never so evident as when something new is on the horizon. They show up in the doubt and self-sabotage of a new friendship or love interest. In playing it safe when taking a risk is really what your heart, soul and life needed. In all the internal monologues that bring up every single reason why this new adventure won’t work, how you aren’t capable, strong enough, old enough, young enough, expert enough, and on and on.
In Co-Active coaching, we call this voice the saboteur. The third edition of Co-Active Coaching explicitly draws this out, explain how the voice of the saboteur is mostly in the background, but at times of change, “the alarm sounds and the saboteur will awaken.” Whenever we are at that crux of change, that crossroads, this voice of self-doubt becomes louder, more edgy, and for whatever reason, we seem have a greater tendency to believe it.
The saboteur is like those weeds. When it feels threatened, it finds new ways to dig in, dropping more leaves, reaching up to the light, finding a way to consistently telling you that whatever you are trying to grow will be choked out. What does it take to overcome those weeds, to pull them out, every leaf and root? When they are deeply held hurts from the past, it may be a counselor or therapist. When they are limitations for a future, that’s where a coach can come in. Coaches can help you pull those weeds, opening up a path to the sun for those plants you really want to grow.
What do you want more of in your life? What would it look like if you removed all those weeds, or even just some of them? How does a year from now look different? Imagine the possibilities, and let’s start pulling those weeds.