"What do most of your clients struggle with?"
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of touring a new retreat space in Corbett. It's a little haven just outside the city where I got to mingle with my fellow entrepreneurs.
We may have gathered because of what we do, but it was really just an awesome excuse to drink sangria and see someone's dream come to life and celebrate her. And eat really good cheesecake.
As is common in events like this I got to answer "What do you do?" probably 20 times. I normally greatly dislike this question - it never quite captures how I feel about my work and usually comes out something like, "Yeah I do cool stuff." Or something equally as flat.
But there was this one question that cracked me open.
Someone asked me, "What do most of your clients struggle with?" A) This person gets an award for asking a great question and B) My answer surprised even me.
My answer surprised me because it was the thing I wanted to say and I was able to find the right words at the right moment - this never happens! And to be fair I would go on to answer the "What do you do?" question 19 more times all horribly awkwardly.
I looked at her and without pausing to edit my words I said,
"They struggle with worthiness."
When I said this out loud I could feel myself sink a little more into this piece of my work. This thing that is hard to talk about. This thing that doesn't make for great marketing. This thing that we don't always have words for. But the thing that is also true.
My clients struggle with feeling like they are enough and allowed to do what calls them. I know this personally, not just as a coach but as a human being. Most of us have forgotten how brilliant, bright, and magic-filled we really are. You are not alone in this.
Anytime I get on the phone with a new client, a new student, or someone who has just shown up for themselves in a new way you'd think we'd spend that first hour together in her dreams or his vision for what's possible. This is what most coaches are selling right?
And while the first five minutes are spent here, the next 55 minutes are usually spent on this question: Do I have what it takes?
Oh, I know this question too well. Not just because I've coached it a few thousand times but because I also LIVE it. Yes, I am human.
Do I have what it takes to be great?
To be successful?
To be on my path?
To be in tune?
To heed my call?
To navigate my purpose?
To help people?
To do my soul proud?
...and to be someone who matters?
Am I the only one for whom staring out into the abyss of this work is overwhelming? There are so many brilliant people doing brilliant things and when I think about adding myself to this list...I somehow find a reason to pause.
Don't get me wrong; this is not some passive attempt at humility or an active attempt at keeping myself small. I am grateful for the small edge of the universe I get to play in and have a positive impact on. But I am also just a microparticle in this Divine dance called life and sometimes I think it's perfectly normal to ask, "Why me?"
It's a fair question. And I think we only ask it when we've embarked on some venture that means more to us than maybe we've totally admitted to ourselves. It's the question you ask when you are equal parts in love with your path and terrified of it. Not just because of the potential failure, but also the potential success.
I'm creeping up on more than 5,000 conversations with people inside my coaching practice. I can tell you without a doubt that more than failing miserably, my clients are scared to succeed. To soar, fly, be free and enlivened by their life and work. Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it?
We know our own light intimately. We know how wonderful it can be to bask in the goodness of life, but we also know the sting of things going away. I can say this: in watching people really go after what they want, fear inevitably becomes a companion to the journey.
I will tell you what I tell the people I work with - bring it along. Just don't hand it the keys.
Fear has no place driving your dreams. Let it warn you, sure. Let it caution of what's ahead, I will buy that. But careful handing fear your vision, because when it sees you going for your big, magic-filled brilliance it will be the first to swoop in and say, "Nope!" Or worse, have you convinced that a big, magic-filled life just isn't in the cards for you.
I can assure you this: it's in the cards for everyone. Yes, this includes you.
In two weeks I am opening the next 20 spots in my fall coaching circle - an intimate space for you to bring your dreams AND your fears. There is no fear a client brings to my doorstep I have not chatted with before. They often just want to be heard, and I am a very good listener.
Think of it like this: your vision for yourself is like a balloon filled and ready to soar. Fear is the grip around the string keeping it a little closer to the ground.
We don't have to work hard on that dream; it can't not fly. All I have to do is help you loosen your grip and let it soar.