Getting to the root of the problem.

“What is a weed?  I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions. 

For me, a weed is a plant out of place.”  

~Donald Culross Peattie

Weeding reminds me of coaching and therapy.

People often develop coping skills or establish habits that outlive their purpose and become entrenched or “root bound” in their lives. These old patterns can often create more problems than they solve. Resolving them is possible.

Take an inventory:

  • Are there habits that you know you would be healthier without?
  • Do you turn on tv and watch even though there are other things you want to do?
  • Do you have a pattern in responding to those close to you that you’d like to change?
  • Do you give a long-winded explanation to justify behaviors?
  • Do you become defensive with a simple question?
Pick a “weed” you’d like to get rid of. 
Start with something small, like a habit you don’t care for and begin to “pull it” out of your life.
With some plants pulling a weed is a simple task. The whole plant, including the root, pulls right out of the ground. The situation or environment plays a large role. If the ground is slightly damp success is much more likely.If it is very dry or very wet the task will be much more difficult. If you have a plant that’s been around awhile, chances are it’s going to be hard to pull out until you loosen up the soil or environment around it!The same is true for our personal plants or weeds. The ground is similar to our environment, our attitudes, our support system. The more willing and open we are to change, the better our support system, the clearer our plan, the “looser” the soil is.

Some plants have great seeding systems—so the earlier you get it out of the ground the better.

With other plants the root system is well established and other plants sprout from that system. If you don’t get the entire system it continues to grow and spread. Some of these plants also have great seeding mechanisms. These plants require more time, patience, skills and tools to extract.

Some of us have habits or issues that are much like these plants. Our tendency to speak out inappropriately, angrily or with unkind or inopportune comments is usually something we develop young.

The roots run deep. Our “system” of communicating in all areas of our lives, professional, personal, in intimate relationships and with everyone we meet is affected by that one “weed.”  From our thoughtless comments spring attitudes, feelings and other issues.

What will you put back in this area? Be prepared to plant once you weed.

You can’t remove weeds from a garden without putting something back. If you do, you’ll just get more weeds. Planting flowers or vegetables ensures that the weeds don’t overrun your garden! There will still be weeds, but only when you look close.

When you have a garden the produce is what is eventually most prominent. And if you weed daily, tending to bad habits or unproductive thoughts as they come up, then eventually your garden will be practically weed free and all you see is the product of your hard work!

Coaching is like pulling undesirable plants that need to come out, and that don’t require as much time and effort. Therapy is like weeding an overgrown garden where there is so much to work with it’s hard for one person to tackle alone.

In coaching, the root system of our concerns are not entrenched, and so issues haven’t seriously spread into many other areas. A coach is like having someone helping you plan your garden.

You won’t need them forever, but their help in getting started always makes starting so much easier. A therapist helps you weed the garden, helping you identify what plants you want to keep, what you want to remove. A therapist also helps you see how the garden got the way it did, and the relation of each of the plants to each other.

No matter how you get to the root of the problem, alone, with a coach or a therapist, or even a trusted friend, until you get to the root of the issues they’ll keep showing up.


Life is all about transitions. We often refer to our transitions as “change.” Change can feel or seem negative — divorce, the suicide of a loved one, health issues, cancer, death of a family member, a pet, a friend. Losing a job, re-entering the work force or dealing with co-workers or bosses who are bullies are all very stressful events that many of us experience. We fear changes because no one ever taught us how to transition through them gracefully, successfully and with the least amount of stress. Most of do get through life’s transitions eventually. Some people rely on friends or even the internet for help. Others go to their doctors or a spiritual figure in their lives. If you’d like to get through your transitions faster, learn better coping skills, understand the process of change, or just talk, a professional can help. Call me.

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