Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A New Old Journey

Several years ago, I stumbled into the world of leadership development and coaching, thanks to my friend Sytske. A mutual friend of ours suggested we have a cup of coffee as Sytske wanted a bit of advice on her business and thought I might be able to help her a little. What was supposed to be just a cup of coffee, ended up changing my life and that change is still happening today. We ended up becoming business partners, and it didn’t last very long due to the fact that I just wasn’t ready. I wanted to be and I thought I was, but looking back, I just wasn’t.

I went into it with the wrong attitude, and more importantly, I started teaching and communicating it, but I wasn’t living it and before long, on my end, things began to unravel and there was no choice but for me to bow out of what Sytske and I were trying to build. I had learned a very valuable lesson, there is no way to succeed while pretending. I spoke about things like authenticity while at the same time not being very authentic at all. I eventually learned that I couldn’t ‘do’ authentic. It might seem obvious, but I really didn’t get it back then.

A lot has happened between then and now. I can honestly say that I have been pulled apart, stripped to the core and rebuilt. I have spent much of the last several years questioning, examining and rebuilding pretty much every part of my life, much of it here on this blog. There were many times I hated it, times I wasn’t sure I would make it through, and often times I wasn’t sure I wanted to make it through.

Now, a part of my life has come full circle. I am one again, or maybe really for the first time, entering the world of leadership development and coaching. Many of the things I used to know from books, I now know from experience. All those years ago, I wasn’t willing to be vulnerable. Now, after everything I’ve gone through and shared, I have nothing to hide. There are things I have chosen not to share, but that is different than hiding.

Two weeks ago, I joined the John Maxwell Team. I am going through the certification process now and it feels like a great fit for me. Now, instead of reading or learning something and getting it in theory, I really get it. So much of what I discovered on my journey the past few years is now resurfacing in was that let me see it differently. Some of those things I will be sharing in time. This really feels different than before.

One of my favorite classes I love to do at the Nevada Women’s Business Center is “Start With Why”, using materials from the author, Simon Sinek. I really know what my “why” is. And I have the “how” and the “what” all lined up as well. The first time around, my “why” was money, on being “seen” a certain way. My “why” was a lot of ego. This time, I am focused on making a difference and adding value. Money will come, but instead of being the focus, it will be a result of a different goal.

It was over ten years ago that I met Sytske for a cup of coffee. While our business didn’t work out for me, that cup of coffee started me on a path that has made a difference. Many of the conversations we had pondered all those years ago came back and got me through so many rough times. Going through those last few years, I had a lot of support from the outside, but the bulk of what needed doing was internal and I was the only person that could do anything about it. I could often hear Sytske’s voice asking me questions as she would often do, the ones that would make me think and get me to look at things differently. Sometimes I liked the questions I would hear her ask and other times, she was downright annoying in all those conversations I had with myself. Sometimes it’s the most annoying and uncomfortable questions we need the most. She definitely has a gift and by sharing it with me, she helped more than either of us could have ever imagined. Once again, I am amazed by the way a seemingly random encounter can have such an impact on someone. It makes me so aware that anything I do, not matter how seemingly insignificant, might be the thing that changes everything for someone or myself.

Having no idea what I was rally going to write, it seems this is as much about starting a new phase in my life as it is about the gratitude I have for knowing Sytske.

So, Sytske, thank you.