I was thinking this morning about the importance of the profession that I am in. Besides doing various trainings, workshops and consulting, I also coach people. Coaching is a profession that continues to develop but it originally came out of the self help industry. Many of the first coaches were publicists, consultants, sales professionals, and financial advisors. Much of what these people loved about what they did was helping people figure out how to achieve their best.
My own career was in full swing when I was a celebrity lecture agent. Without knowing it, and calling it mentoring, I was coaching college students all over the country in their future careers, their dating lives, or what to do for their summer break. I got really great at asking questions and giving accurate feedback about what I was hearing. I enjoyed pushing people to the next level and enjoyed helping them see that they already HAD the talent they needed to achieve their goals. Now, they just needed a plan.
Years later I see how it sometimes just takes ONE conversation to really turn a person's life around. And I truly believe that everyone should take the time to find someone to engage with in this conversation.
This is a typical conversation that I have with a first time client. "I'm not satisfied with my job. There's no creativity or I'm just not that into it. I want to try something new but I don't know what." Or, "there are so many things I like to do that I can't just seem to focus on one".
Here is how two of the conversations went recently:
I went to lunch with a young woman who has one child who is about to go to school. She had a successful corporate career but has no desire to go back to corporate America. She has so many things she enjoyed so I asked her to make a list of the things she really loved to do:
The list included:
Working with teenagers
So, I went through the list and crossed off the ones that weren't going to bring her the income she needed and that she can do for fun at church. (Singing and working with teens). Next, I combined the rest of them and asked if she had ever considered running a professional organizers business?
The look in her eyes was definitely worth gold! She lit up like a Christmas tree because she had never thought of that before. And all we did was combine her talents into one job title.
Now, a few weeks later, she's busy reading everything she can get her hands on and starting to make plans to promote her business. She's told me that she'll be doing lots of free organizing jobs to get referrals in the beginning so she agreed to put me on that list! Its' not going to happen overnight, but with baby steps every day, she'll gain experience, confidence, and hopefully, clients!
Another conversation that took place recently was a life changing one for a guy who lived on my street. Steve has two kids and a wife who had been at home with their kids since they were born. His wife, Anne, was a nurse and he was a computer programer. Over time, the type of programming he did was phased out. Somehow, he didn't see that coming and never got trained on anything else.
When I last saw him at the pool, I knew he had just lost his job. He was trying to decide what else to do. So, I asked him the all important question:
"If you could do anything else in the world, what would it be?"
Steve admitted that he would love to be creative on the computer by doing graphic art but he had no idea where to start and besides he felt it was too late to build a career on a dream. We brainstormed about how to get started from taking classes to doing some volunteer or freebie projects on the side to learn the basics.
I knew also that his wife had "Had it up to Here" with his lack of motivation and knew that she was facing going back to work full time as a nurse. As it turned out, that is exactly what she did, until Steve realized that he could in fact, plan for his dream.
Recently, a For Sale Sign went up and they moved to Florida. Steve is going back to school to learn Graphic Design, and Anne is going to work until he gets his degree.
I know of no better way to make someone's day than to push them in the directions of their dreams. Even when someone's dreams are out of the ordinary or so far fetched that you can't imagine it yourself, it's still a wonderful gift to help someone figure out HOW to do it, or at least encourage them to try.
Everyone has dreams. But not everyone is pursuing them. If you are one of the lucky ones who is, then what are you doing to help other people pursue their dreams? And if you AREN'T pursuing your dreams, then realize that you won't be really content until you are moving in that direction.
I have a bracelet that has a wonderful quote on it. I wear it when I need some extra motivation. It says:Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.Thoreau, Henry David
Who knew that life could be made more simple, with only one conversation!
My advice? GET TALKING!
COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS:
Hi Mary------that was the best blog I have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You do absolutely have a very unique gift-of helping people to find their gift and the how to,s of setting people on the path towards that goal. E. M, Florida
To learn more about Mary go to: http://www.marygardner.com/
Mary Gardner is an Executive Communications Consultant and Coach. She works with, coaches and trains individuals, sales teams, executives, and celebrities. She enjoys seeing the best come out in people and has fun in the process. Mary is married to Sway and is mommy to Jeremy 5 and lives in Orlando, FL.