“The past does not equal the future. Unless you live there. ” Anthony Robbins.
It seems inevitable that I have to address the amusing result of the EU Referendum this week, from a coaching perspective. I say amusing not because of the result itself, but because of the inevitable Facebook furore that followed.
For those in a hole in the middle of Siberia, the British electorate decided by a narrow majority that we should leave the European Union. The politics, the efficacy of the ‘simple majority’ rule and its consequences when a narrow majority swings it, and so on, are arguments for others. But from a coaching perspective, “things look different here”. (Jeff Lynne, Mission of the Sacred Heart. ‘A New World Record’, side 1 track 4.)
A decision was made, one with which some disagree.
I can understand the dismay felt by some of those on the ‘losing’ side. But what I found more dismaying was the response of some. The FIRST Facebook post I saw called me and 16million plus other people ‘cretins’. The poster has met me so perhaps in my regard he was well informed, but I’m guessing he’s not met more than a relative few of the other 15,999,999 plus. So that’s a bit of a sweeping statement, particularly when so many are far more intelligent than either of us.
Next, a professional coach of my acquaintance circulated a post saying people were ‘bewildered, angry, etc. etc.’ about the vote.
I suggested to him without being too specific about his profession (politely, and he changed headline of the post), that the job of a coach is to help people address the gap between what happens to them, and what they do about it. To choose productivity and positivity in their response to ‘not winning’ instead of exhibiting ‘bewilderment, fear and anger’; all of which very negative and are rarely beneficial emotional responses to any event.
And finally, in response to the umpteen, presumably anti-democracy petitioners demanding a second referendum, I posted that I’d sign their petition if they signed mine about declaring Didier Drogba offside in the match against Manchester United during the latter part of the 2009-10 season, thereby changing the result to a draw, thus docking Chelsea 2 points and giving United one more, in turn rightfully making United champions instead of Chelsea.
Ultimately, history happens. Unlike the future, the past is set in concrete. You can try to change it, you can pretend it didn’t happen – or you can learn from it and do something productive about it which, of the three responses, is the only one that will work. It does not involve blanket insult-bombing. It does involve making a plan that is in keeping with your values, and sticking to its execution.
So stop promoting doom and gloom, and stop insulting me (and others) purely on the basis that they don’t agree with you. When you do that you authorise me to do the same. In this case, as usual, I won’t. I respect your right to disagree but not to insult me or my friends, even if you are one of those friends.