2019 was a really fantastic year. In July, I took the leap to working for myself full time. I've learned an incredible amount in the last six months about so many things. From running a business, to delivering keynote addresses, to working with a wide variety of organizations on all kinds of issues, I feel like I've absorbed more in the last year than I have in a long time.
By far, the people I have learned the most from this year are my coaching clients. They have taught me lessons with such grace and grit, and I will forever cherish what they have taught me. And I feel not only obligated but extremely humble to share what I have learned from them here:
1) Mindset matters: People often find a coach because they need to make a change. And often this change is not easy. It involves vulnerability, risk, emotional exposure, and putting oneself out there in ways that can feel scary. With so much potentially at stake, it's no wonder that many people can feel stuck or unstable or paralyzed. The clients I have worked with who have successfully gotten through this are the ones who are able to look at the situation in another way. While what they want to accomplish seems huge, they believe to their core that they can do it, they will do it, and they deserve the change they are trying to make. They ask, "Am I stuck, or am I on the edge of getting everything that I've wanted?" My clients have taught me that a shift in mindset makes the biggest difference when it comes to making a big change.
2) Run to, not from: This is not a new concept. It's probably a lesson you've learned more than once in your own career. But what I learned from my clients this year is that the joy of running to something with arms wide open will make you want to do it again and again. I don't mean switching jobs over and over. But that if you run with joy to a new career, you are more likely to run with joy in other areas of your life: health, spirituality, relationships, etc. Running this race instead of the rat race just makes you want to keep running to and not from the places in your life that require you and your attention.
3) Know your values: I cannot say enough about the value of knowing your values. You can use them to make decisions, to take the temperature on how your life is going, and to articulate who you are to people who need to know. My clients have taught me that knowing your values means you are more likely to live them, and that actively using them in your everyday life can make huge shifts from relatively small actions.
4) Cast a net or find focus: This year, I learned from my clients that people have different preferences for approaching a potential transition. Some people love to gather a bunch of information, meet a wide variety of people, and map out and consider all of their options before starting to narrow things down. Other people find that terrifying. They would rather pull on a few specific threads and see where they lead. Knowing whether or not you are the person who would rather cast a wide net or narrow in to find focus can help you structure your next big change.
5) Start small: Again, change can seem huge. Like you are standing at the bottom of a gigantic mountain, looking up at the top that seems miles away. And when approaching change most people want to start with "How do I get to the top?" But what I learned from my clients this year is that it's much easier and more productive to ask "What do I need in order to take one step?" The mountain will always be there. The goal is not to get to the top, but to enjoy the journey. And to do that, each step, no matter how big, makes a difference.
I am incredibly grateful to all of my clients, partners, collaborators, friends, and family who made this year possible. I'm so excited to see what 2020 will bring and where it will take us. I'm looking forward to continuing this journey with you.