Petitioning for Success

When I have been training with Larry Gilman, one of his techniques was to get the whole room to support the person on the stage.

Larry has a knack of helping people discover latent feelings from the past. Very often these might be emotions of anger or resentment against another party; maybe someone who has since died.

He encourages them to verbalise and state their feelings in a way that they were unable to do at the time. What he then does is to get everyone in the room to shout out the same anger or abuse, so that the person being helped has a really intense experience of expressing their emotions.

I was reminded of this, recently, when reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The book is about spirituality and the example is about divorce. However, I think that the concept could be used in a coaching situation with a client with a sense that they did not deserve something – not an uncommon situation.

Elizabeth complains to her friend Iva about her husband’s inability to make a decision about their divorce.

“I don’t think I can endure another year in court. I wish I could get some divine intervention here. I wish I could write a petition to God, asking for this thing to end.”

Iva listened politely, then asked, “Where did you get the idea you aren’t allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe, Liz. You’re a constituent – you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So put your opinion out there. Make your case. believe me – it will at least be taken into consideration.”

Elizabeth then wrote her petition and read it out to Iva, and she nodded her approval.

“I would sign that,” she said.
“Now who else would sign it? she asked.
“My family. My mother and father. My sister.”

“OK,” she said. “They just did. Consider their names added. I actually felt them sign it. They’re on the list now. OK – who else would sign it? Start naming names.”
They then went through a long list, including Bill and Hilary Clinton and people from history. In each case it was clear that they would sign it, and they were deemed to have done so.

Eventually, there was such a long list of supporters that Elizabeth just had to believe that it would happen. And, in fact her phone rang soon afterwards to confirm that her husband had just signed the papers.

Whether or not you believe in the power of the universe, it seems to me that this is a pretty good way of building a case that will overcome anyone’s sense of unworthiness, or strengthen a belief in a vision. I intend to use it with some of my own goals.