He heads a hugely successful company, lives on the coast with his wife, his 3 children and their gorgeous dog! He has a hobby many people dream about and a lifestyle most people envy.
Dan reached out to me about a specific personal and professional goal that in his own words “no matter which way he tries to pursue it, he sees a wall”.
Dan comfortably described himself in our first session as a world-class critic. He is very aware of his flaws and weaknesses and when he tells his life story, he speaks effortlessly about his failures, his problems and what he hasn’t managed to achieve. He complains about his stress, his obligations and responsibilities and how he usually fixates on what’s not possible.
Before we can begin a coaching process, I give Dan one assignment: To spend the rest of the week noticing and recording his “I love” statements.
These are sentences that he needs to journal each day beginning with “I love”.
Dan sat frozen for 3 days stuck in a fog of skepticism of daily buzz words: journaling, gratitude, mindfulness.
However, knowing I expect full accountability and my client’s homework to be complete for our next session, on day 4 he sat down, grabbed a pen and paper and started.
He subsequently and courageously shared with me on our call how surprisingly difficult this was for him and then sent me the following.
My love sentences….
I love hearing the sound of my kids laughing.
I love the smell of my wife’s baking early in the morning.
I love that I live on the beachfront and can smell the salty air and hear the waves from my porch.
I love that I have such a friendly dog who I enjoy spending time with.
I love that my coach can be thousands of miles away and we can work together via technology.
I love that my body is in great shape and I can do sport pain free.
I love that my two neighbors are my closest friends from high school.
I love that I can travel to a new destination every 3 months.
I love that my parents are both alive.
I love that I have a close relationship with my siblings even though we live in different states.
I love that my children learn in excellent schools.
I love that I sit on the board of an incredible charity.
I love that the US women just won the world cup soccer.
I love that my company is super profitable every year.
I love that my hobby has helped me make new friends.
I love the weekends with my kids at home.
I love that I am a really talented manager.
I love an icy cold shower.
I love that today I cried.
We went through Dan’s sentences one by one.
As he elaborated on each and every one for me, I could see a light in his face that was dim last week.
Unlike the confidence he displayed so naturally when listing everything that was wrong in his life in our first meeting, when reflecting on his “I love” statements, his voice was shaking, and that much softer. I could hear the lump in his throat and could see his heart expand.
When we got to his last sentence, tears filled his eyes.
He told me this was his favorite sentence of the exercise.
When I asked his why, he explained to me that he hasn’t felt deeply in ages.
He was consumed by what he isn’t, where he isn’t, what he doesn’t have and what’s not working and that he was blinded to all the wonderful blessings and gifts that he has in his life.
He said this seemingly trivial, simplistic and rather strange request of mine genuinely helped him to sit down and pause and start to pay attention to and recognize what he loves, rather than allowing what he doesn’t love to continue to govern his day.
What are some of your “I love” sentences? Share them with me.
I love… to read them and be inspired by them.