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3 Lessons I Learned From A SLAP IN THE FACE

A personal experience a few weeks ago was a powerful reminder that we are not as awake as we think…a difficult experience to digest, but what a gem!

I had my second meeting with a great coach. During the first meeting, a week earlier, we spoke at length about my new business, Essence Coaching. I was intrigued to know what impression this left on her.

The more we spoke, the tenser I felt; I didn’t like what I was hearing. She eventually revealed that our previous conversation left her excited, inspired and confused.

“How could you be confused?” I thought. “I was so careful to tell you everything about my business, its offering, the marketing, my qualifications, my experiences, my expertise, my clients…” and it dawned on me, I said too much!

I had given her so many details that she was left unable to articulate anything about my work.

Two stinging slaps in quick succession. The first, being told that I made no sense by someone I respected; the second, realising that I had fallen well short of all the theories, skills and techniques I so readily teach others to apply. “How disappointing!”

I wanted to know more, so I asked more questions. The answers were challenging, supportive and candid. What emerged was a dance of ideas that helped me crystallise a few realities I could no longer see.

After the meeting I reflected on what happened and it turns out I was asleep. The slaps, albeit metaphorical ones, woke me up.

What I took away from this experience was this:

  1. Put aside knowledge

  2. Connect to the now

  3. Challenge the ego


It is important to be prepared for meetings, exams, presentations, negotiations or similar. It is also important to put aside all the acquired knowledge and trust that it is there if necessary.

When we stay open and curious about a situation, we can tap into our toolbox and pull out the most effective tool, knowledge included. Pouring all the tools on the table at once is seldom necessary.


When entering any situation, we can "predict" some of what may happen, but what unfolds is always unique.

When we choose to respond from a script, rather than to what emerges, we are being inauthentic and ineffective.

Staying present to the moment and responding accordingly makes us most effective.


Asking for direct, candid feedback can be tough. It takes strength to open our being to it. We are invested in our ideas, and it is easy to see the feedback as criticism or personal attack. We fall into this trap regularly, at home with our partners, and at work with our colleagues. That’s our ego driving.

Receiving genuine, open and constructive feedback is a powerful gift. The discomfort we experience when receiving it is the sound of change. Staying in that space is our greatest opportunity for growth.

I spent almost 20 years in corporate and I have experienced so many situations where my colleagues or I were totally blind to others.

Today, in my clinical work, I see couples that fall in the exact same trap. Both partners speak the same language, but when “communicating” they just can't understand each other.

We can learn some simple techniques to refocus our mind and become present again. Our colleagues will be grateful, our partners will love us all over again.

Contact me directly if you want to find our more, so that you can also recreate meaningful connections.

Thank you for reading my article.

I base all my articles on real case studies and research findings that are relevant to my clients. If would like to read future posts, please join us here.

If you would like help with a similar challenge, you can book a free introductory consultation below and we can explore a way of working together.

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