What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Back in August I joined a professional life coaches group on LinkedIn. As a freshly minted leadership coach testing the waters of self-employment for a year, this seemed like a wise idea. Here’s my picture so far:
There are a ton of coaches out there, scattered across the globe.
Since we’re all on this particular networking platform it makes sense that people use the space to call attention to their unique offerings.
Sometimes a contributor posts a link to a useful article or interesting video.
Some coaches post questions, usually about the business side of things.
It seems that the vast majority of us need or would like to have more clients. Some folks have some tricks of the trade they are willing to share (for a small fee).
Several contributors seem like actors in an empty theater, just hoping that someone, anyone will stumble across their special slice of heaven on offer.
If you read a few introductory tag lines, you may be overcome with either infinite optimism that You Can Change Your Life Right Now or perhaps remarkable cynicism that what sounds like so much snake oil marketing is perhaps just that, backed, however, by someone with really good intentions.

The more notices that land in my in-box, the more convinced I become that this probably is not the right group for me. If more of the conversations were about the practice of coaching – good, bad and in between – I would feel more inclined to stay and contribute. As is, I feel like just one more face in that immense target audience who ought to be wooed, won over, impressed and ultimately sold. That’s not what I came for and I see this set-up is not serving me. At all.

My year of self-employed coaching is going just fine if I allow it to just go. Focusing on doing my best coaching every session with every single client is the best way I can think of to retain great clients and attract new ones. Extolling the virtues of my offerings through random social media appearances will likely never appeal; recruiting the most interesting and forward-thinking clients I can discover absolutely does.

If you happen to fit that description (interesting and forward-thinking), I am on the lookout for you and the lessons you have to share. Until that time, thrive, be happy and pay no mind to the snake oil sale underway in your neighborhood.

“Wrong Way” Need Not Apply

image: pixabay.com
image: pixabay.com

If you are starting something new as I currently am, you may find yourself running into obstacles you could not have easily anticipated beforehand. And some of those obstacles may prove to be downright discouraging. They seem to bear signs saying: Dead End, Wrong Way, or Do Not Enter. If you are typical rule follower as I tend to be, you may take those signs at face value and  do what appears to make sense: turn around, change course.  At present I see those signs in front of me and I’m thinking: how can I be sure that these signs apply to me? Maybe these signs are for cars but I’m a pedestrian.  What if these signs are outdated and no longer accurate?  How brave am I feeling right now?  What if I ignore this sign and keep on going?

That’s the abstract. The concrete version goes like this: my head is full of great ideas, plans, offerings. So I seek my audiences, find out who might have an interest and make the necessary pitches. And then I wait. And wait. And wait. Then I come up with more plans, more ideas, more offerings and share. The waiting for responses drags on. The silence and the waiting become my daily companions.  The waiting is my obstacle, the lack of response: a wrong way sign.

While I contemplate the potential accuracy of that “wrong way” sign,  I refer to this quote from The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist in which she explains the power of sufficiency as a mindset:

“Sufficiency resides in each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances. In our relationship with money, it is using it in a way which expresses our integrity; using it in a way that expresses value rather than determines value. Sufficiency is not a message about simplicity or about cutting back and lowering expectations. Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire. Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources. Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough.” (p.74-75)

Wait a minute. In the scenario above  I have of course made my waiting a burden; something to be gotten through, endured.  I have given the obstacle and the signs their meaning.  And yet, waiting is a choice. Seeing the waiting as an obstacle or an opportunity is a choice.  I can choose to view and  use the time differently. I can create value in this time at my disposal rather than watch it evaporate untapped.  This assumed period of “inactivity” between creating and connecting becomes a resource.  If I dare to  “call forward” a sense of inner sufficiency, I create the opportunity for developing resources around me.  Once I realize that I am too curious to quit now, that is when and how those “wrong way,” “Dead End” and “Do Not Enter” signs lose their power over me and my judgment.  I let go of scarcity as my default mindset and press on.

To scarcity thinking, I hold up my own STOP sign and say:

I am waiting and I am productive.

I’m scared and I am enough.

I’m uncertain and I am enough.

I’m taking a risk and I am enough.

I fear that I won’t have, do, or be enough and yet, I am and continue to be enough.

Here I go.

(For those of you who following this as a process, it is an example of “reframing” which enables you to change the perspective on a topic and work from that new perspective.)