The L Word Season 5, Episode 5: The Coach’s Perspective

In this week’s episode things are heating up for the ladies of The L Word as we approach mid-season. Relationships are starting to crack and the hookups are coming fast and furious. As I expected from last week’s fall from integrity, this week finds Alice doing what every great Internet marketer wishes they could – go totally viral with her podcast and outing of the NBA star. Her end of show argument with Tasha is starting the ball rolling on what I call incompatible values in a relationship. If you and your partner aren’t congruent, it makes for a bumpy to impossible ride. More on that as things develop.

The L Word - TinaThis week I want to address what was a very short piece of the show but one that I believe holds a most powerful lesson. Bette was on the phone talking to Tina about what she could possibly do about the Jodi situation at work. You see according to the powers that be at the school (and most certainly Bette) they believe Jodi took artistic freedom a bit too far when she let a student stand at the front on the room with a gun pointed to his head. Now whether you think it was ok or not ok for Jodi to allow this, the point is that she wants a meeting with the folks in charge and Bette wants to step in and do her control thing. Why Bette would call her ex for advice on this lord only knows and Tina’s look of disgust pretty much illustrates the absurdity of it. Yet Tina gets my coaching gold star award for her composure, compassion, and response:

“Let her speak for herself. Jodi is a very capable person. … I know you want to fix everything but you have to let her succeed or fail on her own. Otherwise it’ll be a disaster for both of you.”

Now there’s the best advice I’ve heard in a long time on this show. When we love someone we really want to step in and fix it to make it all better. In Bette’s case she has an extreme case of control freak and a need to fix everything that she doesn’t feel 100% comfortable with, but I believe most of us have it to at least some degree. We see helping as a way to show our love. Yet in reality, it is a more loving act on our part if we trust in the fact that those we love are capable just as they are. Whether you have a strong, fiery personality like Jodi and have proven your toughness in the hard knock school of life or whether you have a much shier, quiet way about you, you are whole and capable just as you are. Just breathe that in for a moment… you are whole and capable just as you are. It is so powerful and yet so very hard for us to really open and receive that sort of truth about ourselves. We prefer to make ourselves small so we and others will supposedly feel better. Unfortunately that doesn’t work. It simply shortchanges us all.

One thing I have learned on the road to being comfortable in my own skin is that it is often more challenging to simply hold the space for someone else to grow and show up in than it is to jump in and play Ms. Fix It. Yet if you want a deep and lasting personal relationship or even a satisfying professional relationship, you absolutely need to be able to stand in support of someone else while allowing them to actually handle their own challenges. It is the only way they will grow; the only way you will grow; the only way the highest good of all concerned will be served. In order to be able to do this for someone else you first need to be able to do it for yourself. That starts with learning how to trust in and fully show up for yourself. It is an ongoing journey and I help women do just that.

So, if you take one thing away from this week’s episode (other than the joy of rewinding the steamy love scenes 😉 ) it should be this:

You are capable just as you are. All the other people in your life are as well. Compassion and support yields many more dividends in the long run for all involved than running in and trying to “fix it” or “save someone”.

So start claiming your power right here, right now. You are powerful beyond measure.

3 thoughts on “The L Word Season 5, Episode 5: The Coach’s Perspective”

  1. Great discussion Paula! I was wondering: I am not familiar with the academic culture, but:

    1) is Bette Jodi's superior/supervisor?
    2) what are the roles of the various 'players' in a campus environment? Is the academic environment hierarchical?

    I ask the above because yes, we aren't talking total reality here, but, I wonder if there is another angle on the 'Bette calls Tina to discuss Jodi' thread?

    If anyone knows, please post here! Thanks…

  2. Bette is a Dean and Jodi is a Professor, so yes she would be over her. And Phyllis is the Chancellor of their University.

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