• Ariana Friedlander

Just because you can doesn't mean you should

Among the myriad of doctor's appointments I've had in the last 7 months, I consulted a plastic surgeon about breast reconstruction.


As he described the different options for reconstruction, a part of me was fascinated by the advancements in modern medicine in this area. It is amazing that doctors can build a fake boob out of someone's body fat. Hearing him describe the process was riveting.


But I left the appointment scratching my head thinking, just because they can do reconstruction like this doesn't mean I should.


Doing so would subject my body to countless additional surgeries and significantly more risks for serious complications (all in the name of looking good in a bathing suit). So I really had to look past his alluring pitch - you can get a tummy tuck and a new boob at the same time. And consider what aligns with my values.


Modern medicine is amazing and undoubtedly, I would have died at 18 months old if it wasn't for advancements in medical care. But it also comes at a cost beyond monetary. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should utilize all medical advancements out there.


This kind of conundrum exists beyond the world of medicine. In the last few months I've come face-to-face with the toxicity present in the coaching industry. I hired a coach who made promises she didn't deliver on and when I voiced my concerns she manipulated, and gaslit me.


Sadly, the tactics she used are common practice. There are countless coaches out there who are fantastic at marketing. Coaches who use manipulation to sale you in the name of offering transformational experiences. And when they don't actually deliver, they gaslight you after you express your frustrations by saying "you have a mindset problem" or "you just need to trust the process"!


In these instances, the ends don't justify the means. Toxic, dehumanizing and shaming behavior in the name of helping others is not ok.


But more and more coaches are using these tactics because "they work." People are getting rich off these schemes. And sadly, because the coaching industry isn't regulated like therapy (not sure I'm advocating for universal regulatory oversight but it is a fact), there's no recourse for clients who suffer from such abusive behavior. In fact, the onus for receiving quality coaching is on the client to evaluate and consider their provider carefully and consciously - while also being committed to actually doing the work themselves.


As I work diligently to develop new offerings and grow my business, I have to be mindful of whom I tap to help myself. There's a fine line between pushing myself out of my comfort zone to grow and stepping out of integrity with my values. Just because I could hire a coach to teach me how to do all the toxic, manipulative practices for building my business, doesn't mean I should. And I commit to you all, here and now, not to be lured into these approaches.


There are many more coaches out there who will assert that these manipulative and toxic tactics must be followed in order to succeed. And they will make excuses for their behavior - it's just part of being in business.


It is so much harder to find people who have succeeded while staying in alignment with their espoused values. But that doesn't mean you should settle for less.


We all make mistakes. We miss the early warning signs. We ignore our intuition. We succumb to the pressure to be like others. We do things that aren't in our best interest because we can. We try to bypass hard work with sneaky tactics to get results more quickly.


And then we come home to ourselves. We own our follies while forgiving ourselves for our misdeeds. We make amends. We heal. And the next time we remember, just because we can, doesn't mean we should.


I might have fallen prey to a toxic coach's pitch this time, but that doesn't mean I need to be like her! And my recent experience with cancer shows me I have the awareness and tenacity to stay in alignment with my values, even if it means making difficult sacrifices.

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