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What's In Your Tool Box?

“Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach someone to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” 

Looking in my garage you’d find a shelf with a random assortment of tools.  There is the small, red, rusty tool box with its lid always open, there is a bigger black plastic box with a latch that never shuts properly, another red plastic box which I received as a gift from my dad years ago before I went to college.  He said to me, “Everyone needs a toolbox.”  Those were truly words of wisdom…on many different levels.

Now, by no stretch of the imagination are we handy.  We can hang pictures.  We have painted walls.  We even have been known to build the occasional piece of pre-drilled and cut shelves.  So the tools we have, indeed fit our needs.  But what if we wanted to trim the palm trees?  What if we decided to tile a bathroom?  What if we thought it was a good idea to remodel our kitchen?  We would be in trouble!  Not only would we waste a lot of time and money, but we would also probably experience a lot of frustration along the way!  We simply aren’t equipped to do any of these things.  The most expedient thing for us to do would be to admit that we don’t have the knowledge to attempt these tasks and we don’t have the proper tools either!  Our best options would be to either 1) get the knowledge, buy the tools, and do it ourselves or 2) hire an expert to do the job for us.  Either route is acceptable, but knowing our limits is certainly helpful.

How true this can be in life.  There are certain tools in life that help us accomplish our goals, take care of ourselves, have successful relationships, and enjoy a healthy, happy life.  And we may have a few tools already that we’ve picked up over the years.  Maybe we learned to remain positive in the face of challenges.  Maybe we learned to be patient when we didn’t get what we wanted.  Maybe we learned to forgive ourselves when we made a mistake.  But now life has presented more complicated challenges.   We have more complicated roles, more stressful jobs and more responsibilities than when we were younger and the tools that we once used aren’t suited to the size of the projects we need to tackle.  How would we know this to be true?  We feel burned-out.  We feel overwhelmed.  We feel constant anxiety.  We feel out of control.  We are depressed, angry, lonely, or just plain tired of it all.  Does that mean that our feelings are unjustified?  Not really…it just means that we might need to add some more tools to the tool box in our life.

Life is wise.  It constantly presents us with opportunities to grow.  It is not meant to beat us down.  But if we feel beaten down, maybe that is a sign that it is time to grow…time to add some more tools to our box.  Maybe what we have always done isn’t working anymore.  And maybe there are tools that we can use that WILL work, if we are willing to find them.  If you see a pattern that is repeating itself in your life such as a long string of failed relationships, abandoned diet plans, frustrating careers, poor financial decisions or goals that have been set and forgotten, that is an opportunity to add to your tool box.  You have the same options.  Either will work.  You can go out and get the knowledge, buy the tools (books, audio CD’s, etc.) and do it yourself, or you can “hire” someone who knows what to do.  That is precisely what a Life Coach is.  They are the skilled handymen in life who can help you complete those projects you haven’t been able to tackle on your own.   But unlike a handyman who starts a project and leaves upon completion, a Life Coach will show you the tools, and teach you how to use them.  They will walk you step by step through your life’s remodeling project and let you swing the hammer.  Their desire is that when the project is complete you will BE the skilled handyman who has the experience and the knowledge, along with the right tools, so that you are able to tackle the next bigger, more complicated project on your own.  How’s that for service!

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