There are times when we have mountain top experiences and other times our experiences are akin to being in the valley. There is no other way to express these two contrasting ways of feeling. When we are on the mountain top, the experience can be exhilarating, life is at its best. But when we are in the valley the mood can be low and at times even depressing. There is emptiness, dryness, and a sense of deep need. The thrill of the mountain and the emptiness of the valley can call forth emotions that are difficult to verbalise. Have you ever tried telling someone what it feels like to be happy or what it feels like to be sad. Words are meaningless, when it comes to describing emotions.
Yet there is something to learn from both types of experiences. As a coach I would argue that in the mountain top experience we must learn how to share and how to be inclusive. We don’t forget those who have been kind to us neither do we walk away from those who are in the valley. When we are in the valley we need to learn the skill of survival and think of ways to climb out. It is at times like these that we can turn to people with whom we have a close connection. I borrow a quote from Theophrastus who said that “True friends visit us in prosperity only when invited, but in adversity they come without invitation”. We need to build friendships that will be meaningful not only when we are on the mountain, but also when we are in the valley.
My job as a life coach is to work with my coachees to build meaningful connections in four directions.
- Connect with the universe of which they are a part. When we are on the mountain we do not own it, we are merely a tiny part of it.
- Connect with the inner self, which makes for resourcefulness during the mountain and valley type experiences.
- Connect with family and friends; these are the people who provide social support through the good and the bad times.
- Connect with the community – there is the realisation that no man is an island, we all occupies a small space and we all need to make a contribution to our surroundings.
- Giving to others even when we are at our lowest ebb can help to lift us out of the valley.