Do the stories you tell yourself hold you back or inspire you to keep discovering the best of who you are?
We are constantly telling ourselves stories about what we can and cannot do.
Especially as we get older and more established in our lives and careers, it’s daunting to be at a crossroads. So, we hold ourselves back. Tell ourselves stories filled with doubt, indecision, worst case scenarios and fears of failure. We don’t stop and ask ourselves questions to determine whetherthose stories are true or not.
A number of years ago, when I was at an uneasy crossroads, I got brave. I took advantage of a chaotic time to trust my inner voice and let it lead me where I needed to go. By questioning if what I was telling myself was true or not, I was able to change my stories to create a new future for myself.
As a way to get to know more about my experiences with change and what I mean about the power of the questions, these are my answers to ones I often ask at the beginning of a coaching partnership.
The right questions help you find the answers within yourself to move forward.
Do you dip your toes in the water or dive right in?
I’m the toes in, feel my way around first type. That’s how I deal with change. But once I’m in, I’m all in.
I’m an introvert and an observer; I notice things. Small things that other people might gloss over. I’m a thinker and an excellent listener – thoughtful about what I give my attention to, how I respond and ask you questions. so you can find the answers you’re looking for to move forward.
While I’ve known since I was a kid that my quietness was the source of many of my strengths and talents, it took me a long time to show that comfort outwardly. In fact, it was while becoming a trained coach and being coached by my fellow trainees, that I realized what a benefit it is to how I show up for my clients.
Are you as resilient as you’d like to be?
I have deep reserves of optimism and resilience. At 30, when work and life were coming together for me, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. While it is definitely manageable, it changed my life significantly.
The future seemed scary for quite awhile. It was daunting in the beginning because there were many adjustments to be made both in managing diabetes, my lifestyle and mindset. I went to counselling, learned coping techniques and began looking forward to the future again.
Managing diabetes is about discipline, timing, consistency, and keeping a healthy mindset. The same qualities necessary to adapt to any kind of change and find enjoyment even amid difficult circumstances.
What’s your passion?
Travelling is a passion. The logistics of planning a road trip, international travel, or a bear watching trip while also managing diabetes away from home means I’m skilled at seeing the big picture and then working out the small details.
I know how to look for potential problems, adapt on the fly and see opportunities instead of roadblocks.
Writing and photography are also my passions. Having a passion (or several) reduces stress, engages your heart and mind, stimulates curiosity and encourages creativity.
Your passion doesn’t need to be your career.
It is for some people, and maybe that’s what you’re looking to change now, just don’t feel pressured to keep looking for it because that’s what you think you should do.
However, the benefits of having something in your life that you truly enjoy doing has a positive impact on all aspects of your life.
Do you ever feel like you’re treading water? Why?
During the last few years of my previous career at a public library, I felt like I was treading water. I was putting in the effort and doing the best I could. However, I didn’t feel like I was going where I wanted to go. I began to feel out of sorts with the work that was expected in my role.
But, there were also friendships and inspiration to be found in working for an organization that serves the community, but it was also exhausting and stressful
There were new challenges and new opportunities put in my path, so I kept on treading water, and eventually became quite skilled at it. That made it harder to move on, even though I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be.
My work provided a comfortable life, but I knew I was capable of something more.
The Bargaining Phase
Maybe you can tell I was bargaining with myself a lot.
Thoughts like, “It’s not so bad; I should feel lucky to have a good job. I have friends here. I belong here.”
What are you determined to do in your lifetime?
I was determined to figure out what kind of contribution I wanted to make for the second half of my life and career. This was when the inner, tiny sparks of possibility began to emerge and I started to get to the heart of what matters to me.
So, the great thing about treading water at that time?
It was a safe place to be while I made a plan. It made me stronger and more resolute, and I started to believe I could handle anything. My resolve only deepened over time.
Once you know what you are capable of, and really get to the heart of what matters to you, everything around you starts to look different.
I was still treading water, but it was now with purpose and focus and a plan to move forward.
The Heart of What Matters
There is room for everyone to be who they are.
It doesn’t matter whether you dive into the deep end of the pool or dip your toes in at the shallow end. Whether you are the person who lights up a room when you walk in or if you enter quietly and take it all in…a go-getter or someone who takes the scenic route.
Maybe you think of yourself as someone in between.
Getting to the heart of what matters to you helps you change how you think of yourself. You’ll discover the inner resources you have to draw on to enjoy your life and work.
I’ll help you appreciate who you are, define what matters to you and figure out what works for you.
When you know you can manage anything that comes your way, you will be challenged to go beyond what you think you are capable of achieving. That’s how you reach your goals, come alive in what you do and make a meaningful impact on the world around you.
That’s my approach as a Personal Development Coach.