The smartest thing I learned in coaching school

I sat down at my desk with a plan to write about something specific. I’d been thinking about it for the last few days and was ready to just let the words flow out onto the keyboard and do their thing.

But as is so often the case, the universe had other plans. Something happened this morning that caused me to delete everything I’d written and start again from scratch. That other idea has been filed away for another week because sometimes one single thought causes such a surge in energy & inspiration, you just know you have to write about it straight away.

So let me tell you what happened.

Right now I’m staying at my folks house. They live in a beautiful house on top of a hill overlooking the ocean. It’s dreamy. There’s a big long window in the lounge. It frames the view perfectly.

But recently they’ve had some issues with the window. It got kinda fogged up & then filled up with condensation. The once epic view suddenly got a little clouded.

So this morning, 3 workmen showed up the replace the window. I was sitting here with my laptop, writing my blog post when I stopped to watch them take the whole pane of glass out. They carried it out of the house and then disappeared to their van to get the new window.

I snuck into the lounge to take a look. And that’s when I had the realisation. Standing there, looking at this epic view, though the window frame with no glass. I grabbed my phone to take a photo and felt like a light bulb had just switched on inside my head.

This was the view. This was the reality.

The view we’ve seen for all these years has always been filtered by a pane of glass. We were looking at the world through a lens. And when the lens got dirty or fogged up, the world looked different.

But the world wasn’t different. The lens was.

Immediately I was reminded of something I’d learnt in coaching school. We were studying NLP and there was one particular presupposition that really stood out for me. It came from a Polish-American scientist & philosopher called Alfred Korzybski.

Let me explain that a little. Basically, Alfred was explaining that no matter how good a map is, it will only ever be a map. It will only ever be a representation of the territory.

And here’s the thing. We have all created our own maps of the world. Our perception of the world is based upon our beliefs, experiences & learned behaviour.

So if we take it back to the metaphor of the window, we can see how easy it would have been to look at the world through that window and believe it was a cloudy, dull place. Imagine how that would impact your day to day living. You could spend years living an unhappy existence because you’ve told yourself that the world is a cloudy, dull place.

But when you understand this concept, that the map is not the territory, you realise that perhaps your map is a little misleading.

Here’s the awesome news: You can build a new map. You can replace your window. You can see the world differently.

Sometimes you need 3 dudes to rock up and pull a window out to make you really really appreciate what that teacher was saying three years ago in that seminar.

The smartest thing I learned in coaching school June 2nd, 2015Linzi

Originally published at on April 10, 2015.