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.

The question I would ask God…

You know those moments when something that has been rolling around in your head for months, maybe years, crystallizes and comes popping out of your mouth? Almost before you know what you’re saying? I think the technical term might be “aha moment.” (And you know, coaches love technical terms. 🙂

I had one such moment the other day, talking with my partner. What came out of my mouth was “if I could ask God one question today, it would be – how do we know when to push and when to receive? When to be disciplined and All-American go-for-it, and when do we just  let life unfold ?”

Partly I was surprised because I don’t believe in God as an entity you can interview like Barbara WaWa, glass of iced tea on the side table and mic carefully hidden under lapel. But my lovely partner reminded me that God does often answer questions if you’re looking in the right place for answers.

I know that entire ancient philosophies have been dedicated to this question. In fact, now that I think of it, the Yin Yang symbol is probably supposed to represent the balance between these two ways of being. In my own humble life, I find myself constantly wrestling with this question: should I push myself to rewrite my website now, today, or should I instead walk my dog, fold the laundry, call that friend back? What’s the right thing? And how much will my inner critic punish me later if I don’t choose “correctly?”

Later that evening I was reading Laura Fortgang’s new book Prosperity Plan, and a quote jumped out at me that, I think, was God answering in her own indirect way.

“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.”  Paul Hawken

When I’m taking Paul’s brilliant advice, there is almost always a clear answer to that big hairy question ready and waiting like a scroll from one of those old-fashioned fortune-telling machines. It comes from somewhere between my diaphragm and my collarbone, and always seems to have the just-right idea for right now. And when I listen to this voice, somehow everything gets done and everything is just fine and there was no need to worry.

I think God wants me to listen to this voice more often, and to hear it, I need to enjoy myself more often.

So, today I spent 2 hours in the garden clearing out dead stuff and noticing little green shoots and weeding. And I’m writing to you, and I had biscuits for breakfast after jumping rope at booty camp. And life is good. And my to-do list is shrinking.

Does this ring true for you? How would you answer this big question? Love to hear from you!

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!