I have been a musician all my life and a composer for over 30 years. But I also had another gift that has been with me for almost as long. The gift of helping people. The gift of coaching. I have always had an insatiable interest in things spiritual and in healing. That combined with a gift of insight into other people made me a natural counselor. People would just be drawn to me and I would instinctively know what they needed. I don’t know how I knew. I just did. And I loved it!
I was not the least bit interested in the psychology of the time which was mostly behavioralist in nature. The self-help/personal growth movement had not yet started. Spiritual/consciousness psychology was still many years off. So that was not an attractive career choice. At that time the term coach was reserved for gym teachers.
Besides, I really wanted to be a famous musician.
But I ended up not doing either. I spent many years doing other things to make a living. I was quite successful at other things, made a good living at them. But never at the things I was most passionate about. And even though I did have success, I was never quite satisfied. That feeling of dissatisfaction was to become my best teacher. That annoying voice was to tunr out to be my best friend.
There are lots of ways to quiet discomfort. In this culture we have all the distractions one could ask for. I thought that that annoying voice was a problem and I tried all sorts of techniques to get rid of it. But no matter what I tried, it persisted. I was utterly perplexed by this until one remarkable day a very different perspective occured to me. Maybe dissatisfaction isn’t a problem to get rid of. Maybe it isn’t a problem at all. Maybe it had something to tell me. And here is the kicker. Maybe what it had to tell me was true.
That was a life transforming insight. The dissatisfaction was persistent because it was legitimate. It was telling me that I wasn’t following my own path. I wasn’t obeying my own nature. I was out of integrity with myself. The lack of inner quiet was not a problem. It was the honest voice of myself. I recognized that I needed to make a choice. How was I going to spend the rest of my life? How did I want to spend the rest of my life?
In my last blog I mentioned that you have to decide “the what” first and then, and only then, will “the how” show up. But in order to decide on “the what”, you have to remain open to that often silent, inner prompting that wants to tell you what it is you really want. And that voice usually does not appear as angels singing. It appear as as a pesty little annoyance telling you something is wrong. And it won’t go away.
But I wasn’t clear yet. At first, I thought that I hadn’t really commited myself and so “the how” had not shown up. So I decided to rededicate myself to composing. I updated my studio, got that latest libraries, created new CD of solo piano music, created music of all sorts for a variety of formats. I also applied several techniques I use for clearing away blocks to success.I did a lot of personal work to move through the obstacles.
But the wierdest thing started to happen. No music opportunites opened up. Not one. But opportunities to coach did. Odd I thought! Yet something told me that this was significant and I should pay attention to it.
So I created a little exercise to help explore my inner landscape. I would visualize myself successful in both roles, the coach and the composer. I would go back and forth between the two and as I visualized them I would pay very close attention to how I felt. After a while a consistent pattern emerged. As I visualized composing there was a slight heaviness, a lack of energy. As I visualized coaching there was a lightness and a marked increase in energy. The more I did it the more intense the feelings became.
I began to understand this language of the feelings. It was clear where my real passion was. I would be spending the rest of my life coaching others. But a new thing appeared as well, that I hadn’t seen before. I saw a way to organize the way I work with people into a teachable system. It even came with a name, “The Freedom Process”. I realized I could teach others to coach.
S0 here are three important insights:
- The feeling of dissatisfaction is oftentimes the voice of our innermost self, pushing us towards what really matters for us.
- It wasn’t until I actually made a choice that the energy became focused. It didn’t matter that at first I chose the wrong thing. It was the energy of commitment that made me recognize the mistake that and change course.
- I actually did know what I wanted. It was a matter of learning how to listen.
The process allowed me to explore the inner landscape to discover how I really felt. Staying with the picture of myself doing what I wanted to do and monitoring my feelings eventually led me to understand the language of feeling and rightly interpret them.
And so I found my way and committed to it. And guess what? Paid coaching clients started showing up. Opportunities to teach and lead groups started showing up. New information as to to how to present myself showed up. How to organize the material to teach it became clear. I even saw a way to teach these techniques in a corporate setting and several people showed up to help participate in that. Everything started to flow.
And that little voice of dissatisfaction? Gone! It was no longer needed. I was paying attention and following the path that is right for me. I am sure that if I ever stray that little voice will show up again. But this time I won’t ignore it. I will drop everything and listen.