• Jen Knight

Expat Coach Takeaways from Dan Millman's Book The Hidden School

When I was sixteen years old I started taking an intense interest in questions of life and death, of spirituality and science. Naturally I turned to books for insight.

One of the first books I read that had a profound impact on me was Dan Millman's The Peaceful Warrior. I have read the novel countless times over the years, as well as many of Millman's other books.

Somehow I missed the release of his most recent book The Hidden School, so I picked it up a few weeks ago and devoured it in a day. I found a lot of things discussed in the book aligned well with my coaching philosophies, and I wanted to share two of them with you.

Awareness of our thoughts is key

In the book...

Dan finds himself in a difficult situation and notices self-defeating and hopeless thoughts rising to the surface to assail him. Then he remembers the words of his mentor, "You can't control random thoughts, and you don't need to. Let 'em have their moment, then turn your attention to something worthwhile - like what you're gonna do next." (p. 51)

Later, while camping in the desert, Dan has many fearful thoughts about the animals that could attack him in the night. He realizes, "Maybe it's not the creatures that are frightening me, but my thoughts about them." (p. 71)

In coaching...

When I work with my clients, the first thing we do is look at the thoughts they are thinking. A lot of times they are overthinking, worrying, or feeling overwhelmed by their thoughts. We begin by separating the facts of the situation from their thoughts about them.

Dan was able to see the animals in the night as neutral circumstances, and recognize it was his thoughts that were causing his fear. In the same way I help my clients see that it is their thoughts that are causing them worry and overwhelm, not any particular thing or circumstance.

From there we are able to let the unhelpful ones go, and find new thoughts that will propel them forward. I love to ask: "If you weren't stuck in overwhelm and worry, what would you be doing instead?" This often reveals deeper desires and the path ahead.

Embrace the present, everyday moments

In the book...

Dan talks at different points about staying grounded even as he seeks to elevate his state of mind and awareness. He writes, "If you can't find peace here in daily life, you won't find it elsewhere...even in moments of elevated awareness, you'll need to take out the trash and do the laundry." (p. 211)

Throughout his books, there is a theme of embracing the present, and he says many times that there are no ordinary moments, that the only laws of life are paradox, humor, and change.

In coaching...

Many of my clients come to me with specific goals in mind. We carefully unpack their why, or reason for wanting to reach the goal. A lot of times they think that if only they can get "there," then they will feel successful, or confident, or happy.

I teach them that those positive emotions are available to them now, and we work together to practice accessing them on the path to what they want. In that way they can look to the future, and enjoy the ride there.

As my master coach Brooke Castillo says, "You can't hate yourself thin."

I am here for you ♡

Nobody understands better than I do the highs and lows of expat life. In just one free session with me we will get clear about what you really want, determine what is holding you back, and identify powerful actions you can take to create your best life abroad. Let's do it!

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About me

Hi, I'm Jen! I am a US expat and have lived abroad for six years, first in Shanghai and now in beautiful Thailand.

I always strive to learn, grow, and be the best version of myself, and I'm so grateful I get to spend my days working with amazing expat women like you:

Women who are smart and want to reach their goals, but need help overcoming stress, overwhelm, and other obstacles so they can create their best lives abroad.

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