Create Hypotheses for Understanding
You and your coach need to form a hypothesis regarding how an Achilles factor formed in the first place. Understanding the factor is used to help blocked clients return to their goals and move toward breakthrough High-Energy Outcomes (in SOLCOS). in discussions with her coach, Randi discovered that she was quite ambivalent about dating and about men. Her father had abandoned the family when Randi was young, and though she acted initially as if she were past that, it clearly had a profound effect on her. All through her childhood she heard her mother complain about how irresponsible her father was and how men cannot be trusted. So the Achilles factor Randi discovered was that she had this old tape in her mind replaying negative messages about her father specifically and all men by implication. Why would she want to date? It was only when she saw how this tape had made her vulnerable in the area of relationships that she could confront it, raise it to the level of consciousness, and create a plan to overcome this childhood-based obstacle.
In her yoga sessions, Valencia recalled that her father was always telling her to get married and not worry about a career. “Real women aren’t ambitious,” he used to say. Valencia’s mother was a homemaker. So, the Achilles factor Valencia discovered was that she was programmed to be a homemaker and not a successful
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businesswoman. With her public tears, she ended up indirectly finding a way to confirm her father’s belief in a woman’s role, even though she didn’t subscribe to it. It was only when she saw how powerful an influence her father’s belief was that she could focus on specific actions that would counteract it.
Monty discovered that his shame about being gay prevented him from defending himself from the bigotry he was experiencing at work. In yoga, Monty also remembered that his father had always put him down for not dating girls. No matter how physically strong he became or the fact that he had a traditional male job neither earned Monty his father’s approval. The men at work making fun of him and putting him down were replicating the messages he had received from his father and also from his church’s teachings. It was liberating for Monty to grasp why he was unable to move into a leadership position at work. Before this understanding, Monty worried that he “didn’t have what it took” to become a leader. With it, he saw how something that had happened years ago was holding him back. More importantly, he was able to form a plan to do something about it the plan dealt with the negative comments of his coworkers and provided avenues for Monty to communicate and demonstrate his leadership abilities in different ways.
Laney’s initial yoga sessions involved an investigation into negative messages from her mother regarding her worth and intelligence. She realized that not pursuing her nursing education was a passive agreement with all the negativity she received when she was young. As a result, her yoga plan focused on taking incremental steps toward her nursing degree and not allowing a negative comment from a teacher or a bad grade to throw her back into her childhood mind-set.
I’ve deliberately chosen these examples because they demonstrate how one’s family of origin strongly influences behavior later in adult life and creates Achilles factors. Be aware, though, that these factors can emerge from other experiences as well any sort of emotional or physical trauma at any age, for instance.
Now let’s talk about how these four individuals learned to test their Achilles-related hypotheses.