As a “coach” or just a person whose chosen profession is one that is centered around helping others, it can be a bit daunting. Sometimes the feelings of being “alone” in our feelings, or the idea that we are somehow not human can become an interference in our minds, as well as an unrealistic ideal in our clients eyes.
I will be the first to attest to my MANY, varied, often laughable, but truly human moments, faults and experiences. If someone chooses to coach out of a seat of righteousness … well that can be an approach for sure, but it isn’t my chosen path.
I am messy. As Mark Groves frequently says “our mess becomes our message” and I do agree, that we have a better insight and compassion when we have experienced real moments of not being our best self. I am divorced (I married very young and quickly), I have done drugs, drank (abused) alcohol, smoked cigarettes, battled with eating/weight & health, had a number of relationships that ultimately didn’t end in “forever” love, failed exams, gotten in loads of debt and SO much more. I was rude to my family and acted ugly toward people who cared for me. I have ghosted friends and other people because I didn’t want to “deal” with them or my own feelings. I have hidden things from people and kept big secrets.
For all those “negatives” though, I’ve done equally or more “positives” and I have taken the lessons with me. I do not believe that life is a “tit for tat” game of “balance the scales”. It is a journey of trial and error, that we just need to learn and remember the lessons. Each time we do something that feels “wrong” we are simultaneously learning our own values and beliefs. When we feel taken advantage of, or we are told what to do – we start to understand and create boundaries. When we hurt someone else or break our own hearts, we learn about compassion for self and others.
I know some of the best wisdom comes from living life, not reading about it and refusing to take part. We can read all the self improvement books or listen to the podcasts, but until we FEEL that moment of truth in a way that sticks with US, we won’t recognize it in someone else or be able to offer meaningful dialogue, questions or space to hold them through it. I love my life, and I love coaching others – but I know I need/needed every experience to bring me to coaching. Do I have EVERY experience? No. I’m not a parent, I can’t speak to that personally BUT I am a child, so perhaps there’s something hidden in that role to offer. I am not a man, but I have loved and been loved by men in various measures and ways, so I can draw from those relationships. I have not lost a partner to time or death, but I have lost friends and family, so I can empathize and offer loving support, even if it is through silence.
I encourage everyone to look for the lessons. What message is hiding in the scattered ashes of the “messes” of your life?