Remember the story of the two people who were pounding on rocks along the
side of a road. When someone asked the first person what he was doing, he
replied, “Oh, I’m breaking up these rocks for that building over there.” And
he didn’t look too happy about it. But when the second person, who are
sweating just as much as the first man, but with a warm smile upon his face
was asked the same question, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral to
celebrate the glory of God!”
Whether we are professional coaches or simply being a coach in some aspect
of our lives, one of our overall purposes is to enhance the lives of those
around us, especially those who have requested our coaching. One my
favorite and I believe most powerful coaching tools for enhancing life is
distinguishing. For example, I have found that many of us do not make the
distinction between results and accomplishment, feeling they are virtually
However, making such a distinction can add a depth of meaning that will
enhance our experience of life. The type of results I’m speaking about are
those that occur in the physical domains of life – in what we do and what we
have as a result of those actions.
How do we go about producing results in our life? Often, we first determine
what are the results we want to produce. We may even write them down as a
goal or part of a purpose project. We then go about doing what we think is
necessary to produce those particular results.
Of course, we all know that we don’t always produce the results we intended.
That’s part of the game of life. For many people, this is where we get
stuck by becoming attached to the results. This ends up producing effort and
struggle that detracts from the quality of life rather than enhances.
But where does accomplishment come into this equation? I’m suggesting that
there’s another dimension to results that we often miss; one that can be
created and that is the sense of accomplishment or fulfillment that can come
from any result we produce, both the intended results and those we didn’t
This sense of accomplishment occurs not in the physical doing and having
part of the universe but in the non-physical being domain, i.e. in what we
make life mean. Without consciously creating meaning that enhances our life
experience, we lose much of essence of being alive.
I’ve observed that for some people there’s a certain sense of accomplishment
automatically present when they produce the desired or intended results of a
project, while for other people they’ve lost even this level of fulfillment.
When this happens, their work often becomes very boring and unfulfilling,
even if they are producing results all over the place.
If we observe this with those we’re in a coaching relationship with,
distinguishing that this sense of accomplishment and fulfillment as a
missing ingredient to life can make a huge difference. Creating
life-enhancing meaning is like adding succulent spices to an otherwise bland
meal. Suddenly, our work can take on a new depth of meaning and purpose if
we’ll willing to step in and create it.
And what about those times we produce results that don’t match with our
intentions? Doesn’t that mean we failed? Well, that’s certainly one
meaning we can ascribe to those unintended results. The question is, does
that particular meaning enhance our lives? Perhaps, though in most cases it
doesn’t. In which case, we can again pause to create a new meaning that
will not only enhance our lives but will keep us in the game.
Often times, the accomplishment of unintended results is that we learn
something new that we can use later to help us be more effective in
producing our intended results. And in that learning can be a depth of
fulfillment that will help us keep on keeping on.
SUGGESTED COACHING ASSIGNMENT: At the conclusion of your week, take a few
minutes to review what happened — what actions did you take this week and
what were the outcomes/results of those actions. Then, add the spice of
accomplishment and fulfillment by creating life-enhancing meaning around
those actions and results.