Purpose – What Problem Are You The Solution To?
I spent the morning with my good friend, Stella, today. We share many common interests including coaching, spirituality, love of nature, and the healing power of love. As usual, our conversations were all over the place, from her impending move to Montana, the growth and development of Rainbow Bridge Coaching and Healing, my desire to put together a Spiritual study of the differing world religions, and how to know what your niche is as a coach.
My dilemma in defining my niche has been two-fold. First, as a coach, we are often told to coach what you know. Well, I know a lot. How do I pick? Secondly, we are often told that we will begin to see a pattern around who is coming to us for coaching. OK, but it appears on the surface that people are coming to me for a variety of reasons – and there is no real pattern. All I could see was the synchronicity of what people were coming to me to be coached on: transitions I had completed in my life, or was close to completing, or were percolating along in the background. She then asked me a very “coachy” question – “What problem are you the solution to?”
I looked at her with this dumbfounded look on my face, I’m sure. The common thread, of course, was transitions. Moving from one stage of life to another, from a future dream to dealing with the present, from being a desirable and successful employee to being RIF’d, from full-time employment to solopreneur and retirement, from my mother role to supportive friend and confidant, and on and on. Yes, I know a lot – but the one thing I’m getting pretty darn good at is transition and change.
My next question was “what changes have you needed the most help with?” Ah, that was an easy one.
- Learning that one of my children had an incurable disease that would leave him permanently disabled over time.
- Learning one of my children was gay and the dreams I had from the time I conceived this child needed to be set aside, and new dreams built together, based on who he was.
- Getting to my mother-role of supportive friend and confidant to both of my children.
- Career transition – Knowing in my heart about six years ago that I no longer wanted to continue with the job I had held for better than 25 years, but stayed with out of loyalty I felt for the company and my family’s future. And, then being RIF’d from that same job three years later along with many other souls. My unhappiness had come through, and the Universe decided to do for me what I could not do for myself. However, my transition took the form of recognizing that I was not my job, nor was my job me.
- Taking another job in a major insurance company, going through that transition, and then being RIF’d again after eighteen months as they began their downsizing. This was a useful step for me in my transition into retirement. It also supported my knowing that my job needed to support who I was, and needed to be chosen from purpose and passion.
- Making the choice to retire and become a coach. My transition into retirement is not completed, nor will it be for many years. However, I realized early on that I wanted a meaningful and purposeful retirement. Five days a week on the golf course was not the life I wanted to live for the next thirty years.
- Discovering I have Fibromyalgia and Diabetes, and knowing that unless I take excellent care of myself, these chronic diseases will get the best of me.
So, have I answered “what problem am I the solution to?”
Every ending is the start of a new beginning. It’s normal to mourn the part of the journey that is coming to an end. It is what we know, and there is often fear of the unknown as we begin that next part of life’s journey. Sometimes, it is extremely difficult to end the portion of the journey that it is now time to let go of, and we vacillate back and forth for a very long time before we take a big breath and say “Okay, I’m ready, let’s go.” This is when I needed a coach, and I am thankful she was there to help me move through some incredibly tough times. The joy is in taking that next sweet step, and knowing it is the right step for you.
So, the problem: Change is a way of life, and is something we both embrace, and move with, or we become stuck.
The solution: If we are willing to move with the change, but are having difficulty, it is often helpful to hire a coach to help create clarity around the situation, focus on what it is we really want the outcome to be (vision), help us set goals and choose the next step, and the next, and the next, until we achieve the grace and luminosity of knowing we are on the path we are meant to be. All the while, providing support and encouragement as we make the shifts we need to make as we move forward.
This is what I know, but it is my truth. You must seek and find yours.