Fulfillment Beyond Smoking?
[The following situation is real. Client's name used with permission.]
Kelly, 43 yrs old, related that she had stopped smoking cigarettes [nicotine patch & smoking cessation program] but then started again because it helped to take her mind off problems. She knew smoking was bad for her lungs and overall health, and she simply couldn't afford the price of cigarettes.
Kelly explored insights to gain a deeper understanding of her smoking habit: To hit the "pause button" before lighting up. She wondered about a question she could ask herself. She came up with, "Do I really want this cigarette right now?" "What is it I actually need?" Kelly committed to asking that question every time she reached for a cigarette during the coming week. She ranked herself as an "8" on a 1-10 certainty scale for commitment to follow-through.
A week later Kelly saw that smoking was an escape, a way to get "full" emotionally. We explored what that meant. She realized she hadn't taken time for herself lately. In thinking of possible ways she could "fill up" without smoking, Kelly recalled that she loved to sketch. She decided to spend more time drawing and painting a couple of times a week.
The immediate issue Kelly chose was smoking cessation, and it was important that she was open to viewing that issue in a new way. Instead of advising her to "stop smoking" to avoid damaging her health (a fear-based inducement) I encouraged her to explore underlying thoughts and feelings which enabled her to interrupt a habitual stress response.
Kelly's unique insights lay the foundation for self-motivated change. Feeling the glow of success, Kelly continued to counter the impulse to smoke by exploring and identifying other unmet needs.
Women sometimes engage in self-destructive behavior to mask unpleasant emotions or situations. Unquestionably, smoking as a habit poses a profoundly important health issue, however it is the result of an interplay of multiple factors. As demonstrated in this example, coaching can help individuals discover or rediscover a life passion. The spin off? Counter an unhealthy habit, and feel strong and victorious!