Achieving a balance in life

Sarah El Sirgany
8 Min Read

CAIRO: Many of today’s career-minded individuals are hampered by personal problems, such as worry over their job, relationships and life choices. Most likely, they are experiencing a problem in another aspect of life that is indirectly affecting either their career or relationship.

A life coach can help you in locating the original problem. By asking the right questions, life coaches help their clients think for themselves and figure out what they want in their lives.

Unlike other therapeutic methods, life coaching focuses on goals and the client s present rather than his or her past. According to, life coaches enable the clients to uncover all their hidden abilities and motivations so they are empowered to take positive actions towards achieving their goals.

Karim El Shakankiry, founder of Yes U Can, a life coaching company operating in countries including Egypt, England, Canada and Lebanon, points to three vital questions: what do people want with their lives? What is stopping them? What are they going to do?

Thus the important question is what a person wants from life. According to El Shakankiry, 99 percent of his clients seek his help for a particular problem, but through their work together, they both discover that the real problem is something else.

El Shakankiry, who works as a one-to-one life coach and a corporate coach to groups, uses a methodology that divides life into five aspects: the material (which includes career), relationships, health, the social and the spiritual.

In my opinion, in order to be happy, you have to have a balanced life, says El Shakankiry. Since all five aspects are interrelated, if a person experiences a problem in one of them, it affects the other four aspects.

So a client might seek El Shakankiry s help in a career related problem. We discover together, through the process, that the problem is not in the career; the problem is in the social, he explains. Then they have to go back, close whatever is leaking and start to fill it up so all would be balanced.

Most of El Shakankiry s Egyptian clients seek his help for career and relationship problems. He explains that while one person s relationship problem could be reflected on his health, another person would be affected in the spiritual aspect.

But El Shakankiry doesn t have a magical wand that can make a person s dream come true or make his problems disappear, as some of the people who have sought his help thought.

The client has some work to do. A coach works with you so that you discover the questions and the answers for yourself, not just for a particular task, but also for all your life situations, reads the Web site.

A coach doesn t offer any solutions for the client, it continues. Coaches believe that clients possess all the necessary resources to do, be and have anything they want in life. While the coach s job involves asking the right questions, the client has to accept the idea of change. One of the major obstacles is social prejudice, which is a worldwide phenomenon.

This means that they have social beliefs that affect [their] thoughts and consequently [their] behavior, says El Shakankiry, explaining that people s social beliefs affect their thoughts, which affect their emotional reactions. This affects the person s actions or behavior.

El Shakankiry gives the example of some of his male clients who say they chose a certain career because of the prestige it gives them when they decide to get married.

The behavior is wrong, because the emotional reaction is wrong, because the thoughts are wrong, because the social beliefs are wrong, explains El Shakankiry. He says that a man shouldn t consider the image in which a potential wife would see him as a career goal.

He should work in the job he loves, because he is passionate about it. When he gets married he should marry someone who would fulfill his emotional needs and he would fulfill her emotional needs. This is the right pattern. But because there are wrong or negative social beliefs, all will be negative.

The decisive factor in effective life coaching is the client s level of resistance to change. In a culture where people are still reluctant to accept psychiatric or psychological help, resistance is expected to be higher. But El Shakankiry explains that this resistance is related to character rather than nationality or race. People resist change for many reasons, says El Shakankiry. It might be due to a sense of comfort in their current status, fear of success, or feeling that they are not ready yet. Also, it could simply be fear of change.

According to El Shakankiry, working with these people is ineffective, especially since some of them recognize the problem and understand it but insist on resisting.

Others, lack the know-how or the knowledge to change life patterns . They know what they want but they are stuck. Thus, El Shakankiry coaches them on how to reach their goals.

You can change anybody s beliefs but their beliefs have to be vulnerable for change. They have to want it, he says.

Also a part of El Shakankiry s job is motivation. Often enough, company owners and top management enlist his help in boosting their employees morale.

El Shakankiry notes that about 95 percent of Egyptians are stuck in jobs they don t like. He helps them understand, in their own way, why they had chosen this job; sometimes eliminating the feeling that they are stuck in this job for life helps boost morale.

If an employee who needs the money, the contacts or the experience from their current job so they can achieve their dream, then establishing their own business for example, might be more productive if they can focus on their goals.

In this case, he knows that he is not stuck or she is not stuck for the rest of their life. So they would be psychologically comfortable and can produce, adds El Shakankiry.

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