Starting in April, I participated in an intense performance coaching program that began with an intense weekend, followed by ten weeks of one-on-one coaching, and then finished with another intense weekend. It was an amazing experience and I cannot believe how much I learned about myself and about my life moving forward. (If you think you might be interested in something like this, check out "Leadership" at www.sourcepointtraining.com.) I won't give too much of the blow-by-blow since it will bore you to tears, but I will share a bit of the "a-ha" moments I experienced.
I enrolled in the program with the idea that I needed some help starting a business and building my law practice. A-ha moment #1: My current business plan is working for me, at least for now, so there's no need to change it. I don't need to waste any energy "worrying" about my career in the short run because it is going just fine and I am happy. When it is no longer fine and I am no longer happy, that's when I need to put some renewed energy into it. A-ha moment #2: Work doesn't feel like work if you're doing it for the "right" reasons (and the "right" reasons are different for everyone). When I was working as an associate in various-sized law firms, I was doing it for the wrong reasons, which explains why I never felt fulfilled, it felt like a grind, and I had no desire to put in anymore time than was absolutely required. (It also explains why I put myself in a position to get terminated!)
A-ha moment #3: My heart needs some attention. Like everyone else, I've had my share of hurts in life, and I always thought I had properly grieved each and every one of them. I thought wrong. What I did instead was bury anything that resembled a feeling deep down inside, throw up giant walls, and then busy myself with "stuff" to run away from anything remotely unpleasant. That's really no way to live a life. I declared at the end of the first weekend that I would live my life with an open heart.
A-ha moment #4: Despite all outward appearances and my tough exterior, I'm a scaredy-cat. I've always considered myself brave, and I am when it comes to outward appearances and external opinions, but I'm terrified to share my internal self with people. I've never really worried about what people think of my behavior - making me unafraid to do things that make other people uncomfortable - because I recognize that most people are so self-involved that they're not even paying attention to whether or not I'm making a fool of myself. I AM worried - devastatingly afraid, frankly -of letting people see my true self. I close myself off - and shut people out - at the slightest hint that someone might see the real me. That's no way to live a life. I declared at the end of that first weekend to live without fear.
A-ha moment #5: I'm not very nice to myself, and if I'm not very nice to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be nice to me?? Though I'm confident in my lawyering skills and have no problem telling people how awesome I am
Coaching is an interesting experience. Unlike traditional counseling or therapy, I didn't really look back at my life to explain why I do the things I do. Instead of analyzing why I engage in specific self-limiting (or self-sabotaging) behavior, I learned to identify that behavior, acknowledge it, and then use my newly-learned tools to change it. I was reminded over and over of that old saying about insanity (from Einstein, I think): The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.
I'm not insane anymore. I'm taking small steps, but I'm doing many things differently than the way I did them before. I'm noticing things I never really noticed before. I'm changing the way I spend my days. I'm changing the way I think about my self, my family, and my friends. In short, I'm waking up. How blessed am I that I am waking up in time to enjoy it??