Posted by: lornasass | December 15, 2011


Photo by Lorna Sass

The other day a client came to the coaching call breathless, announcing:  “I’m drowning in work.”

“You’re drowning in work,” I reflected back.

There was a long silence.

Then she said, “Wow, what am I telling myself?  I know that the words I say become my reality.”

She then listed a few more favorite phrases that she often said:

“I’m swamped.”

“I’m deluged with e-mails.”

“I’m always trying to keep my head above water.”

Curious, all these watery images…and familiar statements that I’d often heard passing through my own lips.  The cautionary Sondheim lyric: “Careful the things you say, children will listen…” floated through my mind.

One of the many aspects of coaching I find so rewarding is that I get frequent reminders to examine my own “stuff.”  The moment my client had spoken, I recognized that I often used the “swamped,” “deluged,” and “drowning” metaphors in my own life.  But how could I be drowning on the 7th floor in the middle of Manhattan?  And there’s no water to keep my head above except in the bath tub.  No worries there!

So what can I say to myself that is really true?  What is a water image that will create the kind of ease-full days I want to live?

Here’s what I came up with: Whenever I notice that I’m in fast-forward, swimming against the tide, or otherwise struggling to stay afloat, I’m going to stop, put my hand over my heart, and take some deep breaths.

Then I’m going to imagine myself floating in a warm ocean, saying:   “The water supports me as I flow through my days.”

How about you, dear reader?  What  words will become your life? 



  1. This is very beautiful and aquatic too! I remember the sentence a friend once said to me, “You know, your ears hear the stuff your mouth says.” Thank you for reminding us in such a buoyant way.

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