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The Delusion of Unattachment

By Toku

Somewhere along the way, we got this idea that being unattached is a sort of perfect ideal we should pursue. When in truth, pretending to be unattached is the doorway to delusion.


Recently I was called out by a member of the Dojo because I joked that I didn’t want to give him a list of other coaches to work with, because I’d like to see him work with one of the Sensei in the Dojo.

And at first when he called me out I felt ashamed.

I thought: “Man, he’s right! I shouldn’t hold back names of other coaches. I shouldn’t even joke about it. I should be unattached.”

But then I realized this isn’t true.

It is never true that I am unattached to a client I’m trying to enroll.

When I like someone, when I spend time with them, when I create possibility with them, I become attached.

I become attached because I’m enrolled in them, their being, and what I see for them.

When I serve a beautiful I enjoy being with, who’s thoughts inspire me, I WANT THEM AS A CLIENT, on no uncertain terms.


Acknowledging this attachment doesn’t make me an awful coach or doomed in enrollment. Rather, it makes me human.

A phrase I hear a lot is: NEEDY IS CREEPY

Which is true.

But needy and wanty are not the same things.

I want to sign my clients, I want to work with them, I want them to hire me over another coach, sometimes I want that even if I wonder if another coach might be better for them.


I pause for a moment and wonder, “Could another coach be better for them?”

I do this because I love my clients and because I know I’m not perfect, because I know that I am of the nature to become attached and at some points that attachment will lead me to act against my client’s own possibility.

But this knowledge doesn’t mean that I’m being unethical or being a “bad” coach.

I WOULD NEVER want to work with a coach who didn’t want to work with me, who didn’t salivate a little bit at the idea of getting inside my life and mucking around.

I would also never want to work with a coach who let that want get out of hand and pinned their ego on signing me up.

Nor would I want to work with a coach who was under the delusion of unattachment. Who believed that not even letting themselves want a client was the “right” way to be.

I believe our clients want us to want them. They want us to desire and crave their possibility. I think as coaches we should aspire and stoke this desire whenever possible.

I also think we should acknowledge our innate attachment so we don’t become ruled by it.

After all, the reason I said what I said as a joke was because I was and remain willing to share the names of other coaches.

  • I’m willing to tell a prospect they shouldn’t hire me, even if I want them to.
  • I’m willing to tell a client our relationship had broken down and we should stop working together, even if I want to keep working with them.
  • I’m even willing to tell a prospect No even if we both really want to work together, but I’m clear it wouldn’t serve them.

I’m willing to do these things because for me the practice of being a master coach isn’t one of becoming drunk on my own delusion of unattachment. But rather one of acknowledging that I am of the nature to be attached and allowing that attachment to serve me and my clients—right up until the point where it stops.

It’s the practice of being both humble and unapologetic of my humanity. And also of learning to step from a wisdom that includes the truth—without losing sight of what it means to serve the incredible possibility of the human being in front of me or the human being inside of me.

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