Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finding your Voice in a Noisy World

“When you engage in work that taps your talent and fuels your passion – that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet – therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul’s code.”
- Stephen R. Covey in “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Coming back to blogging after a two-year hiatus has been harder than I thought it would be.  I put my dream of being a life coach on the back-burner in 2008 to pursue what I saw as a challenging opportunity that would allow me to grow exponentially.  

So when the stars aligned recently and set the stage for me to once again pursue my dreams of becoming a successful life coach, I wasn’t ready.  Somewhere along the journey of the last two years, in the noise and craziness that my life had become, I had lost my sense of self belief in my ability to coach.  I couldn’t write. I did not have what it takes to coach.  I was rusty.  I was out of practice.  The taunts of my inner gremlins (Co-Active Coaching term for  the voices of our inner critics) were deafening.  

I asked myself what it would take to find that passion, that belief that I used to have for the power of the coaching process and most importantly, my ability to channel this gift. I needed to rebuild myself and reconnect with my passion. I spent the next few months doing things I loved; spending time with my new husband, taking meditation classes, enjoying the learning that came with being a Masters student, resuming a half-finished crocheting project (meant for two friends as a Christmas gift in 2008), cooking, painting the house, reading and re-reading books that had inspired me in the past, and traveling and visiting friends.

And yet,  when I sat down to write, or contemplated the impending coaching sessions I had booked with clients, I continued to be overcome with feelings of fear and self doubt.  I felt that no matter what I did to empower myself, I could not overcome my feelings of being a fraud.

And then I had an epiphany.  The morning before my first scheduled coaching session since rebuilding my life coaching practice, I was watching a season two episode of the HBO show In Treatment, a show that centres around Gabriel Byrne, a therapist and his practice. At this point in the series, Byrne, facing a malpractice law suit, is a disillusioned therapist questioning his abilities and whether or not he is actually making a difference in the lives of his patients.  His therapist Gina (actor Dianne Wiest), challenges him to work with his patients in the next week as if he believed he was helping them.  The change in his interactions with his clients in the proceeding episodes was evident, much improved.  

It hit me like a ton of bricks: I had to work as if I believed I had something to contribute, that I could help people, or it wouldn’t work.  No amount of external encouragement or studying could give me what I was denying myself.  Once I embraced my ability and gifts as a life coach with a passion to serve, this realization created a mental shift in perspective that has made all the difference in how I treat my soul’s calling. The excuses have vanished, the coaching has begun, and I see inspiration to write everywhere I look.

Inspiration truly does come from the strangest places.

Where in your life are your gremlins holding you back?
What would it mean to you to give yourself the gift of self-belief?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who am I not to be? My playing small does not serve the world.” - Marianne Williamson

1 comment:

  1. Wow. what a great post. What you described here has an inherent principal that so many others have touched on before, but with your personal experience, it adds that much more authenticity.

    I'm so glad you've found the inspiration again and is holding back your gremlins Leena :)

    For me, you already know part of the story. My gremlins were holding me back from pursuing a life long love and desire to capture and remember moments. It was a mixture of self doubts and being told that I'd never succeed by my own parents. Not out of maliciousness, but they come from a pragmatic generation and up-bringing. They automatically dismiss any career pursuits not rooted in the safeties of "practical".

    I didn't believe that I'd be able to be a photographer. I was afraid I'd fail. So for me, to give myself the gift of self-belief would've meant everything. Even though I had tremendous external encouragement, I knew that I could never do it until I believed it myself. How exactly it happened was rather an accident. I won't elaborate here but will share in person :)Like you said, inspiration comes from the strangest places. But what I've realized too is that this battle with our inner gremlin does not take place once, that it is perhaps a long struggle down the road. But the important thing is that we accept this, and we try to keep the gremlins back instead of the other way around. And I think that's already half the battle.