Ontological coaching focuses heavily on distinctions between moods. According to this approach, which is based on the thought leadership of Julio Olalla and Rafael Echeverria at Newfield Network, our moods are like a body of water, and our emotions are like the waves that ride its surface. Deep-seeded and not easily shifted, moods impact the way we experience the world. Therefore, it’s worth understanding our underlying mood as a basis for change by asking the 3 basic questions below.
What is my current mood?
Ontological coaching identifies four distinct moods with the following chart:
|What is||What’s possible|
The first question to ask yourself – am I rooted in what is today, the facts in front of me? Or am I focused on what’s possible? Most people have experienced both, and assessing where you fall right now is a valuable exercise (for myself, I am strongly oriented to future possibilities, which makes sense given that I’m building a business).
Next, ask, do I oppose my orientation, whether today or in the future, or do I accept it? How you answer this question could land you in radically different places. I vacillate between opposing – self-talk that I don’t have what it takes to build a business – and accepting, belief that I can and should go for it. The former puts me in a mood of “resignation”, where I convince myself that I’m as big as I’ll ever grow. The latter mood of “enthusiasm” is the space where I believe in myself enough to try new things.
Does this mood serve my goals?
Once you have identified your mood, you can start to assess if it advances your goals. When building a business, enthusiasm is the mood that best serves the goal because it creates the possibility to ideate and experiment. Conversely, when it comes to something I can’t control, truly understanding that I must simply accept, rather than resent, is far more productive than opposing a reality I don’t govern. I spent many years in resentment before I understood that framing this mood through the lens of shifting from opposing to accepting, as hard as that change was, would ultimately help me achieve my goals.
What do I need to do to shift this mood?
This is the million dollar question. We cannot change what we don’t know, but awareness doesn’t make transformation easy. For many of my clients, a variety of modalities support deep shifts, including understanding the stories we tell ourselves, confronting deep-seeded feelings and using mindfulness or other mind-training techniques. It’s hard work, but also critically important. Without examining and shifting my own mood from resignation to enthusiasm, I would never have started a company, and I have many clients who have made similar changes.
Reflect on your mood using these three questions next time you’re feeling stuck, facing a challenge or working towards a goal. The answers may hold the keys to unlocking positive change and advancing your ambitions.