Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. This is Kim Ades. I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we welcome leaders from all over the world to come onto the show and get coached live and in person.
But today I have a special guest. It's my daughter, her name is Ferne Kotlyar and we are coming together for a special episode, where she provides me with a special case that I think about, analyze, ask a bunch of questions and provide some coaching for.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:37]
Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. Are you ready for your case today? I'm ready.
Kim Ades: [00:00:43]
What do you got? And by the way, just so-- for those of you who are listening. I don't know what she's going to throw at me. We don't rehearse this in advance. She doesn't ask me about it ahead of time, whatever she throws at me, it's the first time I hear it, just like you. So go for it.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:59]
All right. Here it goes. So today we're going to talk about a man named Simon. So, Simon's in his mid fifties, he is what we would say-- as we would call him doing pretty well in life. He opened a law firm, he's the CEO and Founder, that law firm's doing really well. He has two children. His son is a politician and his daughter is... actually, she just finished her law degree and he's grooming her to take over the company.
The thing is time and just got divorced from his... So his ex wife was also a politician and both her and his son are, you know, more-- a little bit more on the conservative side. And so, you know, Simon's a bit embarrassed about the breakup. Not because he felt like...
You know, they were good. I mean, the relationship lost passion, it lost a lot of luster and it just kind of fell into routine and it wasn't good anymore, but Simon's really the type of person that perseveres, he persists, and he really wants to maintain his image. His image, as you know, the head of a law firm, the image as the husband of a politician, and, you know, they were really on the same page about that.
And so they get divorced and Simon seems to be actually a bit happier. And so he starts going on dates. And so, you know, Simon, while his wife and son are a bit more conservative, he's more on the other side, and there's something that he always wanted to try. So he actually decided to go on a date with a man.
And he's always been... you know, he thought men were attractive, but he's never-- he thought, you know, men and women both attractive, but he never, you know, went on a date with a guy when he was younger, because it was taboo, it was inappropriate, but now he has the opportunity, might as well.
So he goes on this date, decides, you know, "nothing's going to come of it. I'm going to end up with another woman, but I'm just going to try to see how it goes". So he goes on a date and it's incredible. And he decides, "okay, that was really good. I liked it. I'm going to go on a second date".
So he goes on a second date and it's even better than the first. And then a third and it just keeps getting better. And like, she doesn't even know that it could get that good. It's so good. And so he goes on a fourth and a fifth and so on and so forth until maybe, you know, eight months later they're going steady, and Simon's been happier than ever.
And so this guy, his now boyfriend... let's call him Paul... You know, says, Hey, like, I don't want to-- I'm really close with-- you know, Simon knows he's very close with his sister, but essentially she's coming into town and I want to introduce you.
And so Simon meets his sister and she's absolutely lovely and they have a great time. And, you know, a few months pass and now Paul wants to meet, you know, his children. Simon talks about his children all the time, he's super proud of them, really great. But, you know, now Simon gets a bit worried. He gets cold feet, as we would say.
You know, he really loves Paul, but his children don't know that he's dating a man. I mean, yeah, sure, he's talked about him, but for now he's just been a friend and... So, you know, there starts to become this divide between him and Paul, because he's scared of telling his family, he's scared of ruining his son's reputation, of ruining his own reputation at the law firm, like, what are they going to think of him?
He married a woman and now he turned gay? As what the public is probably going to think, although that's not really true. And you know, he's just has all these worries, all these fears. And so he hesitates and that creates riffs in his relationship with Paul.
Because Paul says, you know, "you're not proud of who you are, you're not proud of me. Why haven't you told anyone? It's been a year by now. Na, na, na, na, na, na, na".
And so they get into-- they're still together, but you know, they get into-- there's tension. And so Simon's really in between these two worlds of, like, being this professional man and being, you know, completely liberated with Paul and being-- having fun and enjoying life.
And he really feels like there's two sides of him and he doesn't know what to do. He feels like the ground under his feet is starting to split and he's almost at the point where he's going to fall in, if he doesn't take action. So, what should he do?
Kim Ades: [00:05:15]
Wow. That was a wonderful story. I liked the way you told it.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:05:19]
Kim Ades: [00:05:21]
Okay. So what should he do? So, I mean, what should he do? The coaching recommendation is to always help our clients live as authentically as possible, to help people live in their skin and get comfortable in their skin. And as it turns out his skin is letting us know that he really wants to be with this guy, Paul, and he feels this sense of discomfort being true to who he is.
And so, what we would do is explore what is the discomfort about. Where does that come from? And it seems to me, it comes from the need for approval, the need for validation from key people in his life. And so we would explore that. Where does it come from? Where did it start? What is it tied to? And just understand the roots of that need, that very important desire.
