A Coaching Power Tool By Paola Gallucco, Transformational Coach, UNITED KINGDOM
Overcoming the Victim vs. Freedom
Have you ever had the feeling that you were stuck in a life you didn’t want?
Feeling powerless and depressed and wondering how you even got there?
I did. However, thanks to the coaching experience, I managed to change my perspective and understand that what I was living was the consequence of my own choices. This helped me on one side to feel empowered, and it allowed me to build from there a life that could be closer to my core values.
Victim vs. Freedom: Victim of Circumstances vs. Freedom of Choice
During the pandemic, I was privileged enough to be able to work from home, and the sudden amount of time I had – combined with the forced isolation we were all living in – made me decide that it was the right time to start looking after myself. The quiet around me allowed me to begin a process where I was listening more to myself and to my inner needs – and this process reached its highest levels when I decided to join ICA.
When life started turning to the “new normal” I felt that something was going to be out of tune.
The specific, the job I was still doing working from home was asking me to return in present, and I started feeling that the lifestyle I was called to go back to was meaningless. As a result, I started feeling a sense of rejection at the idea of going back to my pre-pandemic life.
Victim of Circumstances
In insight, the negative narrative I was electing and repeating to myself was:
- I don’t belong in that place
- I am unhappy to go back to work in the presence
- I just have to work for the money
- I am forced to live this life – I am a victim of circumstances
This narrative was actually blocking me, to the point that the idea of going back to work in my presence was making me sick. I was waking up every day thinking of it, and this was preventing me from finding any solution: I could only think of resigning – the thing that wasn’t completely impossible to do, however, ideally, I wanted to maintain a secure entry of income whilst I was completing my coaching studies.
Then, I had the idea to work on this status of unhappiness and explore it more closely, and I thought to bring this topic to a peer coaching session.
During the session some questions the coach asked me made me think deeper:
- What was in my job I would like to change if I could?
- How was I feeling before the pandemic would start?
- What had changed during the pandemic me and how this connected to my job?
- What value I felt was impacted?
- What did I need?
Whilst answering those questions, I started becoming aware that I was overgrown in my role at work, and possibly I needed a change in a different direction.
More importantly, I started seeing with more clarity that what was causing me such distress now, was that I was completely forgetting that my job was the result of my past choices and with it, I had lost memory of what this meant to me at the time I made them.
Freedom of Choice
But above all, I realized that my freedom was my core value, and it was a non-negotiable one.
What made the difference, was going back with my memory to why I started doing that job and how I felt at that time. This made clear to me the following:
- I remembered how much I had been desiring to get my job not so long ago
- That my job was allowing me to remain in the UK and have a comfortable life – which meant a lot to me.
- That the income I was getting through my job was allowing me to undertake the coaching course that was now changing my life
- I could see that all were connected and part of the bigger jigsaw of my life
- I clearly saw that I was not “forced” into anything: I was (and I am) free to resign at any time, I might want to do it at the right moment for me.
The awareness that derived from this made it clear to me that I had freedom of choice, and as a result, I was NOT a victim of circumstances.
The job I was doing was MY choice, and I was free to do as I wanted, whenever I wanted.
The change of perspective was a blast to me.
I moved from feeling powerless and a victim of circumstances (feelings that were fogging my mind) to feeling that my strongest value – my freedom of choice – was still there, intact, and I was still totally in charge of my life.
Not only: I could now clearly see that this path was actually serving my growth.
In addition, thanks to this new perspective I could now sense that I could use this experience I was having to help others like me who had lost their sense of freedom of choice: I could help others to win their freedom of choice back.
This uncovered for me a further victory: I now had found MYPURPUSE in life through my coaching. And this discovery has contributed to defining the target of clients I want to help and that I feel I can truly help because I had a direct experience – and what I thought was a good place to start from was my own current job environment.
I recognize this pattern also in other colleagues in a corporate environment: the corporate dynamics after a while make you forget your initial motivations and make you feel that you are forced at remaining because of circumstances; that you have to carry on doing certain jobs because it “pays the bills”– this makes everyone feel powerless and victim.
I can see it in my colleagues’ sad faces when I walk to work: people are unwilling to exchange smiles and looks; people are close to themselves because they feel that there is no way to escape from that life. Individuals look like robots, repeating the same movements every day, thinking that there is no other choice.
The consequences can be dangerous as one can lose the sense of being in charge and feel stuck in their own life. And for one like me – whose core value is freedom – is even more undermining, as it makes feeling trapped.
Being a victim of circumstances was the limiting belief.
Meanwhile, going back with my mind to the feelings of joy and excitement that led me to want that job a few years before, and the benefits that derived from there, made me look at it in a completely different light. I made those choices; I am in charge of making changes at the right time and for the right reason.
The outcome is that I moved the focus from the existing job to the new career path I am working towards.
I can now see with more clarity and now I am grateful for my current job because is allowing me to be where I am now.
What has also changed is that I am now going to work with a smile on my face, confident that I am going to make a difference in my own life, and in others like me.
I am conscious that my experience can serve others like me in any other corporate environment.
As a result of this change of perspective, I feel now empowered to do more and better for myself and for others. The choice is under our eyes: the answer is within us, and I aim to help people uncover their own power and win their freedom of choice back.
A victim of circumstances is broadly defined as an individual who suffers ill consequences because of factors that are out of his/her control. It also applies to a person who prefers blaming others and not taking ownership of the consequences of their own actions.
The individual who is capable to move from the” victim of circumstances” perspective to the “freedom of choice” perspective, gains the ability to empower himself/herself and recovers the capacity to get back in charge of his/her own life.
This new awareness brings with it the capacity to make better choices and to move from a passive attitude (i.e.: I cannot change my life) to an active attitude (i.e.: I have determined my life so far, and I am still in charge of my own future), allowing to develop a clearer view of our personal strengths, inner values and the capacity to leverage them to achieve our dreams.