Slaying the Onion to Reach Your Highest Potential

April BallesteroBy April Ballestero15 Minutes

Excerpt from Slaying the Onion: Unveil the Layers of Your Story to Reveal Your Highest Potential by April Ballestero


Looking in the Mirror

“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”

~Brene Brown

We were in the middle of discussing the Slaying the Onion process during a group session, when a curious coaching client asked, “When you get stuck in the conversation, and you know the other person is resistant to going into the next layer of their onion, then what?” I realized her question was so profound, even while the group members were struggling to understand why they would even want to slay the layer without any motive or purpose. It was obvious to me then, she was ready to be an onion slayer. The onion development process actually originated when I realized so many did not know how to look in the mirror, face their fears, and challenge themselves and their so called comfort zone. Slaying is an intense process. It requires us to delve into our hearts, minds, and souls one layer at a time.

The problem is that we have all built walls around our hearts that we believe offer protection. This is the outer layer of your onion. We have all created our own jail cells. The authentic voice and message locked inside those walls will never be heard without first knocking down those walls. Fortunately, we all have the key to start revealing both the light within and the light calling us to knock down those walls and step out of that cell.

The process I personally went through to discover the layer concepts—from What is on your Radar, to the WHOLE and BRAVE exercises, releasing the chains that were extreme obstacles to building the bridges for the Whole and Brave communication process—are all wrapped up in the next few chapters. We all have self created our own jail cell, and we have the key to start revealing the light within and the light calling us to step out of the cell.

It will take a process to unlock the reasons you have justified making those walls so thick, and it will take a process to start revealing the messages hiding inside your walls. You might think you have slain that onion layer and then be surprised when another layer emerges from beneath. Be prepared to give yourself grace and walk away from the experience for a season if need be. A good percentage of the population who buy this book may read a page or two, maybe even a chapter and decide, I do not need this, and move on. I am seeking the two percent who will complete every exercise, share and teach it to others, and let us know how it impacts those they get to serve.

My first life coach exposed me to the concept of conscious competence and unconscious competence. We all have items we know we know which is conscious competence. This is how we like our coffee, our times tables, and maybe even some basic English rules—like when a semicolon is used in a sentence. We also know what we don’t know, which is conscious incompetence. Such as the reason others think the way they do or how my mind still forgets where I left my glasses that I just had on my head five minutes ago. These are known awareness. The unconscious competence is where the conscious mind goes into auto pilot and knows something so well, it just does without extreme thought of what needs to be done. On the other hand the unconscious mind in incompetence is where more often than not I get to work. Most people choose to work with me in what they know they don’t know and realize there are so many additional opportunities. Thus, now I will walk you through the process I learned to start revealing the phases of the onion discovery process I went through to create and inspire Onion Slayers.

What is On Your Radar?

What does radar have to do with onions? It started actually as a dart board in my mind asking my clients what was their bullseye target for the day, month, year etc. Sadly, not everyone knew their answer. I had a multitude of tools in the business arena to ask about numbers, narrative plans, and overall business structures. What I discovered was that until each individual got clear about what their life wheel looked like, they were going through the motions. There are many versions of the life wheel, yet the one included will be a starting place to guide you through a very simple awareness tool. This will help us start to discover what is really on your radar.

Just like when you are driving on a highway, radar is what gives police officers the ability to hold drivers accountable to the speed limit. In many other situations, radar plays a part in assessing what is believed to be accurate and how it impacts everything else in the radar screen.

Example—A vehicle traveling at an alarming speed may also cause many challenges and even impact lives in some cases. For those of us who have a lead foot, it can result in speeding tickets, and we may learn to just attempt to not get caught next time.

I would not be completely vulnerable with you if I didn’t share. I have had a few of these speeding tickets over the years—one even with my twin getting one at the same time. We were 19 years old flying down the 15 freeway in Southern California from Victorville to Downey, California. It didn’t matter that there was fog on the road and dangerous conditions. We were young and stupid. Obviously we were not paying attention to any radar concerns. I am positive we were not alone in these type of experiences. Thus, I started helping my clients learn they needed to create their own radar system. The development process, which started with a basic understanding of coaching has also gained its own layers as we move along.

Over the years working with my clients, the visual tool helps them realize what areas they are truly feeling fulfilled. Many have learned how to deeply appreciate the ability to measure where they are and how ridiculously balanced they are or are not. If you were brave enough to measure your own fulfillment on a scale from 1 to 10—10 being best, where would you land in each area of the pie? By the way, if you are the type of person that needs to add some personalization to the process, feel free to change a subject, add pieces of the pie or whatever you like to make this your own. In all my years of coaching and training, you would be amazed at what I get to see, hear, and experience.

Another way we may want to contemplate this is to ask what energy or wealth are you experiencing in each of these areas of your life? Example—Financial health, for some, is something they are happy to address. They look at their financial statement every day and are excited about how to add to the bottom line. Their number in this quadrant will be completely different than another person who hates to look at bank statements. They are wise to surround themselves with people who keep them balanced in this area and help them learn how to appreciate it. Yet, fulfillment in this pie piece will be determined by a number of factors related to their perception and appreciation of their own financial awareness, in some cases training, and in many cases their beliefs around money.

For some the spiritual wellness pie piece is a very wealthy area for them in their belief of who or how they serve. You may have heard the phrase, “Where your treasure is, there is your heart.” Ironically, this is a spiritual phrase with multiple meanings depending on who you are talking to. In each person’s perception of their spiritual journey, a number may be determined on what impact they have in their area of service, how they feel personally about their personal relationship with the God they choose to serve. Again, so many other conversations available in this one slice.

As you are beginning to see, you get to decide your own perception. You are your own expert. You get to look in that mirror one piece at a time. Remember this journey is for your benefit, not for beating up on yourself. We may never change the past, it is done! Remove any thoughts regarding this immediately. I know this is easier said than done. Although, what we keep on our eyes, heart, mind, and in our will expands, thus choosing where we align moving forward is where we want to take you.

For those of you who have actually taken the time to draw in the lines and connect them together to attempt to make your own circle, many will find a trapezoid or some figure you may not even know how to describe. This is ridiculously common. The even more challenging awareness is to determine that the wheels you just created are now the four wheels on the vehicle you drive every day. How is the drive? A tad bit bumpy? Are you able to drive at all? Many have found it is difficult to see where they are and what is possible to change what they now are aware of. You will hear this often—awareness is the first step.

The best immediate step is to decide where your strengths are and how you add value to the other areas of your wheel in small daily tangible options. Example: One of my strengths is to take daily spiritual wellness time to read, listen, and pray. This strength and discipline is an area I get to add value to my business calling.

Even this morning as I realized a way I did this when I first started as a coach had been overlooked. Now, I get to remember to ask, who does God want me to serve on this specific day?

Although, I had fallen short in many days in this area, it was part of my muscle memory I want to be more purposeful adding commitment to. It always amazes me when I apply, listen, and act on this nudging the conversations, connections, and clarity arise.

The decision is to determine whether you are willing to consider what is on your radar and do something about it. After spending years asking my clients what is on their radar in a multitude of ways, I realized I was hitting a multitude of brick walls. Most clients didn’t even realize they were giving me such resistance. The terminology that then became normal was, “Let’s peel a few of these layers.” Thus the “What is on your Radar” question became “How do we peel these layers?”

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