A Word About…’Fixin’
October 26, 2017
I’ve been traveling and vacationing in the South for the past several days; Atlanta, and the Stone Mountain area, and then on to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Pigeon Forge, hometown of Dolly Parton. While I grew up in the Midwest, most of my relatives are from the Ozark Mountains of southeast Missouri. Spending the last few days as a tourist in Georgia and Tennessee reacquainted me with a vocabulary word I’d almost forgotten. It is the word, fixin.
I’ve been reintroduced to the concept that in the South, when people are preparing to go the store, they’re rarely ‘getting ready’ to go. No. Instead, they’re ‘fixin’ to go. They’re ‘fixin’ to make cornbread for supper, or ‘fixin’ to call Aunt Cora for her birthday, or they’ve got a nephew who’s ‘fixin’ to start a new job in California. I love the word fixin, and as a coach of physicians, I plan to add it to my coaching vocabulary. I think it’s a GREAT coaching word.
Coaching is about helping people get from where they are to where God wants them to be. Often, (although not always) a coaching client may be uncertain about exactly what they need. Coaching focuses on movement, change, and ‘discovering’ options and potentials that might not otherwise be considered. Helping someone define and implement an action plan for what they’re ‘fixin’ to do is one of the primary roles of a coach.
Here are three observations about ‘fixin’ that may be helpful if you’re feeling stuck or wondering about coaching:
- What are you fixin to do? By that, I mean do you really plan to change or see movement in your life? Some people get ‘stuck’ in their lives because they spend their time over-thinking their situation and what’s wrong with it, but not really being ‘intentional’ about seeing change. Limited belief systems trap them into a frozen almost paralyzed state. In all honesty, they’re not fixin to do anything. Working with a coach can help break the log jam and encourage movement and change.
- If you are fixin to do something, — you know what you want to see change —how will you get from where you are to where you eventually want to be? A doc may be fixin to retire in two years. If that’s so, what do the next two years need to look like and ‘contain’? What things will be most important, and how will success be measured as someone is fixin to retire? Or, if someone is fixin to leave private practice and start to work for a major healthcare system, what’s the plan for navigating the challenges that such a move will represent? Everyone knows that actually doing something is not the same thing as fixin to do it. And having a coach to help with the change process is extremely valuable.
- Who’s gonna do the fixin? For a certainty, fixin can be a ‘preparing’ thing, like “I’m fixin to make us some cornbread.” But it can also be a ‘repairing’ thing, like “How do I go about fixin what’s wrong?” Doctors are, by nature and training, ‘fixers.’ No patient wants to go to a doctor who can’t properly diagnose their ailment and give them a treatment plan that’s going to “fix” their medical issue. But coaches don’t fix. The fixin in a coaching conversation comes from the interaction and dialogue between the coach and the client, as they discover and identify core values, process realities, and develop specific action steps doctors can implement for change. The fixin will always come from the client.
I’ve really enjoyed my vacation in the South. The politeness of the people. The culture of storytelling. Grits, and sweet tea. Oh, and chicken. Fried chicken, with all the fixin’s. No wonder I’ve had that word in my head for the past two weeks. Fixin’s is a wonderful word.