I’ve recently re-read a little book ‘Who moved my cheese?’; let me share a morsel or two from it…..
It’s a parable – a story that relates and brings meaning to another part of life. Jesus was a good story teller who used parables to good effect, such as the Lost Coin or the Prodigal Son.
‘Who Moved My Cheese’ is about four characters who live in a maze and daily look for cheese to nourish them. The characters are Sniff and Scurry two mice-like creatures who sniff out change early and scurry into action; and Hem and Haw, little people, who deny and resist change. The story follows Haw and the lessons he learns when he comes to terms with the fact that the cheese is gone and action is required. ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ is ultimately about change and how different people react to or embrace change.
I’m not going to summarise the entire story, but rather pick out the lessons that resonated with me. If you want to know the whole story buy the book*; it is worth the money and the time (about an hour) it takes to read it!
- Haw learned to laugh at himself.We can only laugh at ourselves when we’re being objective. Objectivity requires ‘out of the box thinking’ giving us a different perspective. For some of us this comes naturally, for others it’s something we must learn! Laughter has been shown to decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. It also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals which promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.Learning to laugh at ourselves is a lesson well learnt!
- Imagining what he hoped to find helped Haw overcome his fears. He imagined life without his fears. Fear of the unknown keeps us in our comfort zones. Fear immobilises and robs us of so much pleasure and enjoyment of life, as Hem experienced. Haw learnt that the more he imagined finding new cheese the more convinced he became of finding it. He took his eye off the fear anf focussed on the future possibilities!
- Haw learned that taking action and taking control brought freedom, giving him the motivation and strength to continue the search for more cheese.
- When Haw looked back he recognised that there had been signs that change was happening. He realised that he could have chosen to read the signs, but didn’t. When the day came when no cheese appeared powerful and destructive forces such as anger, resentment, fear and disillusionment set in.
- Change is part of everyday life. It’s best to be ready for it, be equipped for it, adapt to it and enjoy it.
- Oh, and be ready to repeat the process all over again, time and time again! Haw never again put his running shoes in the cupboard but tied their laces together and hung them round his neck, just like Sniff and Scurry!
What’s this story got to do with coaching?
Coaching is about moving from where you are now to where you want to be. Often the first step is knowing where you want to be – for Haw this was the next cheese station. Coaching can help you work out the big picture but also where the next station is.
Haw learned to take things from his past that would help him embark on the journey to reach his goal. A coach would help you realise and tap into your strengths and successes. Generally, people working with a coach achieve their ambitions quicker and more efficiently than if they were ‘going it alone’.
Another powerful role the coach would fulfil is as a cheerleader, the one to encourage along the way and help the celebrations of success. Haw often thought of his friend Hem, his journey often felt like a lonesome journey, with a coach there is always company on the journey!
Are you feeling:
- The cheese has run out? The sparkle in your life, the things you once pursued or the things you enjoyed no longer hold the attraction?
- The uncomfortableness of comfort zone?
- Out of control in times of change?
- Fearful of the prospect of yet more change?
- The loneliness of the journey?
Do consider letting me be your coach! Coaching can make all the difference! I love helping people or groups move from where they are now to where they want to be. Take a look at the testimonials on here and see what other people have found.
*‘Who Moved My Cheese’ Spencer Johnson ISBN0091816971
Photo taken at and used with the permission of The Courtyard Dairy, Settle North Yorkshire. A wonderful place for cheese lovers!