I had an epiphany this week, after facilitating a workshop for professionals who are in the midst of career transitions that none of them initiated. The kind of transition that shakes confidence to the core, and causes fear-mongering lizard brains to stand up and be (double-) counted. Most of the participants still had their senses of humor intact, but their energy was drained, and hope was fading. One woman had just been turned down for her ‘dream job’ after what seemed to be a successful interview process, and she was still trying to understand what went ‘wrong.’
There was a moment before the workshop when I wondered if my contributions could make a difference in the face of the overwhelming pain in the room–much of it the kind of pain that comes from making up a story about what being unemployed might mean about them. I knew I could tell them my story of career confusion and my path to honoring my essential self. The fear and disorientation that comes from letting go of ego’s attachment to career identities, the difficulty hearing my own still, small voice, and the courage required to take one leap of faith after another. But would they believe me when I told them they can do it too? That they can pass through this period of their lives having learned something valuable about themselves? That there’s opportunity here to do a gut-check on whether this is really how they’re meant to serve the world? That what’s happening to them is neither bad nor good, and the experience is shaped solely by their own thoughts and beliefs?
The answer is no. They won’t, they can’t believe me. They can only hear what I’m saying if there’s a chink in their own social armor–a small crack through which they hear their own still, small voice, and see the glow of their inner light. The words just happen to be coming out of my mouth, but they resonate only because somewhere inside, their most essential self is trying to communicate one of its own truths. Otherwise, it’s woo-woo gibberish garbage.
Especially the part where I tell them that their focus on running out of money isn’t getting them a job any faster.
As a coach, I’m learning every day what it means to be a conduit for others, and to hold a safe space for them to more fully realize who they are at their core. I am more aware of my own role, a sort of hearing aid for those who are partially deaf to their soul’s calling.
When they hear something I’ve said, they’re really not listening to me at all. What they’re hearing is the whisper of their own wisdom. Truth is, I have never told a client something they didn’t already know. I guess I never will.