The coach’s alphabet is a tool I use to help my clients reflect upon their values in different ways to expand perspective and increase possibilities. This VARIETY is important because thoughts follow actions and actions lead to accomplishments. If our thoughts are limited, redundant and stale then our actions will be deficient, repetitive and tedious…as a result, our accomplishments will seem insignificant and uninspired.
I believe it was the 18th century English poet William Cowper who originally coined the phrase, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” Ironically, the definition and application of variety in many of our day-to-day lives is quite restrictive. We tend to seek variety outside of ourselves such as in recreational activities, forms of entertainment and types of food. Embracing diversity in these areas is very important as they stimulate the senses, make life interesting and expose us to new experiences. But, what about the variety that exists within? About the different personalities and perspectives we all contain that come out to play at different times in different contexts – sometimes for our benefit and sometimes to our detriment.
As any and every online dating profile will illustrate, sometimes we like to get dressed up and go out on the town for a gourmet meal and great wine and other times we are happy sitting at home on the couch watching a movie, eating take-out and snacking on ice cream directly out of the container. There are weekends where we engage in some outdoor activity that requires physical exertion and others we spend sitting on the sand with a good “bad” book. On occasion we generously allow the confused driver in the next lane to move in front of us and others when we step on the accelerator not willing to surrender our advantage on life’s asphalt highway. And then there are those moments where we remain cool, calm and collected in stressful situations where other times we completely “lose it.”
Human beings have a variety of moods and modes and it is important we learn to recognize and relate to them, not for the sake of controlling them (for that is a futile effort), but for the opportunity to collaborate with them. We are emotional creatures, motivated by the avoidance of pain as well as the pursuit of passion. We desire things that naturally exist in opposition such as stability and adventure, partnership and independence, and thin mints and a thin waist. Our intrinsic variety gives us much of our flavor and yet many of us don’t know how to integrate our inherent spiciness and as a result are unconsciously settling for a life that is bland.
Constancy, consistency, obligation, routine, reliability and stability are necessary ingredients to a satisfying life, but they don’t have to come at the sacrifice of taking bold steps, diving in, leaping off and reflecting deeply…all options available to those of you who are open to savoring the variety of perspectives and possibilities that life has to offer you and you have to offer life.