This blog post is in response to a recent Talkback Tuesday post, and I would like to say thank you to relaxlavender for asking “What advice would you give to yourself knowing what you know now about your journey over the past year or two?”

When I first read this question, the following points immediately came to the fore; I didn’t really even have to think about them:

  • Be kind to yourself
  • It is ok to not get it right
  • You really do have it within you to do whatever you like; just look within
  • The opinions of others and yourself are not “the truth”

As I was reflecting on this later, I felt certain that, if I could meet the Deanne who walked into that very first coaching conversation, this would be the advice that I would give her. However, a further question also came to me: Knowing what I know now, if I was the Deanne who walked into that very first coaching conversation, would I want to hear this advice?

My assessment is that in the time leading up to that first coaching conversation and also for many months following, I was suffering. A further assessment that I hold is that it is human nature to want to remove suffering, and this is why the Deanne of today would want to offer the aforementioned advice. However, knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would want to hear this advice if I was the Deanne who walked into that first coaching conversation. I think I would feel somewhat cheated.

The journey that started with that first coaching conversation has been amazing, and I feel as though I have learned so much. If I had been given advice back then based on what I know now, I may not have experienced this journey. Without this journey, I may not have experienced new and amazing friendships. I may also not have started to follow a much earlier dream of becoming a coach, or have experienced the wonderful support of an international ontological coaching community. I may never have learnt how to manage my crazy, overthinking mind, and I may not have learnt so many amazing things about myself and my interactions with others. Would I have known how to consciously experience the mood of wonder without this journey? And what about that amazing, bubbling and energetic feeling of combining peace, ambition and wonder; would I have experienced that?

As I was writing this post, I was reminded of something that I wrote in my final coaching course assignment, relevant to my experience of the course. This felt similar to how I was feeling in answering this question, and I have included a modified version below, relevant to my ontological journey:

I don’t think that anything I could say to my former self would necessarily improve how my life progressed; it would simply change the experience and the available learning. When I think about my journey in this context, I become quite protective about preserving the experience that I had; I will always be incredibly grateful for the learning that came to me as a result of this journey, and I will forever hold it quite close to my heart. I wouldn’t want anything to change that.

This then led me to thinking that perhaps there was some different advice that the Deanne of today would like to give the Deanne of a few years ago, and perhaps I just hadn’t worked out what it was yet.

It was then that it occurred to me.

If I could offer advice to an earlier version of myself, or to anyone for that matter, it would simply be: “In everything that you do, always strive to be a committed learner and always trust that the answer lies somewhere within you.”

My opinion is that, in those early days, I judged myself for for being a learner. This advice would have allowed me to understand, right from the beginning, that learning is ok. Instead, for quite some time, I operated from the assumption that the people around me were simply being kind, and that learning was a euphemism for failure.

How would it be if we all understood that being a learner in life is ok?

In everything that you do, always strive to be a committed learner, and always trust that the answer lies somewhere within you.

– The featured image in this blog post is a photo by Janko Ferlic from Pexels

Who am I? 
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.

4 thoughts on “What Advice Would I Give to my Former Self?

  1. Brilliant! I like your point about maybe your former self wouldn’t want to hear what you have to say. I think when we are in a brand new situation with a number of hurdles to get over to get to the end goal…we can’t imagine ourselves ever having the skills we are aiming for or doing a job we love. I did the Couch 2 5k about 4 years ago and I’d never run anytime in my life….so in my first week the thought of ever running for 30 mins was so far out of reach and I thought it would never be achievable. But week 9 came and amazingly I did it. But anyone I spoke to beforehand, I just didn’t believe them! I love your advice! Great! You did amazing on your coaching journey, and learning is always a positive….but I understand why you thought is meant failure. But no one would have been thinking that of you. Great post. Thanks for the mention. Looking forward to your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well done on couch 2 5k – that’s awesome! I hold a strong assessment that we are taught through from an early age that learning means “not knowing” and I think this is why it is quite easy to attribute needing to learn with failing, if we need to learn, we don’t “know” and knowing is the path to power and success. The thing that I have learnt is that being a learner and accepting that we may not “know” is incredibly powerful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that’s so true, our parents instil that learning in us, as does society… that we need to learn as we don’t know! So true. Leading us to believe that others essentially know more than us if we then decide to learn something new. That is very powerful! It’s ok to not know! Insightful! Thank you! X

        Liked by 1 person

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