But then we would also kind of fast forward the process, and we would really explore if his son, the politician were to discover that he also liked men. What kind of advice would he give his own son? Would the advice be to hide his true identity? Would the advice be to live in two separate worlds and feel this internal divide? Or would it be to live an authentic life?
It's very interesting. I find that often, parents are very clear about the advice they would give their own children and a lot less clear about that same advice when it applies to themselves. So in this case, that's one of the things we would do, is to say, what would you tell your own children if they were in the same situation? But then we would also skip ahead.
So this man is in his fifties, he's very successful. We would fast forward. Now he's 95 and he's looking back on his life. We would have him imagine that he's 95 looking back on his life, and looking back on the decisions he's made.
How would he feel about the decision to hide his true self? How would he feel about the decision to lose a potential relationship with someone, it sounds like, he fell in love with? How would he feel about that? Would that be okay with him?
And so, what we would really do is help him get to a place of self-acceptance. Because right now, it sounds like he's not there. He's not accepting the unfolding of his true identity and his authentic self. It sounds like he's still sort of at odds with who he really is.
And so we would help him get to a place of being comfortable with who he really is. We would help him give himself the kind of advice, the kind of guidance that he would give to his own children. And we would help him fast forward and envision his life as a much, much older person looking back on the decisions he's making right now, and whether or not those decisions are consistent with what he wants for himself, with his goals, with his desires in his whole entire life.
And so, the other thing we would do, and this is very important from a coaching standpoint, is he's making tough decisions for himself. He's going through a part of his life which is scary for him. And when you go through something scary and there's no anchor, there's no solid base to come back to. It's harder to do.
So from a coaching standpoint, we would be that solid base. We would be by his side, we would help him handle the difficulties, the blows, the disappointments, the difficult conversations, and we would help solidify him or stabilize him, so he could go onto the next difficult conversation and really unfold in his true self.
So, not exactly the type of answer perhaps you're looking for, but--
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:09:32]
Kim Ades: [00:09:33]
But that's what we would do. We would go to the past. We would go to the present and tap into his inner wisdom and see what kind of advice he would give somebody he loves and cares about. And then we would fast forward to the future and say, what kind of decisions do you want to be making now that will have you feeling great when you're on your death bed?
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:09:55]
Kim Ades: [00:09:56]
Those are-- that's the process we would go through.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:09:59]
And so, let's say he decides to come out. How would he go about doing that? So let's say he decides he wants to introduce his family to Paul. Does he tell his law firm? Does he tell his ex-wife? Does he make an announcement about it? Or does he kind of just tell the most important people in his life and keep it on the down low? As we would say.
Kim Ades: [00:10:20]
Well... So here's the thing, you know, does he make an announcement? I don't know. I'm not gay. Did I need to make an announcement about my sexual orientation? I did not. Right? So does he need to make an announcement? No, it's none of anybody's business, right?
So it's not like, you know, he needs to stand on, you know, on the top of a pulpit and start spreading the news. He doesn't need to do that.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:10:44]
Kim Ades: [00:10:44]
He doens't need to, you know, have a speaker in his hands and start telling everybody, "Hey, did you hear? I'm gay". He doesn't have to do that. Right? So... And as far as his ex-wife is concerned, they're not married anymore. If they're friends, if they still care about each other, if they're still a relationship, he might want to tell her. But truly it's also none of her business.
Does he need to tell his kids? He needs to tell his kids. Absolutely. What does that look like? What should that look like? It's probably a one-on-one conversation where he shares what he's going through, what he's been experiencing, and he shares the excitement around that, and he shares that he wants to introduce them to his boyfriend, Paul.
And they may want to, they may not want to, and at that point, it's their decision. But he's come clean, he's told them who he is, what he's about, what his journey has been like, and he shares his happiness now. And if they're not comfortable with that, that's something they need to deal with. And he needs--
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:11:53]
Kim Ades: [00:11:54]
And he needs to be able to be okay with their discomfort, if that exists.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:12:00]
So, yeah, that was actually going to be my next question. So let's say, you know, his daughter accepts him and his son stops talking to him. How does he contend with the fact that his son stopped talking to him because of a decision he decided to tell him?
Kim Ades: [00:12:14]
Yeah. So, you know, one of the things that would probably happen is a lot of guilt. He might think to himself, "I should have never told him. I should've never come out. I should've never-- I should've stayed married. Even though I was miserable, I should've stayed married".
But here's the thing is that whenever you sacrifice yourself for someone else, it doesn't work in the longterm. That's thing number one.
