A Coaching Secret

I've told people for a long time that one of the "secrets" of coaching is forgiveness. Forgiveness takes your finger out of the dyke of the past so you can let the future flow. Buddha said, "forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past." It is an act of total volition, requiring only a softening of the heart. But how do you forgive the unforgivable?

Like millions of Americans, I have been steeped in this paradox. D-Day + 64 was very difficult. Honoring our dead in the midst of our current war heightened this conflict for me. How can I coach people to forgive when I am having difficult in forgiving?

I've talked about this with people who I deeply respect, trust and love. I share it with you. Forgiveness is releasing the bands on your heart that interfere with your moving forward. To forgive behavior is not to condone it. Condoning is like ignoring, looking the other way. Forgiving is allowing you to look without letting your own history interfere. Personally, I can forgive our soldiers for their appalling behavior and continue to work as hard as I can to change this administration.

But here is a totally spiritual view. It is a view that I hold. I come from the notion that the purpose of life - for each of us - is to be as close to G_d as possible. So that whenever anything bad happens to us, I hold that we have been given another opportunity to move spiritually closer to G_d. I call it the "find the pencil" theory of the universe. When you get closer you get more and more positive feedback -"you're getting warm, warmer, hot, hotter." And when you respond otherwise, the universe gives you increasingly negative feedback - "cool, cold, colder?" So forgiving our soldiers is an opportunity for spiritual growth. You can actually empathize with those you are angry with, because the universe has given them the burden of being that way.

Aside from one cousin, all of my relatives from WWII have passed on. The war exists for me as memory and my experiences as a young boy. I remember going on a train from Brooklyn to Miami and being 'adopted' by a group of soldiers - a fondly remembered highlight of my boyhood - And going to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers - I sat in the left field bleachers, right next to the section reserved for the military - I loved it. I have a photograph of myself at age seven, wearing a full soldier's outfit I love my country.

As I forgive today's unfortunate army, I recover my love, my hero worship and my deep respect for these brave, willing, but unwitting young people. And I grieve for those who have so senselessly died.

Forgiveness works.

Find out more from his website, www.1stClassCoaching.com.

Michael Lipp is a senior coach, with over 21 years experience and an extensive background in leadership, design, management and entrepreneurship.

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