If your childhood was anything like mine, one of the questions most often asked was, “what are you going to be when you grow up?” It seems society is naturally inclined to look at this from the outside in. What we do will determine who we are and will inform our beliefs.
As a young adult, I was fortunate enough to follow the road less traveled. Ignoring the expectation to finish my master’s degree, move into corporate America, and start my career in the business world, I fell into coaching. My heart sang, my soul soared, and I considered myself one of the luckiest people on the planet.
Despite my good fortune, I didn’t escape the trap of putting things in the wrong order, nor its consequences. My decision to “do” coaching as my profession quickly and largely became my identity, recognizable by the time, energy, and focus I devoted to this endeavor, at the cost of many other relationships. This identity then informed my beliefs, namely that my competence and worth were determined by the performance of my team. And so the “do, do, do” trail began. Conference championships became national championships, which only made me feel the need to repeat the most recent success or else lose my sense of worth.
While working through the dissonance created by this unending cycle, an even bigger moment of truth arrived. I was fired. If I wasn’t coaching, then I wasn’t a coach. And if I wasn’t a coach, what was I?
Luckily, I had a builder. Chet had me write. Then he had me write more. Then he passed me on to John where we put first thing first. What do I believe? Who am I? What will and won’t I do? What are my passions? What’s my purpose? How am I going to live aligned? These are simple questions yet far from easy to answer. Knowing thyself is hard, intentional, and never-ending work.
Here is some of what I discovered. I am a coach, not because of what I did, but because of what I believe and who I am. I am a curious catalyst, predisposed to challenging myself and others to move out of their comfort zone. I am a strategic, commanding, activator. I am tough and growing more tender, a lover of people and their journeys. I believe that we are all here to grow towards love, and I will both rue and relish the difficulty of that climb.
How about you? Are you ready to “know thyself?” Are you willing to do the hard intentional work of writing your answers to these questions, and then write some more? Yesterday was Worldview, tomorrow is I am… get to it. Good.