50 Shades of Gray


Who holds most of your secrets? Unconsciously, I used to share most of my struggles, usually relationships related, to my nail technician, the waxing lady and the hair stylist.

For unknown reasons, I had this unexplainable trust on them and poured out all big and small love stories.

You probably can relate to my experience!

I used to ask them some close-ended questions that the answer could only be YES or NO.

‘Should I give that guy a call?’
‘Does he like me?’
‘He doesn’t pay attention to me when I talk. Has he fallen out of love with me already?’
‘He cheated on me. Shall I break up with him?’

Many of us often look for the YES or NO. We feel the urge to settle to one of the two answers at this moment, or we will stuck with the problems forever.

However there is gray in real life and it has 50 shades. Ok I’m trying to be funny here! I will save the kinkiness in other blog posts. In reality, there can be more than 50 shades of gray.n real life.

When there can only either be black or white. Gray is not allowed.

There is gray in real life and it has more than 50 shades.

‘Should I take (or quit) the job?’
‘Should I get the divorce (or breaking up)?’
‘Should I pay off my loans (or start saving)?’
‘Should I come out and let my parents know about my sexual orientation (or stay in the closet forever)?’

Allow me to empower you by these what-abouts:

I have the intention to quit my job while keep interviewing with other jobs and staying hopeful with creating a better dynamic with the colleagues.

I honor my marriage while I reach out for help/ read more books and decide the next move later.

I ruined my diet. Instead of ‘I might as well…’ (eat the last slice of pizza), I get back on the wagon and stop beating up myself.

Instead of judging that mom is a good/bad because of her parenting style, we trust that there is a background story and it is not our job to judge (or, justify).

Everything is connected and things are what they are today were made happened by a series of events and decisions.

You see. Instead of picking the Yes/No or Black/White answer, you can always choose how to interpret your situation and give a meaning of it.

The final decision can wait.

You can even provoke the final decision and do it all over again.

Sounds simple, isn’t it? I know many of you insist that your unique challenge is really unique and there couldn’t be a third option. Again, it is all about how you interpret your ‘problems’ and what meaning you are going to give it.

(I will write more about the interpretation and meaning and how to discover your options)

Here are some tips on how to breakthrough the binary thinking system:

Ask yourself open-ended questions. Try ‘What if’, ‘How about’, ‘Why on earth’, etc. Same goes to making your friends or the hair stylist to tell you the Yes/No answer. Use the open-ended questions.

When it comes to some major or life threatening decisions, talk to the subject matter experts. There will be times that a coach will be more effective than a therapist (and the other way round, and probably neither of them, etc). Whoever it is, you know that you are not handling the challenges alone.

When you know that you are not really soliciting any recommendations, aka you have made up your mind already, but just want to get some reassurance. Be upfront about it and let your listeners know that you would love to be heard and appreciate in advance for their listening.

I have coached people on whether they should have another child, whether they should change their career, whether to get a divorce – all these require a detailed dialogue. The first dialogue is going to be within yourself though, not to your social media friends. Trust that you will be led to the right people, books, blog posts, inspirational quotes, etc, that you will find how easy it is to drop the effort of expecting an answer NOW.

Remember, there are more than 50 shades of gray.

Coach Katherine


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