I have been a fan of Motivational and Career Coach, Tony Robbins for a long time. Several years ago Tony presented his Turn Fear into Power: The Firewalk Experience Training in Detroit. His job was to encourage 500 of us to walk on hot coals during the training. I decided to attend because I learned so much from Tony’s books and other training material. I was changing careers from being a counselor to a professional speaker. There were many fears floating in my brain and I wanted to explore the options. I had NO intention of walking on the hot coals. I just wanted to learn and observe. My family was taking bets on whether I was going to walk on the hot coals. I told them to stop wasting their money since this was not my intention.
Tony wanted us to focus on a real life fear that we wanted to eliminate. If we walked on fire we would be able to use our fear and turn it into positive energy for future obstacles. It sounded perfect for my needs since the transition from sitting in an office to traveling all over the United States and presenting to large audiences was going to be a big change.
By now you probably realize that I walked on the hot coals. Tony taught all of us how to use this experience to push ourselves. There were two 12 foot fire beds. The coals were red hot and were hot enough to burn aluminum. Bongo drums were beating in the background and it sounded like an earthquake with all of the chanting from the 500 participants. I had a knot in my stomach, my arms were tingling, I was a bit dizzy…yet I felt the energy from the crowd and before I knew it I was on the other side of the fire bed! I did it.
People who did not believe in themselves and who did not follow the directions got burned! We had to say “cool moss” as we were walking on the coals and we had to walk at a normal pace and not stop.
Career Coach Lesson #1: Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Actions
There were people there who felt they could never ask for a raise, change jobs, or speak up to leaders. I was standing next to 3 people who were skeptics and complained how this was a hoax. I told myself to move from this group since I was ready to change and their negativity would hold me back. Don’t walk away from negativity…RUN!
We need to look for the positives in a situation or a person even though we may only see the negatives at the moment. What is one positive quality about your job or your coworker? It may take you a while to find it, but it is so important to start looking for one small positive in order to change the negative state that you may be experiencing.
Career Coach Lesson #2: Remember the Firewalk Metaphor When Faced with Barriers
It helps when we are self-motivated and use mantras when faced with fear. We need to listen to stories about people who faced challenges and changed their thinking to overcome these obstacles. I remind myself how I was able to walk on the hot coals when I use Tony’s system which still works for me today.
There are some groups who don’t want to attend my programs because the boss forced them to register and they feel that they don’t “need” to be there. I tell myself to do the best that I can do. Once I relax and push the negative doubts away, the group’s negativity diminishes and people start dealing with their conflict. The audience sees that I’m really there for their success. They sense doubt and fear in their speakers/consultants. They also know when we really are there to support their career growth. Of course, this works most of the time. There are some groups who are facing many obstacles and don’t have the support from their leaders. I do the best I can to help them look for options on communicating to their leaders. Doing our best is all we can ask of ourselves.
Career Coach Lesson #3: Walk Confidently No Mater What’s Going On
This one lesson is something that has helped me tremendously. Tony didn’t let people walk on the hot coals if they were not ready or doubted themselves. He worked with them until they let go of their doubt and fear. I learned the importance of looking and feeling confident even if I didn’t feel that way at first. Every time I walk into a hostile situation I hold my head up high and tell myself that I’m there to help them resolve the conflict. They are not angry at me but at their situation. Many of us take things personally and it usually has nothing to do with us.
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Until next time,
This is Joyce Weiss, Communication Strategist and Coach
You can start tackling tough conversations once you learn the powerful strategies. I will do whatever it takes to help you improve your quality of life. We won’t even walk on hot coals!
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