Last week when on a call with other coaches, I was reminded of a writer to whom I was introduced during my coach training. She is quoted in a couple of the ADDCA training manuals, and her name is Mandy Evans. She has written two small but powerful books: Emotional Options: A Handbook for Happiness and Traveling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs. For some reason, those were not among the many books I ordered during my training, so I am happy to have been reminded of them last week. They are now beside me on my desk. At present I am reading Emotional Options for the second time and am looking forward to reading Traveling Free.
Emotional Options is short and deceptively easy to read. I am not sure it will be easy to implement her ideas, but that may be due to my beliefs, of course. As an example of something that sounds deceptively simple, on page two we find: “If you don’t like the way you feel, deal with the feeling first.” That’s what she would like to shout to people who want to feel better and believe that feeling better can only be reached by achieving a particular goal such as making more money or finding true love. It reminds me of the title of another book, Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Marilee Adams. I wonder if Mandy Evans would go so far as to say, “Change your feelings, change your life?” That seems backwards to me, or at least it did before I began to ponder what Evans has to say.
On page three she writes: “Your emotional state will always have a profound effect on what happens next in your life. The choices you make and actions you take when you are afraid lead down a different road from the choices and actions you take when you are happy. The solutions you find to a problem when you feel guilty will not be the same ones you come up with when you feel at peace.” So, I understand her to say, deal with the feelings first, and make your decisions based on merit, not on how you think an action will make you feel.
Evans goes on to explain that how we feel is determined by our private belief systems. We each have such a system, but some of our beliefs are conscious and others are unconscious. It’s those unconscious beliefs that can really throw a monkey wrench into our lives, and we don’t know why because we aren’t aware of the underlying beliefs.
I could go on, but there is no reason to try to condense a book that is already extremely concise and readable. The rest of the book describes the Option Method and lays out a “simple, easy to follow, step-by-step way to identify, explore, and resolve the self-defeating and conflicting beliefs that keep us stuck in pain.” (p. 8) Maybe this little teaser will pique your interest in reading one or both of these books by Mandy Evans. If so, I’d love to hear your comments!