I got together with a friend a few weeks ago who is also a coach. She was in town for an intense training to get more clarity about her own coaching practice. On the drive from the airport to the waterfront restaurant where we were having dinner, I asked her who she wanted to work with in her practice. Her answer was clear and succinct, but it sounded rehearsed.
And so I asked her WHY she wanted to work with these particular women.
Again, her answer was clear, but I still didn’t feel any real passion.
I asked her why SHE was the one to do this kind of work. And she shared how she had been one of those women who had tried to find joy and acceptance in things and experiences outside of herself, thinking that IF she had THIS degree or THAT house, then she would be happy.
“But really,” she said, “it’s not the piece of paper we want, it’s the feeling we have when we get the piece of paper. We have to find that joy and acceptance within ourselves.”
For the first time in the conversation, I could feel the fire in her words.
During dinner we talked about her past jobs, how she often gets bored when she isn’t challenged. And I asked her how she will keep herself excited and engaged with this new coaching practice.
She sat back and thought for a good few minutes and then said, “You know, the best job I ever had was with Outward Bound.” Her whole body came alive as she shared how much she loves being physical, doing anything outdoors, challenging herself to be independent, knowing she can take care of herself.
“My dream coaching practice would take women out into the wilderness and teach them self-reliance and independence.”
Finally, I felt her passion, her motivation, her energy.
Then she leaned back, deflated, “But it’s not practical. I don’t know how I would do it, logistically.”
“You don’t need to know that right now,” I said. “You just need to stay connected to this passion.”
So often we get stopped by the How, the When, the Where.
Life is not a journalism class. We don’t need to have a lead paragraph that answers the who, what, where, when and how.
We only need to know the WHY.
Our WHY is our passion.
Our WHY is our guiding light.
Our WHY keeps us moving forward when we hit a road block.
Our WHY is our heart, leading us to those other questions.
If we stay strongly connected to WHY we want to, WHY we need to do something, and let go of figuring out how and when and where, somehow, those other answers come to us.
I invited my friend to write about her experiences at Outward Bound as a means to re-connect with her passions. I even suggested she have a dialog with herself, writing the questions with her dominant hand and answering them with her other hand. This is a great tool for opening to unexpected responses.
When I checked in with her a few days later, she was still excited about wilderness coaching. She’d been on a few hikes along the coast, and was loving being in her body, exploring new places and she was beginning to see how it might all come together.
Again I reminded her that it’s not her job to focus on the HOW, but to keep nurturing the WHY and allow her heart to continue to guide her to the answers.
When you think about something you really want to do, do you know your WHY? Can you focus your energies on this, the heart of all things, and let go of knowing everything else right now? Can you imagine if you did?
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