The possibility of this idea being anywhere near relevant to my life, where glamorous pursuits such as clearing up after a dog that seems to shed more hair than it grows, or constantly needing to go to the supermarket, seems utterly implausible, and yet when the opportunity came along to give it a go I figured, why not? I would rather like to be a little more like Gwyneth anyway.
So allow my scepticism to be put to good use and bring something proactively positive into your life this year. I first met Rebecca Miller about 18 months ago. Working her magic through Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex, she is an expert in Human Needs Psychology and comes highly recommended by Sue Davis, the naturopath at Lifehouse (I implore you to take any suggestions made by Sue to heart, the woman is a wonder).
Human Needs Psychology is the concept developed by Tony Robbins, an enormous man who is also an “entrepreneur, best-selling author, philanthropist and the nation’s [America’s] #1 Life and Business Strategist.” Mostly however, I think of him as massive – watch his TedTalk, the guy is a giant both physically and metaphorically – perhaps that has something to do with his ability to command a room.
I digress. Human Needs operates on the principle that there are six core human needs: certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth and contribution. The first four needs are defined as needs of the personality and the last two are identified as needs of the spirit. These are the pillars on which our emotional and psychological wellbeing hinge, always in a delicate balancing act that we ourselves are able to take control of.
It’s an interesting concept, and if you think about it, it is a jigsaw that makes an awful lot of sense. I think it’s particularly interesting to think about it when you’re cross about nothing in particular – just generally annoyed that it’s Tuesday for example – perhaps you need a little more variety in your life – why not mix things up and go for Itsu on your lunch break instead of that Pret sandwich? Go on, I dare you.
In all seriousness however, it does make sense, but only really when you know how to apply it, and this is where Rebecca comes in. I don’t think Rebecca would describe herself as a life coach, but given that her modus operandi is designed to give you the tools to navigate just about any situation in life if you listen carefully enough, that’s exactly what she does.
What I particularly like about Rebecca’s approach is that you can go to her with no particular issue, but simply to find someone to help you improve your life, or you can go to her with a big problem, or the kind of problem that you would never think of talking to a professional about. For example, the lady who found that the better she did in business, the more distance it created between her and her husband.
Usually the sort of topic worthy of bitching and moaning amongst your friends, Rebecca’s approach revealed the husband’s decreasing sense of usefulness. By simply making him feel included, the woman found that not only was her business improving, but her relationship soared to new heights.
So how can I tell you that I have benefitted from a relationship with Rebecca? Well, in truth it started with the ability to talk about myself for an hour every couple of weeks. I don’t want to alienate men from this conversation because Rebecca’s methodology is designed for everyone, but as a woman, I will speak from female experience.
Women have a reputation in 21st century for running around looking after everyone else and never really paying attention to themselves. We’re good at feeling guilty about everything, never feeling like we’ve achieved enough and veering more towards self flagellation than self congratulation. Not only that, but it’s definitely considered rude to spend an hour simply offloading your mental spew on someone else without reciprocating, and yet, sometimes that’s really what you need. Forget the joy of a new designer handbag, sometimes the true luxury is being able to talk about yourself, in incoherent, stream of consciousness thoughts that reveal themselves continually and unapologetically for 60 minutes at a time.
Even if you think you have nothing in particular on your mind, you would be amazed at what comes out once you give yourself the opportunity. No, it’s not the same as talking to friends, because this is a chance to be entirely self interested for a short period of time, to untie the knots that have been building up – think of it as the mental version of a massage – kneading out the knobbly bits that you may not even have known were there so that when you next stand up straight you realise the world is a significantly better and lighter place.
That is the power of Rebecca’s particular brand of life coaching. It allows you to leave things behind, get rid of the tension and come out in a much better place. The thing about life coaching in any context is that it’s results driven. It isn’t about counselling over trauma, it’s about finding solutions to move forward.
So I urge you, give a little time to yourself this year, and pay attention to your own human needs, whether you think you have anything to talk about or not. You wouldn’t only go for a massage when something hurts, so why wait for a nervous breakdown to give yourself a mental break? Next time you’re heading to Lifehouse Spa and Hotel, book a session with Rebecca, you deserve it.
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