When I teach or mentor new coaches, I talk about four levels of coaching—four levels from which we can approach whatever the client brings to us for the session. Life has the same four levels, if we look at it in really simple and straightforward terms.

The surface level is the “drama”—the “he said, she said, then this happened, and then she said, and then he said” level. It’s so easy to get caught up in that level and start reacting to the drama around us. Think about when you have gotten caught in the drama level recently. It happens to all of us—you aren’t alone!

The next level down is the “situation” level—what’s really going on, what really happened or is happening, who’s responsible for it or who’s fault is it, and what do we do about it? For example, perhaps at work there was a breakdown on a project that caused a huge blowup in the team and everyone has taken sides and is pointing fingers. Who is to blame and what do we do about it? You could also call this the “just fix it” level.

The third level down is the “choice” level. At this level you ask “Who am I within this situation?” What’s your role in how the situation came to be, what’s happening now, and where it will go from here? Who do you choose to be in relationship to this situation? There is very little in our culture that supports dropping down to this level. As a culture we unfortunately default to the “drama” or “fix it” level. We are well trained to be problem solvers, look for who or what to blame, and stay at the second level. Here at the choice level, you realize that, although you may not be able to change the circumstances or situation right away, you can at least choose who you will be within the situation. And that’s a huge step beyond where most people go. Now you are claiming your responsibility and choice in the matter and starting to create something new.

Finally, there is the fourth level, the deepest level, the one that we rarely get to in our culture. This is the “opportunity” level. When we drop down to this level, our first question is “what’s the opportunity here?” or “what wants to happen?” Here’s where the true power lies. Here’s where the gold is. This situation has happened for some reason. It wants to tell you something—to help you clearly recognize something that is not working or wants to change or to heal. It wants you to pay attention—to recognize or learn something so that a similar situation doesn’t have to happen again, and even more importantly, so that everyone involved grows and moves forward. Approaching life from the opportunity level cuts to the chase. It gets right to what is out of alignment very quickly and brings things into alignment so that synergy and synchronicity can occur. Asking “What wants to happen?” opens you to much greater awareness and gives you access to much greater insight and information than just fixing it as fast as you can, and certainly brings much greater awareness than you find while reacting at the drama level!

Learning to live at the opportunity level starts with being focused and disciplined enough to step beyond the drama, and then being courageous enough to say there’s more to life and leadership than solving problems. It starts with being bold enough to choose who you will be within situations, what relationship you will have to circumstances, and to make a habit of asking that question, “What’s the opportunity here?” for everyone involved.

Living at the opportunity level engages your soul. It gives you the space to get in touch with your soul mission, your life purpose, and then listen to that mission for how it wants to be lived through this situation or circumstance. At this fourth level, you are able to recognize all the parts of your life—work, relationships, family, friends—as vehicles for living your soul mission. If you try to figure out how to fit your soul into your life, it will never happen. Yet when you commit to living a life that is grounded in your soul and soul mission—to all of life offering opportunities for living deeper and truer to who you really are—things start to change. Your life takes on much greater meaning and you greet each morning with excitement for what you get to create that day. I invite you to make the opportunity level your home—to make “What wants to happen here?” your default approach no matter what. I invite you to live from this much deeper awareness. Can you make this shift over night? Probably not. Can it happen in a few weeks? With focused awareness and attention, you can definitely see change within a matter of weeks. And you will recognize that this change is only the beginning—that living from soul is a lifetime journey of opportunity, growth, adventure, new experiences—it’s about truly being a master at the art of living.

In summary, there are two truly essential keys to getting on the fast track for transformation and growth, leading a rewarding and fulfilling life, and making a significant contribution to the world:

1. Engaging your soul and soul mission in ongoing conversation, following its lead, and creating the life it calls you to live.
2. Making your first questions in any situation or moment, “What wants to happen? What’s the opportunity here?” and then responding accordingly.

Easy concepts to grasp, perhaps. Yet I learned a long time ago that while these concepts are simple and straightforward, living the concepts can be challenging. It’s through meeting your challenges as opportunities, however, that you discover who you really are, recognize the difference you are here to make in the world, and actually do it.

Michelangelo said that the greatest danger for most of us is not that we’ll aim too high and not make it, but that we will aim too low and we will make it. The soul doesn’t engage when the bar for life is too low. The soul yearns for growth, adventure, new learning, and giving back to the world. It thrives when you align your life with the greater universal evolutionary flow and respond to what wants to happen as a way of life. Start living on the fourth level of opportunity and watch your life transform.

Author's Bio: 

Alan Seale is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, leadership and transformation coach, and spiritual mentor. He coaches leaders to live and work from a greatly expanded personal consciousness and a high level of self-awareness, to facilitate transformation, and to realize their personal and leadership potential. He lives his soul mission - to "liberate and empower", and feels privileged to help others discover and live their soul's mission, develop their intuitive abilities for success, and become dynamic and effective leaders in both their personal and professional lives. The essence of Alan's work is re-awakening soul awareness in our culture, initiating and inspiring soul-informed conversation, and igniting new paradigms of leading and living informed by authentic soul expression and connection.

Alan's books include Soul Mission * Life Vision, Intuitive Living and The Manifestation Wheel. He maintains a full workshop schedule throughout North America, Scandinavia and Europe, and currently serves on the faculties of several prominent learning institutions.

You can find out more about Alan's work at his website, alanseale.com