- “I only work with coaches who have 15+ years of experience.
- Great, I qualify.
- But I thought you have been coaching for only 4 years…?
- That is true, too.
- I am confused…
- It’s true only 4 years ago have I decided to pursue coaching as a profession and treat it as my true calling. However, I have been on my own self-discovery journey since I was 12 years old. When have you became the leader of this organization?
- 4 year ago.
- And when have you started your own self-discovery journey?
- When I was 28 years old. After my father died.
- Well, you see deep coaching begins with us first. A great coach cannot take her clients further than she has gone herself. I have 16 years (28 -12) of experience ahead of you. Are you interested in finding new possibilities for your growth as a leader in places where you haven’t looked yet? I have already visited many places and I will gladly be your guide.”
This was a conversation I had with a high-ranking Engineering leader who wasn’t shy to let me know I wasn’t “experienced enough” to work with him.
Then he asked me what motivated me at age 12 to start my journey into who I was, what was my purpose in life, and why I was put on this earth.
I told him my motivation came after my grandma passed away. She, I felt at that time, was the only person who really saw me for who I was and believed in me 100%, 100% of the time.
After her death I saw myself going down on one of these two roads:
- The road of deep and dark sadness because I felt nobody cared anymore about who I was or understood what I wanted and why;
- The road of discovering who I truly was in order to be able to tell others who didn’t get me, didn’t like me and called me names because I had freckles (I still do).
A voice inside of me told me to choose the road of self-discovery. That voice might have been my grandma’s voice. She really was the one who told me and made me believe it, too that I was here for a reason, that I had a purpose greater than myself in life, and that I was enough and beautiful with or without my freckles – no matter what others’ said or thought.
When you are 10-11 years old you believe every word your grandma tells you. I sure did.
So, when she passed it was clear she would have wanted me to look for all those things on my own, while she would look down on me from Heavens.
To this day I believe she is looking down on me.
- “Just like you, I thought I was doing it, the self-discovery, for her. Just like you have started yours – to be like your father. I wanted to know how to be like my grandma: confident, strong, loving, caring, smart and independent. Only after years into my journey did I realize I had to own my self-discovery for myself. By then I learned enough about myself to confidently tell anyone I knew I could become whatever I wanted. I saw no limitations in being poor, a minority, a girl or even someone with freckles. I believed I could fly. So, I flew out of my parents’ apartment at a very early age – literally and figuratively.”
Today, sadly, such conversations – “you are not enough” – are still happening in many interactions we might be part of or witnesses of.
I believe by simply receiving a position or a title isn’t what makes us enough of a leader, a coach, a teacher or …
Our own journey in life gives us the right to be enough because surviving life’s darkest moments are our indisputable evidences of we are enough.
By standing here now, by owning who we are we all bring 15+, 20+ or 30+ years of leadership, decision-making, communication, you name it, into the position we are proud to be in today.
If you look back at your life through this lens do you see your 12-year-old self who started her self-discovery journey? Maybe you were younger or older that me. However, I believe you had a moment in your life, too when you made a similar choice.
A choice to survive rather than to perish. It was probably triggered by an event (death for me) and you were not even aware what you have decided in that moment of your life. As humans, we are wired to choose survival – in every minute of our lives.
I wonder how you would respond to those who think you are not enough if you would find your 15+ years of evidence of “being enough” in your life story today…
I wonder what the impact would be on the well-being of our communities if we all believed we were enough…
What I believe for sure is this:
You are more than enough.
You have a reason why you are on this earth.
You have a purpose greater than yourself.
You are beautiful, just the way you are.