I started this year expecting that I would have a viable coaching business within 6-12 months. Additionally, I expected to design, develop and deliver online training and to have a well-followed leadership blog.
Right from the start, my plan and the reality that I created didn’t quite align. I was somewhat exhausted after finishing my coaching course. I was also a little paralysed by the amount of work that seemed to be involved in kicking off a business. I didn’t feel ready to write leadership programs. I was harbouring some fear and anxiety about my coaching that enabled me to find many reasons for not advertising my services as a coach. And then I started a personal blog that was totally not in my plan, yet was such a wonderful experience for me that it gave me an excuse to procrastinate on everything else.
And so it was that a couple of months ago I found myself reflecting on how I am the proud owner of two blogs, a heap of ontological contacts throughout the world, no paying clients, and a half-written leadership program. When I compared myself with others who had completed the course with me, it felt as though I had very much under-achieved. While others were completing hours towards their coaching accreditation, and building a significant client base, I didn’t have a business and didn’t look to be getting one any time soon. This felt like failure.
It was an email from a friend that helped me to start looking at my achievements differently. My friend commented that they saw me always moving forward, while also fitting my blogs and business in amongst a full-time job, a husband, children, and various other commitments that were all important to me.
It finally occurred to me that, although I haven’t done everything that I expected to do this year, I have also done many things that I never expected to do…
- I didn’t expect to start this blog.
- I didn’t expect to be interacting with other coaches and ontological practitioners via social media and other groups.
- I didn’t expect to be helping to coordinate some ontological coaching groups with which I am involved.
- I didn’t expect to have people contacting me, asking for permission to use some of my blog posts in newsletters and so forth.
- I didn’t expect to make contact with one of my favourite ontological authors.
- I didn’t expect to meet so many other amazing coaches and bloggers, from whom I have learnt so much.
- I didn’t expect to feel so passionate about the leadership program that I am writing.
- I didn’t expect to feel drawn to delivering programs in person.
- I didn’t expect to be planning to write the book I have been wanting to write for years.
- I didn’t expect to feel so convinced that I will achieve my goal.
- I didn’t expect to be so at peace with who I am.
- I didn’t expect to be wholeheartedly backing myself in the next stage of my journey.
It occurred to me that, at the beginning of the year, I expected myself to take a certain path, one that aligned with the paths that others had taken. However, as life and I did our thing together, I changed the path by taking my own unique combination of scenic routes and short cuts.
With some further reflection, it hit me. This year, I didn’t blindly walk the path that I felt I had to walk. Instead, I gave myself permission to create my own path.
As I started to reflect on what creating my own path had meant to me, I felt as though I was bathing in wonder. So many opportunities came up this year that I never would have thought were possible. And, while it feels as though I still don’t have my coaching business where I would like it to be, I now feel as though I have laid a solid foundation. Not only have I created networks that I feel privileged to be a part of, I have also experienced some fantastic learning. I can’t help thinking that so much would be missing from my offer as a coach if I had rushed forward and created a business right from the start.
This new perspective led me to thinking about the potentially unhelpful expectations and standards that we sometimes place on ourselves. We can fall into the trap of thinking that we “have” to do things a certain way, or in a certain order, especially when we start comparing ourselves to others. However, what if we gave ourselves permission to create our own path, learning along the way and doing and being the version of ourselves that works for us in that moment?
And so, my question for today is, what would it take for you to give yourself permission to simply do you, your way?
As a leadership and life coach, I help others to see new possibilities. 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.