It’s hard for me to not have some sense of responsibility and guilt for all that has happened to me since I got big-time sick at the end of last August. But maybe there’s a larger truth here. Maybe something wonderful is trying to emerge, in its own curious way and time. A recent newsletter from one of my former coaches and colleagues, Christine McDougall, brought that point home to me. I share it with you as part of this week’s Provision with the hope that it stirs you as much as it did me. Perhaps your own trials are a form of testing that will generate something really, really big.
If anyone had told me on August 29 of last year that I was about to start the biggest and most challenging adventure my life, an adventure that just about ended my life, I would have found that hard to believe and might even have questioned their sanity. I had my way of doing things in the world pretty well figured out, and that way had nothing to do with brain inflammation or its consequent deficits and limitations. I was on top of my little world, or so I thought, and things were moving along quite nicely.
Then, bam!, everything came apart at the seams. You know all about that if you are family, friends, or a reader of Provisions and I won’t bore you with the story again. But a recent edition of one of my former coaches, Christine McDougall, has given me something to think about in terms of how this terrible, horrible, no-good experience – this time of testing – could be viewed in some ways as a gift. Here were her thoughts and, if you find them to be both intriguing and uplifting – as I do – I encourage you to Subscribe Yourself to her email newsletter, which is sent out a couple of times a month.
If you check out the articles I have written these last two weeks you can probably figure out the state of my being. When I sit down to write I either write from what I am experiencing, what I am learning, or what I am observing in the world.
It’s been a pretty up and down fortnight. And I have been having major insights left right and centre. One of those insights is that when you are called to do something big, you will also be tested big time. Everything that is not solid ground for you will be challenged, and then even the solid ground. It can feel really sucky….and hard…sometimes frankly terrifying.
I had not really considered this before. We live in fantasies of smooth sailing. But smooth sailing, whist delightful, is rarely where the big shifts occur.
My journal has been getting a major workout. If you are creating a business called Screw Business as Usual Ventures, then it is important for the business itself to be an exemplar of business as unusual. That also means that the players, and the leaders..consider all assumptions, all of the rules of culture and society, not for the sake of being rebellious, but for the intention of creating something more healthy.
One of my own personal challenges is the notion that in order for me to be of value in the world I have to be busy busy busy, doing doing doing. Even while my mind knows that this is a load of baloney…that real work can be internal, enacted in silence and stillness….I continue to fight the cultural conditioning that says anything that is not busy is a waste.
For me, spending time by the beach, in the early morning after my run, contemplating, journaling, tuning in to my business, to my relationships, to my health…is one of the most important aspects of my day. While I give myself permission to do this several times a week, I know it would be far more beneficial for me to do this most days. We humans are funny…we usually know exactly what is best for us…and yet it takes so much breaking through the resistance to implement this.
And here is another Screw Business as Usual practice I am implementing…that when things feel stuck…or when I am upset, angry, frustrated….I turn on some good music and DANCE. (or you could go for a walk, or run, or box…)
In the future offices of Screw BAU Ventures we are going to have to have a room for dancing. Maybe even singing….nothing like the music up loud and your lungs on full throttle…to release some angst and get a different perspective. Far more healthy than to take it out on your colleague or spouse.
I would love to hear from you about what practices work for you…and what you would like to see in a business/work environment that allows the healthy and vital flow of creativity, care, excellence, love…if you have any thoughts to add to my musings.
Enjoy the articles..and leave comments if they inspire you. It takes only one person to get a conversation started.
We are building a tribe, so if you know anyone who you think might like to be part of this…send this on, I will bow in gratitude from the southern shores of the Pacific.
Let’s be bold like Richard Branson for at least the next few weeks, warmly, Chris
It’s ironic and perhaps not coincidental that Christine, who is a reader of LifeTrek Provisions, would send out these reflections on the big challenges of life. It sounds like she has been having her own challenges of late and that she is framing those challenges as a foundation for doing something great in the world. What a concept! Namely, that when we are called to do something big, we will also be challenged big time as a form of preparation, occupation, and perhaps even examination.
If so, then I am on the way to doing something really, really big because I have sure been challenged and tested in really, really, really big ways. I didn’t ask for this; it just came upon me. But I have gotten this far by faith, by medical science, and by the support of my family and friends. I am being prepared, occupied, and examined in some of the most challenging ways imaginable. And it is definitely changing my way of being in the world.
Ironically, some of my new practices mirror Christine’s. I take more naps. I go for walks, rather than runs, and I stop periodically, while I am on those walks, to just look around and enjoy the world. I also like to listen to loud music and to sing along to my favorite tunes. And, on occasion, Megan and I have even gotten up to dance. It’s all part of the healing of this brain and I wish I had started some of these practices before I got sick. Had I done so, maybe they would have prevented some of the problems that I am now counting on them to heal.
One thing is certain: until and unless we have a regular routine of work as well as rest, of stress as well as recovery, we will drive into the ground our bodies, minds, and spirits. Before I got sick, I was good at talking that talk but I was not always walking that walk. I was, in fact, far better at tackling the stressful work side of the equation – nonstop if need be to get the job done – than at taking on the restful recovery side of the equation. And that lack of balance took it’s tool.
I encourage you, then, to get into a good rhythm and to stay with it consistently. That’s what it takes to reach our full potential and make the best contribution possible in life and work. And who doesn’t want to do that?
Coaching Inquiries: What challenges are coming your way right now? Do you view them more as setbacks or as opportunities? What has stimulated some of your deepest and most profound growth in life and work? What would it take to get your heart, mind, and soul into that place again?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.
I want to acknowledge your upside-down-shake-everything-up-and-begin-again experience that began over a year ago. I open your messages only occasionally so I didn’t know for a long time and then started hearing bits of your story. I can’t even imagine your experience. I’m so glad you are carrying on.
I want to also share that I, too, am emotionally moved by the song “Weeping.” When I first heard it I didn’t know about it’s connection to South Africa. I made the connection to someone dear to me, my ex-husband who, to avoid facing himself fully, built a wall of fierceness that, unintentionally, kept the people who loved him at a distance.
Yeah! for you, a strong man and leader, for being willing and able to share your experience with weeping. It feels good to me too. Love to you and Megan.
Your last Provision was beautiful! Authenticity always is…
May you be filled with goodness, peace, joy, and health.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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