If you’re stuck at a crossroads, and you know deep in the centre of your soul that you are not living the life that you are capable of, then you need a coach or mentor – there is no other way.
I discovered this truth (the hard way) a few years ago…
I was in a job that a lot of people love, but didn’t suit me, and working just as many hours as a bee (even though I am clearly not a bee).
My inner guidance was telling me something was wrong, but from being overwhelmed by fear, and listening to very well-meaning friends and family (who can never really know what you are going through), I would succumb to flus, the blues, and (damn! Nothing rhymes with flus and blues…).
I was definitely not happy, and despite all my efforts (and advice!) to “change my perspective” or “do less” (very hard to do in the field I was in), I knew deep in my heart that if I was to live a happier life, it was my responsibility, and I needed to find someone who had walked in my shoes to help guide me through the process.
Up to that point (and I had arrived at the point many a time but the realisations became so strong, I felt I could no longer ignore what life was telling me, or rather shouting at me) – I had considered myself to be very disciplined and motivated, however, that was also my problem. I was going along thinking that my willpower was going to pull me through, I would eventually find a way through this vortex called LIFE (well, I hoped!).
It was not until I realised the truth of Joey Reiman’s claim that, “Burnout comes from working a futile minute.” When we’re working on something that does not align with our values, and does not feel purposeful, we will reach burnout. If we love what we are doing, however, we can still work very hard (if we choose) but are much less likely to hit rock bottom because what we are doing inspires us – our work becomes like food for our spirit.
It was this realisation, combined with reaching a fork in the road that made me realise that there must be someone out there who has been through the same thing and has learnt to navigate their way through!
(This can be a very difficult thing to do, because when we’re in a difficult life situation, we feel that we are the only person who has ever faced these challenges, or nobody will ever understand. I did this for a number of years, not telling anyone because I was afraid of being told that it was all in my head, or worse, that I was unrealistic and needed to join everyone in the “real-world” (those who accept that work is an endless series of trouble and toil – thank you Shakespeare!).
So, I did the thing that I was very adept at, I typed into Google some of my beliefs concerning life and career, and found a coach that I thought sounded just right!
In the age of the Internet many of you may argue, as I once did, that you can “just Google your problem” and find answers or read other people’s experiences and surely after reading several hundreds of thousands you will come up with an answer because you become so well-informed!
Alas, this is what I thought!
But… what I found is that when I was reading what everyone else had to say about career satisfaction, finding their purpose or how to survive existential angst (what is the purpose of life, and why am I here), what I found was that their experiences were unique to each of them, and that there was no single case that I could readily transfer to my circumstances, even remotely.
Another issue was while I was busy reading about everybody else’s experiences, I did not look at how mine had shaped who I was, or even shaped the questions that I was asking. Who am I? wasn’t even a consideration, I didn’t know who I was.
I finally realised that I needed someone to guide me to through the process, to provide objective suggestions and criticism when I needed it, but also to see the fundamental humanity of my experience. The Internet, in all its potential cannot do this, only another human being who has the skill and experience can – a “human experience specialist” of sorts. (Friends and family are too deeply involved, and don’t have the experience, and have vested interests in ensuring you remain the same).
My coach, at our very first meeting, connected with me and what I particularly liked was her belief in human potential. (This was very important to me as I believed (and still do) that people can achieve whatever they set out to do, they just have to want to). I felt that she knew exactly how it felt to be where I was and I also understood exactly why she received such high reviews online.
My conversations with her revealed the importance of understanding who I was, and how my beliefs, attitudes and actions, were all informed by my values.
Most of all, through coaching I found my voice. For too many years I “sat of the fence,” afraid of causing conflict, thinking that if I voiced my opinion (or embarked on my own path) I would immediately put myself as an adversary with others who thought differently. I was also afraid of pursuing goals that would express more of who I am (who knew what I would find). Marianne Williamson writes how we are afraid of our inner light – we fear most of all what others will think when we express what makes us unique. I’m sure you may have also felt this way.
Now, assured of who I am and what I need and want, I feel safe to express my ideas. I also know that when you love something, it is what you must do.
On the occasion I think about what may have happened if I had not chosen to seek help, but I know deep down in my core that I would still be where I was. I am infinitely grateful that I did, and I hope that you do too.
Comments will be approved before showing up.