The Coach is In…
“If ever there were a true “just as I am” church, if ever there were a community where everybody could bring all their baggage and brokenness with them without neat and tidy happy endings quite yet, if ever there was a group where everyone was loved and no one pretended – we could not make enough room inside the building.” – John Ortberg
The Me I Want to Be
In my last post we explored if the way we were living our life was getting us what we want? What do we want? A corollary to this question is, “Do we like who we are becoming?” I have to admit, I needed to ask that question in my 20’s and 30’s more than I did. Yet, I was ‘becoming’ someone. More often I would ask, “Do I like who I am?” As I discovered over time, the more discerning question is, “Do I like who I am becoming?” It has a forward focus that speaks of the fluid nature of the journey. Liking who I was ‘becoming’ asks me to evaluate the journey of the ‘who’ I was becoming, not just whether I liked myself. Perhaps they are one in the same, but not necessarily. There are times when our current journey leaves the path we were on, sometimes it is a good path; sometimes not. The stronger our sense of self is, the easier it is to know when we are being ‘ourselves’ and when we are not.
For me, the ‘who’ I am becoming is about the person. Beyond a general sense of who I am as a person, I can answer who I am becoming by any number of the major roles I play – husband, father, grandfather, uncle, coach, co-worker, leader at work or in the community, brother, friend etc. Each carries an answer to, “Do I like who I am becoming (in that role).”
Why is this important? Because there is a connection between “am I getting what I want from the way I am living”, and “do I like who I am becoming.” The answers tell us what is working, what is not; whether how we are living our lives and the ‘who’ we are becoming are working. I will share a portion of my story that will illustrate when/why the two questions may not be in sync with one another.
John Ortberg wrote a book, The Me I Want to Be. He indicates his belief that we have “a me we want to be.” I believe that we are built for purpose. I’m not convinced that it is only one purpose, but the answers to those questions determine a lot about the fulfillment we feel in life. The notion of ‘purpose’ and the notion that we have a ‘me we want to be’ may not connect with all of you. For now, I invite you to accept these notions as true and see where they lead.
Some of my clients, when talking about a greater purpose, will express that they believe they have a greater purpose. They will also express that they have no idea where to begin. I didn’t either. I do remember at 14 or 15, give or take 2 – 3 years, asking myself, “Why am I here?” I kept asking that question, over and over and over for at least two – three decades. Like a small ripple in a pond when a pebble is dropped in, I would use a skill, or have an interaction that stirred something in me that was very positive. Then I would use a skill, or have an interaction that stirred the opposite. Initially, these were simply impressions (ripples) on my brain at a subconscious level. As I grew older and encountered more of these experiences (through my mid-20’s) the information became more conscious and my actions became more intentional, particularly around job experience (skills I want to use, skills/talent I want to grow, areas that I likely should avoid).
There was a parallel experience with the relationships I wanted to be in and those that I didn’t. This experience was more intuitive, and had flaws because of my lack of experience, particularly as it related to dating. I would also say that the question of ‘whether I liked who I was becoming’ was more at the subconscious level until my late 30’s. Similar to my experience with my career, I was amassing information long before I was connecting the significance of that experience. Simply put, I did not know who I was through my own lens until my late 30’s. I had been too busy paying attention to who others wanted me to be. Before I could answer the question of ‘did I like who I was becoming’ I had to answer the question of who I was, and more of why was I here? I had a lot more information about why I was here than I did about who I was.
I used to think that it was strange that I knew more about what I wanted to do than who I was/wanted to become. Over time I began to understand that the ‘purpose’ journey did not always have an order to it. The major pieces (who I was, what I was here to do) could be built at different times without all the integration you would anticipate. My early 40’s became the time of integration, first, of who I was, and then understanding the purpose of my life through the lens of who I was. (Incidentally, my 40’s became the time in my life where I felt most fulfilled as a result of the work I had done around why I am here, and who I am. It is why I have so much passion for the ‘internal’ work. I experience the fruits of that labor in how my life has evolved.) I recognized in my 50’s continued integration, including leaving one career and moving into coaching. This move was a more intentional shift into why I am here – “to work with and encourage others to become the highest version of themselves they can be.” The ‘deeper dive’ into who I am and why I am here has continued through my 60’s.
Reflecting on this journey, I recognize the power of ‘emerging’, ‘discovering’ who you are and why you are here. It creates a focus in your daily life that informs your choices at a micro and macro level – “Does what I am choosing to do, or will choose to do, help me reach my goal(s). In my case that was to be an encouraging person, a curious person, a kind person in the course of helping others reach more of who they were created to be. That focus creates more satisfaction, as you/I/we are more likely to choose a path that is more aligned with who we are, want to be, doing the work that aligns with that person.
My story is not offered as a blueprint for how you should do this work. It is offered as an encouragement that this work, the work of your soul, is work that helps you to thrive in your life. Is that work worth pursuing?
What is your story? Where are you on your journey? Does any of my story resonate with you? What is the work that you need to do in order to get more of what you want in life? Is that work you want to do? Will it help you in the roles you play to be more of who you were created to be?
I look forward to you sharing with me your own observations about your journey.
To a better you…