Open Road Coaching and Consulting is on temporary hiatus.

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wile e coyote and the stupid dust

I had dinner with a newish friend tonight, with the intention to also give her a tarot reading as she navigates some really big changes (end of major relationship, beginning of master’s program and a new job). I showed up in my comfortable, well-worn role as the “helper,” but my friend in her wisdom wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily. She has attorney training and she’s a very skilled coach, a delightfully lethal combination, it turns out.

She said a couple of things to me during dinner that left me feeling like I’d been sprinkled with stupid dust. You know the feeling? Like Wile E. Coyote just over the lip of the canyon holding completely still before the fall.

Not a common feeling for an extroverted know-it-all, but one I’ve come to recognize as pay dirt for major leaps in my personal and professional life:

1. If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do things you’ve never done

After the stupid dust settled, it struck me as obvious. Well of course! You actually have to learn how to do it by trying to do it. If I wanted to be a professional bowler, would I read all the bowling books, join bowling groups, read bowling blogs, talk about bowling all the time, but not ever actually roll the ball down the aisle? Risk that I might actually suck at bowling? Why would I want to do that?!? I LOVE bowling!

Loving the idea of something is not the same as actually doing it. I realized this about 20 years ago when I heard a successful novelist say that being a writer meant spending 8-12 hours a day in a room by yourself focused on one thing. Yeah, I’m never going to do that. I like the idea of it, but it stops there.

What do I have to be willing to do to have what I really want? What about you?

2. “How much longer do you have?”

I’ve been having essentially the same conversation with my friends, colleagues and coach for the last 3 years. With more or less swearing, some iteration of “I want to completely focus my business on coaching people to discover and fulfill their calling but I’m scared to put myself out there.”

My friend asked me how much longer I was willing to play small. 3 years? A year? Six months? How did I feel when I thought about doing exactly what I’m doing now for another 3 years?

What’s that? You say it makes you feel sick?

Well, yes. Sick. The way many of my clients feel when they finally decide to call for help. Heavy, overwhelmed, exhausted.

So at my friend’s urging I gave myself the rest of this year to really focus on my own calling, to be curious about it, embrace it, embody it in the spirit it was given to me. Be willing to do things for it that I’ve never done before. Being married is good practice for this.

Stay tuned. Maybe Wile e Coyote might fly this time. And let me know what cliffs you’re hovering off the edge of.

A baked potato fell on my house and…

The other night I was sitting on my couch typing away on my laptop when I heard a very loud BANG!…thump, thump, thump (overhead), crash (into the weed jungle on the west side of my house).

Now, I love my neighborhood, but there are guns aimed and fired occasionally and I have had to call 911 several times in the last few years. So it makes sense that my first thought was “go get Dakota.” My partner is kind of a tough ass when she needs to be (she’s the one on the right in the photo).

She hadn’t heard the bang thump thump crash, but she gamely went out into the weed jungle to investigate, yelling back over her shoulder that I should keep away from the windows.

She thrashed around out there for about 3 minutes before I couldn’t stand it any more and opened the window to ask her what she’d found. Incredibly, she turned to face me and held up…yes, a baked potato. Intact except for a small round chunk missing from its side. We looked at each other for a looong tiiiime.

This is one of those stories that I will get mileage out of for years. But that’s not why I’m sharing it here on my blog for social change agents who want to fulfill their calling with ease and grace.

What I found myself thinking for days after “the incident” is the fact that I live in a world where a baked potato can fall out of the sky onto my house.

I did not know that. In fact if you had asked me before-hand whether I live in such a world, I probably would have said no. But I would have been wrong.

So what are all the other things that are possible in THIS world, my little sphere specifically, that I don’t currently believe in?

And I’m noticing – there are a lot of metaphorical baked potatoes falling from the sky all the time. A crow raises a kitten. A burned-out nonprofit worker finds the courage to take care of herself and find a new leadership role. The thing that really needs to be said gets said.

What might be possible for you that you don’t believe in yet? What if it can happen anyway?

Special audio blog – faith in life during dark times

I wanted to send you a special audio message during this dark time of year, whether you are filled with joy and surrounded by healthy loved ones or grieving a major change or loss…or both.

2010 has been a big year for many of you. Our world is changing rapidly, and sometimes change is painful, even as it brings new vision and possibilities to light.

My wish for you as we close out this year and prepare ourselves for a new one is faith. Not the kind of faith many religious institutions demand, where you are asked to believe in what you can’t see or know first-hand.

But faith in life itself – that you as a blessed recipient of life can rest in the knowledge that you are loved and needed. NOW. Not later after you become more successful, a better partner, thinner, healthier, kinder. NOW.

Life has been unfolding for millenia without you worrying about a thing. Life doesn’t need you to worry, it needs you to have faith.

It needs you to notice that bright blue stellar jay foraging around in the un-raked leaves in your yard, the extra-yuminess of that third cookie, the sheer bliss of a kid anticipating.

I was out in my yard yesterday in an unexpected spot of sunshine. I noticed that there are already buds on some flowering trees. They have faith in spring. Trust them.

In 2011 may you find many occasions to remember, embrace and embody your true calling. Because life needs you NOW, as you are, in your full glory, uniqueness and fragility.

And thank you for the amazing and life-giving opportunity to ride shotgun with you on the Open Road!