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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Pondering the word “consent” today, I think of how many times I have “signed up” for something, yet never really consented to it.  For example, I “signed up” for Weight Watchers a year ago November.  I also “consented” to having them charge my VISA card monthly for the program.  I “consented” to attend meetings and this I do faithfully.  What I never really consented to do was to follow the program…

There are many stellar suggestions, all of which work when I utilize them, and none of which work when I ignore, resist, attempt to manipulate or actively defy them.  One of the best ideas is their “Point Budget.”  A person my size should be able to utilize 26 points a day and even have 7 additional as a “bonus” or surplus to my budget and lose ½ to 1 lb. a week.  Some even lose two.  My fellow meeting attender actually follows the program and its instructions and she has lost 85 pounds in the last nine months.  I have wrestled with every ounce to weigh 14 pounds less than I did 14 months ago.  I don’t say that in a self-critical or angry way.  I am simply fascinated at how hard I work to withhold my consent when I could freely choose to do differently. 

Does this sound familiar?

I worked with an army lieutenant colonel recently who has flirted dangerously with the army rules surrounding weight and personal fitness.  Like me, I suspect he “signed up” for the army, yet actively resists being “told what to do.”  Now that is a fascinating scenario, even more challenging a “sign up” than mine….sign up for an environment that is founded on structure, regulation and discipline so one can actively engage in resisting moment by moment.

I remember taking golf lessons years ago and the coach gave me very specific instructions on how to hold the club, stand and swing.  He actually expected me to swing it once these instructions were clear.  I, however, stood at the tee posing one “But, what about….” - question after another until the coach screamed in frustration “SWING THE CLUB, JOYCE, JUST SWING THE CLUB.”  I wonder how many people—coaches, teachers, colleagues, parents, sweethearts, siblings-- I have driven to that kind of distraction in my lifetime.  If my goal were to do so, I can say that I have been very successful. 

One more illustration comes to mind, then I will stop.  A brilliant woman by the name of Sydney Rice wrote a book several years ago entitled Choice Points and conceived a remarkable coaching methodology called The PaperRoom System.  One of her primary recommendations in the book is to focus on Housekeeping.  Clean a closet, drawer, floor, bookshelf, toss or delete old files, dispose of any and all accumulated clutter.  I “signed up” for the PaperRoom 5 ½ years ago.  Even became licensed to utilize the system in my coaching practice.  Today I actually followed Sydney’s instructions and chose to wash the floor boards throughout the first floor of the house first with cloths and then followed by scrubbing with a toothbrush.  I’ll let you know how it goes to give my consent to this exercise.  Something tells me that cooperation may be my next word to ponder….

© 2015, Joyce White, New Coaching Solutions
Excerpt from Unpublished Book, Reflections of a Coach

Consent Granted to Distribute with Proper Acknowledgment of Authorship –Thank you