December 11, 2013

Giving the Gift of Validation

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“Do you think it would be foolish if I quit my job and focused on reinventing myself?”

A former life coaching client wrote this to me in a recent email. It is not the first time I’ve been asked this and I’m quite certain it won’t be the last. My answer depends on the client and the circumstances.

What made a big impact on me with this one was her willingness to even engage the idea. She’s been on a circuitous career journey and I fully believe she can do this. On some level she knew that and it’s why she chose to write to me. I am sure of it. I cannot begin to express how happy that makes me.

I’m not kidding. I believe in you. I see you doing it. Taking that class for certification. Going on that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Getting that photo exhibit of your work. What’s that you say? Everyone else in your life thinks the practical route would be better? There are times for practicality and there are times for going out and getting what you want.

Oh, I Live Riveted to the idea of planting seeds.

A former client wrote last month to share that he’s working in a field that involves after-school programs for children. While I was coaching him he was a CEO, one who seemed much more interesting than the stuffy job he held. Through story and example, I planted seeds as we worked on his specific leadership goals. While I take no direct credit for his decision and discovery of the work he now says he’s “supposed” to be doing, I know I challenged his conventional, safe thinking. It was a start.

My social media accounts are peppered with former clients who are in their own creative businesses or who are doing what they need to on the side to be able to pursue their art or other passions in a real way. Steady validation works its way in. They find if they try to go back to their mundane existence they can’t shake the thought that there is something better for them and it’s possible.

In fact, not only can they be or do something else, they’ll probably be good at it and have more peace of mind. It’s not necessarily easier or less work or more money, just a better fit.

Knowing what I know about that client who wrote me the aforementioned email, my answer flowed easily from my gut to the tips of my fingers on the keyboard:

“Reinvention? Foolish? Heck no. Keep me posted.”

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