Living the Masteries

Living the Masteries is a regular column where we invite coaches to share their experiences of Living the Masteries in their everyday lives. As we become aware of the Masteries and really understand and use them, we realise just how powerful they are and how, used effectively, they can truly make a lasting difference to the world.

This month Alison Davis uses Mastery #9: Helping the Client Create and Use Supportive Systems and Structures to help her stay on track and make her New Year vision real.

Every year in January, I take time to create a clear vision for the brand new year ahead. I catch up with who I’ve become and then I clarify how to update my life. I decide what I want to achieve and how I want to feel, and I make choices which realign my life with my values and take into account my new needs and priorities.

Past experience tells me that my goals must light me up, inspire and excite me. When I am sure they are right, I go deeper to explore how I feel about the changes that I say I want to make. The feelings and any inner conflicts that come to light will enable me to decide on Supportive Systems and Structures to help me to stay on track. These are vitally important if I want to feel confident and secure as I move forward. They will help me to take responsibility for my part in making my vision real and address the vital issue of sustainability. If I do this, I won’t have to rely solely on my own willpower to be successful.

Systems and structures can be activities, ways of doing things or even beliefs that will help me achieve my goals. I will design systems to fit my goals, as well as my values and needs. My values are the signposts I will need to follow in order to feel positive. My needs are the actions that I must take, which relate to my values and keep me aligned. I make sure these systems are supportive and complementary to my goals as well as life enhancing for me. I know that I will feel a sense of relief once these systems are in place.

I know from past experience that it will not be easy to make the changes I need to make on my own. So some of the first questions I ask myself are: Where will I find support to change? Who can be a resource as I identify the changes I need to make and prepare to make them? Who do I want on my side? I define the coaching support I will need to help me through the year. The support I use must truly appeal to me. Engaging with this support will need to energise me and also be something of a challenge!

I consider my beliefs, especially those about who I am. "Catching up with who I’ve become" is a vital first step as outdated beliefs won’t fit into my new vision. I may need to modify my beliefs about myself in order to get new results. I take a look at my patterns of behaviour. Which are the ones that no longer serve me? Which ones will support me in making empowering choices? Which friends might I need to avoid? Which ones could I enlist support from? What requests might I need to make of other people in my life and what boundaries will I have to set? I consider my emotions and I face the fears that could block me.

Another way I support myself to be successful is that I get more information about the changes I intend to make. I read books, explore the Internet for information and talk to other people. All this helps me understand what is required and contributes to my success. Part of my vision this year is to restore a new home. So I need to source and buy equipment for my new kitchen and bathroom. Through the Internet, I’ve found a really helpful salesperson in a specialised store who has already been an amazing resource and support.

I use positive affirmations to support and encourage me and I place them in prominent places in my environment. I love working with environments and I always ask myself: How can I change my environment to support my new goal? One year I joined a dance class to support my goals of getting fitter and having fun. Environments can be physical, organisational, emotional, cultural, spiritual or even mental, such as a new mindset. As I take a look at my current environments and systems, I make sure they are aligned with my values and I upgrade them where necessary so that they support my forward momentum.

I know it is important to celebrate my successes along the way. This is not something that comes naturally to me so I create space for it. Before I go to sleep, I journal for a few minutes in my Accomplishments Journal. Journaling helps me to clarify and record my successes, and I love the way being able to look back later and review the positive side of my journey sustains me. So I ask myself: What progress did I make today? What am I proud of? What do I want to celebrate? What do I appreciate about myself? How might I reward myself?

I may need to gather equipment and supplies for my vision. I gather pictures and photos to illustrate and support my big picture vision. When I have all that I need, I call on my creative spirit to design a vision board. I will need to love the result so I take my time. When I’m happy with this inspiring illustration of my goals, I photograph it and upload it to my computer and then use it as my screen saver for the year! This helps me to fix my inspiring vision on my brain and makes it more exciting. When I look at my photo one last time at the end of the year, miraculously, I usually find it is a clear picture of how my life has become!

This will be the final post in this series. Thank you to Alison Davis and all of the contributors who took us on this fascinating journey. You can review the previous articles in the Living the Masteries series on the IAC VOICE blog.


Alison Davis, IAC-CC, is a certifying examiner at the IAC, coach, mentor coach and founder of the IAC–licensed virtual coaching school Foundations for Living. Discover more at and

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