We always have a choice. Sometimes we choose not to recognise that.

I am a counsellor. I had a client – for confidentiality purposes let’s call him ‘Mike’ – who was in a senior position in a very large international company. When asked to tell me something about himself, he reeled off all his university and business achievements, which included multi-million-pound deals. When I then asked what he did for fun he replied, ‘I look forward to the hour on Sunday when I play tennis with my son.’ I reflected to him what he had just said and there was a stunned silence. Mike had been so focused on success whilst the rest of his life was put on hold – until he achieved… the impossible! How had he got himself into this position? It transpired that the unconscious driver for his approach was to achieve what he thought his father would want of him. The fact his father was deceased was irrelevant. The realisation of what he was doing enabled him to reassess the perspective he had of himself and life in general. He was consequently elated. He was relieved of the great burden he had, again unconsciously, loaded upon himself. A burden he had been carrying for much of his life. Why hadn’t he realised this sooner? Because he had been preoccupied with what he had to do.

In business, as well as everyday life, people can be very focused on objectives. There is nothing wrong with that but, too often, as illustrated by ‘Mike’, a strong goal-orientated and tunnel-visioned approach can result in other aspects of life being neglected. This may be the result of seeing yourself in relation to what you do as opposed to whom you are. It may be a good indication of what your self-esteem is based on. An essential requirement of an efficient worker, be s/he an executive or otherwise, is to have a healthy outlook and a good work/life balance. This is achieved through having a greater understanding of ‘self’, a recognition of the choices available and being able to choose the ones which are in your own best interest. We need to look after our ‘self’. No one else can do it for us.

Questions you could ask yourself are: How, or for what, do I value myself? How well do I know myself? Am I spending money on material things, in an effort to enhance my feelings of well-being, or feelings of self-worth? If so, is it working? Could I spend it more wisely? Am I being honest with myself?

Have you ever thought about what makes you tick? What motivates you? Have you ever thought about there being another, perhaps less stressful, way of being which could allow energies focused on ‘getting there’ being shared with those which truly enhance your sense of well-being?

Discussing an issue with a professional, who works with only the information disclosed, allows for clarity which can lead to its resolution. However, having an ’issue’ is not the only reason for seeking such help. We are complex beings and having a greater understanding of ‘why am I where I’m at’ or, ‘what makes me tick’ is not only beneficial for our sense of well-being but can also be very rewarding. This is especially so in respect to relationships, the primary one being with your ‘self’. Being comfortable ‘in your own skin’ enables you to relate better to partners, friends, others, work colleagues, to work and to life outside work. You will no longer seek from others what you haven’t previously been able to give yourself and, consequently, will no longer be ‘needy’. The goal of the process is to achieve self-actualisation and autonomy; to be authentic, genuine and consequently more aware of motives and intentions.

‘Counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short, or long term, to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing.’

The BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) definition of counselling and psychotherapy.

Executive coaching has similar goals but focuses more specifically on underlying factors influencing workplace issues.

Appointments can take place face to face or online via email, Skype or ProReal in a virtual world.

For more information and videos illustrating the use of the latter please see www.gtccounselling.co.uk.

For more information please contact me at gtcox@gtccoaching.co.uk.