What the Heck is a Reality Check and Why Would I Want One?

In common language a ‘reality check’ is simply becoming clear about something – most often something that was overlooked. Sometimes, what you missed is not overlooked, but is consciously (or unconsciously) avoided.

Reality is a funny thing…  

We speak of reality as if it is a constant. As if it is what is. As if every person experiences the world and themselves in just the same way. In fact, we all craft our own version of reality. We filter information from the outside, paying varying amounts of attention to the information that surrounds us. Remembering things a certain way. Creating a narrative that fits with our perceptions, interpretations, and our memories. We all have biases and value certain kinds of information, especially that which supports our sense of ourselves and our version of reality.  

We surround ourselves with people who support our REALITY….

We unconsciously surround ourselves with people who support our version of reality. We have an affinity for folks that are like we are. People who think and believe like we do. Generally, people like us, with the same interests and values, tend to be easier to talk to and more comfortable to spend time with. I am sure that you have experienced a situation where you have met someone new, had an awkward conversation, then BAM! you realized you have someone or something in common – and then the conversation took off. This is what I like to call the Commonality Effect. The Commonality Effect is simply being energized by and drawn to folks like yourself.  

But…Opposites Attract…Right???

Of course, you’re thinking Opposites Attract. You have probably even experienced this phenomenon. There is truth to this, but it’s complicated. More complicated than I have time to explain here. Basically, people that are different from us are exciting and have much to teach us. But guess what? The minute you enter into a relationship with someone, you begin to be more like each other. If the relationship lasts, the more alike you become. So, even if opposites attract, we eventually end up with someone who essentially shares much of what we like and don’t like. Someone who will promote your version of you.  

Giving Yourself a Reality Check is nearly impossible…

So, what does all of this have to do with a Reality Check? Well, my point is that giving yourself a reality check is nearly impossible. It almost always has to come from outside yourself. And guess what, the people you surround yourself with probably aren’t going to give you a reality check either. Giving folks a reality check tends to strain relationships. People in relationships typically strive to get along, often avoiding the things that need to said to keep the peace.  

This is one reason you need a Coach…

This is where a Coach comes in. When you choose to work with a coach, the first step is to engage in a Reality Check. You are saying you want to be honest about yourself. You are asking someone from outside your reality to take a look at what’s going on in your life and give you some honest feedback. This sounds a bit painful, but it doesn’t have to be. A reality check is a collaborative process wherein you and your coach take a look at the kinds of behaviors and thoughts you engaged in, what your goals are, what you value, what’s getting in the way of your happiness or success, etc.  

You don’t see the things that are getting in your way…

Over the course of this process, which can take some time, your coach will give you feedback about where your version of reality doesn’t seem to match the way things are, or the way you want them to be. Or perhaps, your coach will help identify things that you don’t see that are getting in your way. A coach can do this better than most because he or she is objective and doesn’t need to hold back. This is what you have asked your coach to do. When this Reality Check is complete, you will have gained insight into who you are, what you value, where you want to be, and what direction to travel to get there.  

Who doesn’t want to WAKE UP???

So, now you know what a Reality Check is…why would you want one? The better question is why wouldn’t you want one. Who doesn’t want to Wake Up? Who doesn’t want to see things for how they are? Who doesn’t want to understand what is holding them back? At a basic level, if you are dissatisfied or unhappy, unable to live in a way that feels right, you are likely missing some critical information about yourself. The bottom line is you cannot get from Point A to Point B if you don’t where Point A is. A Reality Check helps you to begin the process of change by identifying who, what, and where you are right now.