What’s in your backpack? A systemic approach.

In one of the recent coaching sessions, my client was looking for a pen in her backpack just as we started our session. While doing that, she said: “My backpack is so heavy, I carry so much stuff in it that I don’t really have a use for, but I can’t find a pen that I actually need right now.”

I offered her one of the extra pens that I carry with me, just in case.

Her words triggered my systemic approach in coaching and I mentioned: “What if you would make an inventory of what you actually need to carry with you all the time and only leave what you really need and use in your backpack?”

She paused and made a note of that. We carried on with our session.

The meaning of my approach is one of the forms in which the systemic approach in coaching works. My client’s backpack was heavy and full of stuff she didn’t need, most of the time. That weight is an expression of the burden she’s carrying on her back.

We sometimes carry around a full backpack and yet we don’t feel it’s so heavy. Why is that? Because we decided that we need the stuff we put it and even if it’s heavy, it doesn’t feel like a burden.

In my client’s case, she even sounded sad when she mentioned the weight and especially that it’s because she’s carrying stuff that’s mostly useless. She knew unconsciously that she was talking about something else. It was about self-limiting beliefs that she was carrying with her all the time.

Her burden was made of a collection of her own self-worth belief, other people’s perception about what she’s capable of, fears about what would happen if she would really pursue her path, cultural perceptions and other stereotypes that were dragging her down and preventing her to manifest her true potential.

Our session went very well, she made good progress.

The next day she texted me: “Gabe! Had you not mentioned the reference to my backpack I would have carried on carrying all the unnecessary stuff in my pack. The pack is now down to 3 lbs and I can’t believe how much lighter it is! Wow! The path is clearing up!”

I replied: “Hey, what if you considered that the extra weight you had in your backpack, carrying with you all the time were all the self-limiting beliefs you don’t need and you decided to take them out and let them go? 

So, my question for you today is: What’s in your backpack? Does it feel like a burden, most of the time? Is all the stuff useful for you? What can you take out so that you’ll feel lighter and free to pursue your meaningful path?

Have a wonderful day!

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