Crazy Appliances

Would you buy dish soap that only works on a fork?  How about an oven that only works when you’re starving?  Maybe a vacuum cleaner that only works when you’re sad, and then you have to call a number to turn it on once you’re sad again?

Does this all sound absurd?  Where am I going with this?  Have I had too many martinis?

The answers are yes, they are analogies, and I wish.

I’m referring to tools that we use that we expect to be universal.  Dish soap should pretty much work on anything that we want to wash in the kitchen.  An oven should work any time you want to use it, on anything you want to cook, within reason.  A vacuum cleaner should work regardless of your mood, and it should be your tool to control when you want to use it.

So why would you purchase the bizarro appliances I mentioned?  I dunno, why do you pay for coaching that is only meant for you being sad, or getting a divorce, or “finding the real you” or 90 days to creativity’ or to “unlock your potential” or “look at me I’m famous now?”

The difference between psychologists and coaches

I’m tired of saying “as I’ve said before” but, as I’ve said before, there’s a difference between a psychologist and a coach, a mentor and a consultant.

On a scale of -10 to +10, with -10 being the most in need, mentally and emotionally, and +10 being pretty much the apex of humanity most of us operate in the plus zone, +4, +5, +6 etc.  Psychologists are trained to deal with people in the negatives.  In fact I had a good conversation recently with someone who runs a facility staffed by psychologists.  He told me that their job is to bring people to zero, up from the negatives.  In my opinion, that’s where a coach comes in – helping someone go from a +2 to a +5, etc.

So again, what’s with the crazy appliances?  Well, it doesn’t make sense to sign up for, pay for and go through a system that focuses on a tiny issue that you’re having – temporarily.  Especially if this issue is intense enough to require a psychologist – then that’s just irresponsible.

Let me give you some examples.

In an alternate universe….

You are having a lot of difficulty in meeting the right person, you seem to ‘attract’ the wrong people and you are just exhausted from dating.  What do you do?  You go and buy some dish soup that only works on a fork!  Yeah, that’s it.  Er, I mean you hire a ‘dating coach.’  Yep, and this person, without asking many questions, has you go through her wonderful program of ‘love in 90 days.’  In this one-size-fits-all program you learn that you send out Magic Love Rays to everyone.  No, really.  Also, can I have more money?

Meanwhile in this universe…

You realize that there is a big picture.  You want dish soap that works on forks, spoons, knives, dishes, plates, cheese graters and even the Kitchen Aid mixing bowl.

balance sheetSo you sign up of Alchemy For Life.  You fill out the Balance Sheet, and you see that you don’t even have the energy to date right now – and in reviewing the sheet with the coach you figure out why.  It’s because of two reasons – 1) you are still in Finding A Job mode.  You frequently spend a LOT of energy and time trying to find one after being downsized, but now it’s over.  Now you can celebrate, and go out, and relax.  You can go back to having a hobby or two.  In addition,, 2) you have a dating profile that is all bullet points that don’t even match the kind of guy you really want.  We figure this out when we see that you put “Dating” in the productivity column because it’s a chore to you.  The profile is rewritten based on what you really want, a schedule of checking the site vs just taking a breather is created.  Now you spend much less time and effort.  You meet someone, and it could be from the new profile, or the fact that you’re going out more and just enjoying life with your friends.  It doesn’t matter, because I’m not going to take credit for you and adjusting your Love Rays.  You are, you’re going to take credit for it – the more relaxed, more focused Cindy.  (your name is Cindy in this scenario).

What’s the difference?

So what’s the difference?  Lots. When you go to see the Super Love Coach, that stuff only applies to you if you are in need of finding a mate.  So like the vacuum cleaner that only works when you’re sad, it has limited application (assuming you even buy into the Love Rays concept).  It doesn’t address the underlying reason you were having troubles, and just applies a cookie cutter program approach.  That’s all you get and happy lovemaking and I hope you live happily ever after but if it doesn’t work out it’s probably something you did wrong and please come back for another program and yay money!

The AFL system looks at everything you’re spending time, energy and resources on first.  It looks at the whole thing as coexisting, as a sliding puzzle.  It understands that to move one thing you have to move a couple other things.  You see that you simply don’t have the time yet, so we have to make room.  You see that your energy was depleted because you didn’t recharge.  The effects are long lasting, make sense, and are repeatable.  It’s a vacuum cleaner that works all the time, and you don’t have to call the store every time you need to use it.  This same system applies to finding a new career, having more date nights with your spouse, getting your teens to help more with chores, balancing your work life with your home life, leading a more healthy life, finding a way to sail, and anything that you really want to do. It’s universal, long lasting and makes sense.  The more you use it, the more you get the whole “balance” concept.

Compare and contrast

Various focused programs:

  • Cookie cutter in nature
  • Linited use
  • Don’t focus ont he big picture
  • Typically have no tools or measurements
  • Start off by the assumption that you are flawed
  • Often involve odd programs that don’t apply to you

AFL System

  • Specific to you – thanks to the balance sheet you fill out
  • Big picture oriented
  • Goals come from the sheet, vs “I want this for some reason”
  • Cause and effect become apparent
  • Connections between your actions become clear
  • It works because of you, not because of me

Does that make sense?

A note about some programs

Having said all that, I am not detracting from very specific programs designed by professionals in their field.  For example I know a really great artist who conducts a short seminar on being creative through her medium.  She is selling what she knows, and showing her goods.  She’s not selling a program that “turns you into an artist in 30 days.”  No, she’s just showing you her medium, and how she does it, and you learn along the way how to work in her medium.

So, don’t buy that crazy vacuum.

About Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford developed a system to achieve goals, manage your energy and understand and strengthen your path - it's Alchemy For Life. He writes, coaches and speaks on the subject. For more information, tips and tricks, like Mark Bradford on Facebook, follow Mark Bradford on Twitter. Schedule a 15 minute chat. Articles are posted regularly on AlchemyFor.Life, and LinkedIn.