– What hamster wheels, rocking chairs and bicycles can teach us
Someone recently asked me how do I get the ideas to write. Believe it or not, it’s really the pockets of observations and conversations I have with the people around me, particularly, my dear son. Our conversations from the heart may innocently start from discussing some of the “highs” in school today, specific memorable and funny occasions, to deeper more affective and insightful topics like, “what would you have done if you were that person?”.
Hence, today’s topic about hamster wheels, rocking chairs and bicycles (yes, we do have pet hamsters at home, 3 of them – Baby, Rosie and Milkie).
Very often when coaching clients, our discussions would navigate towards “I don’t know”, “I don’t know what to do”, “Where shall I start”, “I’m clueless”, “I’m quite worried really”, and so on. So how does one help the coachee to gain some breakthroughs and “ah-ha” moments? Let’s explore some insights from the 3 metaphors below:
1. Hamster wheels
The idea of running in circles over and over again comes into mind with this metaphor. When we are feeling stuck and perhaps, not growing or not knowing what to do, STOP and GET OFF the wheel. Take a breather to pause and reflect, then realign your plans and dreams before taking any action. Keeping on in your hamster wheel will not only tire you, but you’ll feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your goals/dreams, and that’s unproductive and counter-productive, too.
2. Rocking chairs
Sitting on a rocking chair can make one exert quite a lot of energy just to keep the momentum. But going back and forth won’t give you the distance – the mileage. What this metaphor brings to mind is the indecisiveness. Going forwards 2 steps, then backwards 5 steps, and then again and again, will only bring you further away from your goal/destination. Not only that, it’ll drain you and very soon, you’ll see your goal/destination further and further away, then you’ll lose interest and subsequently, hope.
Again, STOP and GET OFF the chair, find another “chair” that will give you the mileage, perhaps something that has wheels and can move, that will give you the distance. Take a small step of action, give it a try, and if it doesn’t work well, then shift your chair somewhere else, and then try again.
Riding a bicycle requires balance and pedaling power. It also requires one to overcome the fear of falling. Once the momentum and balance are there, together with kinetic energy of movement (taking action), very soon you’ll be enjoying the breeze in your hair and the beautiful scenic sights around you.
What this means is that having some balance in life is really crucial for one. Accept that there are times for happiness and sadness, for being with others and being alone, for doing the hard work, and sometimes letting others do the hard work for you, etc etc. Further, in order to keep the momentum going, you’ve got to start pedaling off first, which is the first push on the pedal, and then the next, next, next, which is the hardest part in anything – getting started and the routine. Once the momentum gets going, you’ll then let the pedals rotate on their own, with occasional thrusts here and there, while enjoying the amazing sights, sounds and smells of the journey.
Of course, we could go on and on using these 3 powerful metaphors to describe all sorts of things. You get it. And hence, the beauty of personal and professional coaching, which to me, helps one to deport from the mundaneness of life – work, home, family, self, work, home, family, self, etc., to actually spending time for yourself.
Coaching is an excellent way to “STOP and GET OFF” your wheel, rocking chair or bicycle and allows you to reflect, realign and redesignate your life’s goals, dreams and purposes. Coaching can also help you see things beyond what you can see, feel what you’ve always wanted to feel and dream of what you’ve always wanted to achieve.
So, why wait any longer? Look up a coach near you, or from a friend’s recommendation, or website, and take your first step to getting unstuck when you’re feeling stuck. Bravo!
– Josephine PL Ong
Josephine PL Ong