Thing number two is that when somebody you're-- especially a child... When a child is unhappy with you, for whatever reason, if a child comes to a place where they don't want to talk to you anymore. And by the way, at that point, that child is an adult. They're not so much a child anymore.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:12:55]
Kim Ades: [00:12:55]
They get to make decisions. And just because they make decisions, does not mean you have to go along with their decisions, if that makes any sense. So, the son can make a decision to stop talking to his father, that doesn't mean the father stops talking to the son. Right? So the father will continue to attempt a relationship with his son regardless of the son's reactions.
So the father can still call. Son doesn't answer? Doesn't matter. Still call. The father can still make text messages. The son doesn't answer? Doesn't matter. Continue. The father--
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:13:34]
Don't you think that that's de-motivating after a while?
Kim Ades: [00:13:38]
Yes, it's hard. It's hard, but if you kind of plant your feet solidly in the ground and say, "I get it, you're not happy, but I still love you, and I'm still going to demonstrate that love regardless of how you react, regardless of how you behave, I'm still going to love you no matter what.
You get to choose. But to my dying day, I'm never gonna do anything to let you know that I don't love you. Every single thought every single action, every single intent is going to be demonstrating my love for you".
The son gets to choose. So the son gets to the end of the father's life knowing without a doubt, "my father loved me. He never stopped loving me.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:28]
Yeah. Sounds tough.
Kim Ades: [00:14:30]
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:31]
Kim Ades: [00:14:32]
But very important.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:34]
Do you think-- what if, you know, Simon felt like he had to choose between Paul and his son?
Kim Ades: [00:14:41]
But it's not really a decision between Paul and his son. Right? We would say that's not the decision that we would need to make because he-- you know, here's what would happen, right?
So if he chose his son, there would be another Paul. Right? So, let's say the relationship with Paul didn't work out because he's choosing his son. Eventually there'd be another boyfriend because--
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:15:04]
Or he could find another girlfriend instead.
Kim Ades: [00:15:07]
Well, it sounds like that's not working for him. It sounds like... I think another girlfriend wouldn't really be the right fit for him. He'd be trying to push a square peg into a round hole. Right? He'd be inauthentic again. So, there would be another Paul. And if there was not another Paul and there's a Christine instead, it's to live in a state of discomfort with himself.
So the fight isn't between-- the battle isn't between his son and Paul, the battle is between himself and himself.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:15:40]
How so? Can you elaborate on that?
Kim Ades: [00:15:42]
Well, the fight is, do I live my authentic self, who I really am? Or do I contort myself for fear of reprisal? Like, contort myself and pretend to be somebody I'm not, for this other relationship, for this other person to be happy and satisfied with me. That's the battle. It's not between two people that are outside of himself. The battle is inside.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:16:11]
Kim Ades: [00:16:16]
Do you agree?
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:16:17]
Yeah! A hundred percent. I agreed with-- I, especially like the part about not needing to announce it. Doesn't matter. That part resonated with me. But if you were to give Simon one last piece of advice, what would it be?
Kim Ades: [00:16:34]
It would be... it would be you-- you acquire the greatest freedom when you're able to live in your skin, when you're able to be who you truly are, when you're able to live authentically. That not only goes for Simon, that goes for everybody. And all of those of you who are listening, think about that.
Are you living in your skin? Are you allowing yourselves to be who you really are? Whether it's with your sexual identity or any other thing. Are you in a job that doesn't really fit for you? Are you in a marriage that doesn't really fit for you? Are you in a friendship that doesn't really fit for you? Are you living your authentic self?
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:17:13]
Kim Ades: [00:17:14]
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:17:14]
Sorry. Just one more question. How do you know if you're living your authentic self?
Kim Ades: [00:17:20] When you're living your authentic self, you have a greater sense of peace. You have a greater sense of being okay with yourself. You feel lighter. Your stress levels decrease. Life is easier. You have greater flow. It's amazing. It's incredible.
And that's one of the things we do at Frame of Mind Coaching is we help people live much more authentically, so that they're in a place of greater peace, ease, exhilaration, and joy.
For those of you who are listening to this podcast, think about your own authenticity. Are you living in your skin? Are you being true to who you are? If you're struggling with that on any level, please reach out to me. I'd love to talk.
My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com
If you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, reach out to me as well. And for those of you who are listening, I'd love to get your feedback! Send me an email.
Again, my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com
Ferne, thank you so much for being on the podcast, for giving me another challenging case to work with. I appreciate it.
Ferne Kotlyar: [00:18:32]
My pleasure. Thank you.
Kim Ades: [00:18:34]
We'll see you next week.