Father Brendan’s Mid-Week Musings | OPINION

A motivational speaker runs out on stage jumping around, shouting “I’m going to be your life coach! And my first rule is ‘You gotta be an individual!’ Do you want to be like everybody else?” The thousands in the crowd shouted back “No!” “Are you going to let other people tell you what to say and do?” “No!” the crowd joyously scream back. “So tell me, are you an individual?” The crowd shout back “Yes!” The speaker shouts again “Are you an individual?” The crowd shout back louder “Yes!” He shouts again “Let’s say it one more time! Are you an individual?”
The crowd scream back “Yes!”. Apparently after the noise died down, from out of the silence was heard a lone voice call out “I’m not!”. Hmm.

Whatever our age or stage in life, I think we all need coaching of some kind, if only for balance. Without it, we can become overwhelmed or underwhelmed, or overwhelming or underwhelming to others. Is it not true that months can pass – even years – and you don’t really need to make any major decisions; then in a couple of weeks, events good or bad happened that changed your life forever? It is in these times the advice we payed attention to and remembered serve us best. When I was a boy there were days I disliked school so much that I’d be sitting in class, or standing outside the principal’s office (falsely accused of course!) thinking something like “After school I’m never going to read or write anything ever again!”

Then, as a teenager, I listened to a tape that convinced me to study for the rest of my life; to be a student of some class until the grave. The idea is that there’s lots we don’t know in different fields but people out there who do. But we can gain their knowledge if we are willing to have the humility to sit down and listen to them.

I haven’t always stayed faithful to this practice, but when I have, I’ve been happy I have. No doubt you’ve heard the musing somewhere in your life “Those who can, do; those who can’t teach”. I have found in my life, the opposite is true – those who can, prefer to teach; and those who can’t, usually end up in a leadership position.

But I think this reality is one of the ways life balances itself out and keeps tuition fees up. In recent years I’ve had a different coach in public speaking, fitness, jogging, weightlifting, spirituality, philosophy, Greek, guitar, singing, liturgy and several other coaches in areas I am probably too embarrassed to admit to.

You can have too many coaches, but fortunately many good coaches are out there. Unfortunately, many coaches live by the Joker’s advice “If you’re good at something never do it for free” and the fees are going to hurt, but I guess even coaches have to eat.   

I think the most important area of our life is our spirituality; your soul – that thinking thing in my head, in my heart, in my body, that I call “me”.

Our soul is what makes us who we are and how we react and perceive the world around us. It is the internal light that becomes evident in what we do for others. It’s fantastic to look after the exterior with healthy eating, pumping weights, looking healthy and can often help with uplifting your mood. However, if this is our only focus we can become arrogant and self-centred from our coaching.

All the world’s major religions make some reference to Jesus. I know you’re going to say I’m biased, but even if you’re not religious, I think Jesus makes for a good spirituality coach. His very personal training is as close as the internet or a quiet room, and thankfully comes without tuition fees too.

FATHER BRENDAN LEE, Twitter: @frbrendanelee