Lessons Learned

Fall is a time for renewal for me.

I finished processing a lot of changes I made last year (going through coach training, quitting smoking, releasing shame).

Now I finally feel ready to move forward. I enjoyed my summer. I swam, I organized, I socialized and I plodded along. I am spreading my wings and now preparing plans to further my coaching career and being the voice to the larger society on what coaching is and how to use it to elevate your life. I believe coaching can be applied in more than just individual ways to heal society.

I get so excited when I finally think I figured out something for myself.

I recently re-engaged with a group of coaches from once I sprung. It is a  strange mixture of the needy and caretakers. A cluster of people on a pilgrimage. Some seem like-minded, well-intentioned, and some just flat-out crazy. 

Some of the people who belong to this group are totally out there. Others are incredibly well grounded. The group seeks to define its identity by referring to themselves as “The Tribe.” There is a common language and terminology. I skirt the edges of the club. As much as I love my mentor. Admire her skills and abilities. I have a huge internal reaction to this belonging completely to this group. “I will not willing drink the koolaid this time”, is what I tell myself. I cannot follow the herd blindly.

My particular cohorts (the ones that I trained with) were what the tribe refers to as “Fact Finders.” Martha called us the “potato Famine Group.” We all struggled with issues around scarcity and hanging onto sad, bleak stories of our own unworthiness but truly wanting to believe in abundance and prove our worth. We found ourselves mired in research and plodding through our steps. Seeking progress but scared about how to get there. We were trained by two wildly successful coaches that spend a good deal of time trying to push and pull us along kicking and screaming.

The training agenda moved much too fast for all our comfort levels. I fear that part of the reason not more of us continued was that we felt defeated by the experience. I know I felt that I was not living up to the pace for progress set forth for our group. Being from my cohort of the “red-haired step children” I felt tentative re-approaching the Tribe. 

I re-established contact through our group’s FB page. After semi-self selecting specific Tribe members to be individual friends with I have moved slowly through the postings. The members I am most interested in connecting with are not too preachy, perky or otherwise sickly self-satisfied with their own awesomeness. They are not finding angels in their morning coffee on a regular basis and approach things with a little healthy skepticism. 

I realize FB lives are very different from our real ones. The food, clothes and pictures are much more manicured in FB land. I gag when I read too many FB posts on how “shiny and wonderful” people’s public lives are all the time. No one can really love those ugly fetid green smoothies all that much. I know they want us to think they do. How can everyone have such wonderful hair and makeup all the time?

The coaches and almost-coaches that post on the FB forum are usually well intended. The crazy ones I have come to admire for putting their particular brand of cra-cra out there for all the world to see and on the other hand step back and marvel at the amount of story fondling going on.

One coach was completely certain (even though she asked the group to comment) that her belongings (which she had recently gotten back from an ex) were “infected” with his bad vibes. I had a flash to the 700 Club host trying to talk some lady off the ledge because she wanted to know if clothes from Goodwill could be infected by the devil. Pat definitely believed “evil” could live in the clothes. I wonder, Do they make an exorcism dryer sheet for that?

Clothes are objects. Nothing more. They contain no life force or energy value. They can be vehicles for our own emotional attachments but by themselves hold no weight, value or energy.

This lady had further validated her own story but doing a “gut check.” Her story really made sense to her because she tested it out on her own internal compass system. Or so she thought.

Really? Her gut check was happening from the neck up with her monkey mind. When we gut check or tap into our authentic selves we don’t usually find justifications for others wrong doings against us. We find and hopefully are able to observe without our minds getting in the way what is true in a much larger sense. We examine our role and what our story is telling us about that role in the world.

Tapping into our authentic sense of self helps us find our motivators, patterns and how they feed the story we tell about ourselves. Are we the hero or the victim?

When I step back into my own story, I realize I perhaps looked for a reason to be on the outside of the group so that I didn’t have to fully inhabit the space I am in. I didn’t have to admit to the fears of not being accepted or loved or admired by the group. Once I let go of that story and understood my motivators all the facets of the group made sense. I realized I was still processing through my own personal shame from a very old story I have. Still stretching beyond that story and feeling just a little fragile. But my mastery and solid resilience kicked in an nudged me forward.

Like Bees in a colony we all play our parts. We all work cooperatively to move forward. Some of us have highly specialized skills and important role that require focus and attention. Some of us are very important workers who built and maintain relationships. We work individually so that collectively we can move forward.

For myself and my colleagues I realized I had to own my role. I am the coach. I am a leader and part of what I do is lead by action.