set out on
The story is told...
Phaethon grew up in the court of King Merops of Ethiopa. He was the son of the nymph Clymene, who told him that his father was Helios, the sun. Phaethon loved boasting about this, which irritated even his friends to the point that they insisted on proof. So Phaethon journeyed to his father's palace, arriving just before his father was to set on his daily journey. Helios was glad to see his son and swore on the underworld river Styx that he would give him the proof he needed - an irrecoverable oath. When Phaethon insisted on driving his father's chariot that very day, however, Helios begged Phaethon to reconsider, pointing out that that he only, of all mortals and gods, could control the four fiery horses pulling the chariot.
Phaethon refused to budge.
At first Phaethon seemed to heed his father's warnings never to veer from course, but his need to prove himself made him swerve so low over Ethiopia that trees were shrivelled, plants were scorched and rivers dried up. Fires were raging, people and animals died and crops were ruined. By this time Phaethon had lost control of the horses which then rode so high above the earth that plants, animals and people were instantly frozen to death.
Zeus, king of the gods, heard the cries of despair and smote Phaethon with his thunderbolt. Phaethon's charred body was thrown from the carriage, but lasting damage had been done. Huge swathes of North Africa had been turned to desert and the poles were frozen over.
Like Phaethon, we journey. We set out to prove ourselves, taking with us all our baggage - our anger at our circumstances or the way people have treated us, our arrogance, our pride or our obstinacy, and much more. Very often we have very little control over our emotions, which are like the strong-willed horses in the story, and given to reactive behaviour patterns. Venturing out like this can be perilous, and that is where coaching comes in. A good coach will not journey FOR us (indeed cannot do so) but can journey WITH us, interrogating us about our purpose and our intended actions. In answering these questions we learn to discriminate, differentiate and discern the truth about ourselves and our chosen path - and thus avoid making mistakes that will affect not only ourselves but also those around us and our environment - sometimes disastrously and permanently.
A coach can help us go from where we are to where we want to be, and grow in self-awareness, self-confidence and self-control. A happy ending is possible.
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