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Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

You Can’t Be What You Can’t See

“You can’t be what you can’t see”

This was the message from Nusraat Massod, who is an engineering professor at the University of Manitoba. She was one of the speakers at Tedx Manitoba on June 6. Nusratt is part of a science and engineering outreach group that sees 30,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12 throughout the school year. They travel around the province, north, south, east, west, inner-city, and First Nations reserves to help kids SEE what they can BE.

By exposing kids to the possibilities of jobs that have never occurred to them, these kids can begin to dream of being something beyond what is currently in their field of view. One story Nusraat shared was about an informal survey an inner-city principal did with some her students. She simply asked a group of them what kinds of jobs they knew of that they could do when they grew up. The list was short; police officer, nurse, social worker, teacher, and prostitute.

In the twenty years I worked with youth at risk, my personal mission within the framework of my job was to help the kids SEE a different possibility for themselves. For the majority of them, their reference point for living included poverty, crime, fighting, arguing, depression, suicide, drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse. Until they saw what could be, their lives simply would not change. I helped them see and experience fun, healthy relationships, team work, trust, happiness, peace, and value. I know for many of them this created the hope and the vision that allowed them to aspire to a different life than what they had seen up until that point.

Now with life coaching I am working with a completely different population (mid-life adults). But I am realizing that this concept of “You Can’t BE What You Can’t SEE” applies everywhere. I have been working with a client for over a year. Lots of amazing changes have happened for him in that time in his work life, in how he spends his free time, in his life perspective and overall he is simply more satisfied. The one area that he still wants to make changes is in his relationship status. Currently single, he wants to have a life partner. He has wanted this for a while but it’s just not happening. In the course of our sessions, he has not been able to create the vision of what this relationship would look like. He also does not see a relationship around him in his circle of friends that he would want. I believe that he needs to see a relationship that he believes would work for him, and until that happens he will not be in that kind of relationship. So in addition to seeing what he wants, he needs to believe it is possible for him. His current assignment is to intentionally and consciously look for evidence of healthy, satisfying relationships.

It comes down to this then; Change and growth starts with a vision.

  •     See happy if you want to be happy.
  •     Envision peace if you want to be peaceful.
  •     See people living with purpose if you want to be a person living with purpose.
  •     Look for connection if you want to be connected.
  •     See love if you want to be love.
  •     Watch for play opportunities if you want to be playful.


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