I used to dream about finding work that made my heart sing. I knew I wanted to be with people. I knew I wanted to teach. I knew I wanted to be in a line of work that would allow me to connect with people in a deep and authentic way. And I knew I wanted to be financially rewarded for work that resonated deeply with my values.
I have found the work of my dreams!
As I look back on my professional life it feels as if every step I have taken has led me to the Radical fulfillment that I am living today.
My years as a camp counsellor, life guard, swim instructor and ski instructor started me on this incredible path. I learned how to support, love and cherish children who were at their most vulnerable away from home each summer. I learned how to lead children through the fear of acquiring a new, and often scary, skill…and for anyone who has leaned to ski as an adult you will know the deep-in-the-gut fear of standing at the top of a ski hill and wondering how you will possibly get down. I learned how to lead 300 excited kids in a camp sing-along and never for a second believe that I wasn’t in command. And I learned how to thrive in a group…even when there were people I had little in common with (or perhaps even didn’t particularly like).
My experience as a special education teacher molded my love of connection with my students. As a child I struggled with school and was deeply unhappy in the classroom. When I became a teacher I had the insight into and empathy for the struggling student. I intuitively knew how to reach my students in a way that would make them feel safe, supported and engaged. Becoming a dedicated and passionate teacher gave me the opportunity to inspire learning and to go back and heal the wounds from my own childhood classrooms.
From there I went on to teach adult learners. What shocked me most about the adult learner was the almost painful vulnerability. There is a significant burden on the adult learner because we carry so many ‘supposed-tos’ (I am supposed to know that, understand that, have mastered that). What I realized very quickly was that a class full of adults is just as vulnerable as a class of young kids…they just show up in bigger bodies.
When I became a life coach I was awed by the principle that I was not an expert and I was never meant to be one. I was never supposed to have answers for my clients, only questions. I loved the concept that we are all experts in our own lives, it just takes someone to hold space and ask the right questions to find them.
Becoming a systems (team) coach was another incredible step along the way. Through the magic of systems work I have learned that every system, whether it is a marriage, a family, a friendship or a corporate team, has an identity and a voice. And the work of a systems coach is to help unfold and reveal that innate wisdom to its members. I have also learned that meaningful conflict is critical to the continued unfolding and success of the team and nothing to fear or shy away from.
The work I do each and every day allows me to draw from the intricate mosaic of experience that has shaped me as a human being and as a professional.
I love designing workshops, coaching and front-of-the-room facilitation. I love sitting down with a new client and helping them figure out what they are looking for. I absolutely love engaging with the complexities, the wonders, the frustrations and the triumphs of the human experience. I love watching an epiphany unfold, a team learn to be with constructive conflict, a new idea land and a deep connection made in a glance of recognition.
I led a workshop at the Rotman School of Management last night. The workshop participants were smart, fun, challenging and highly engaged. It was one of those workshops that reminds me of two things; I love what I do and I am absolutely where I want to be.
The next step on this journey is to take my work further out into the world. To collaborate with amazing people (including my husband who is an exceedingly gifted coach and facilitator) and head out into the big, wide world. My husband and I went to see Dr. Wayne Dyer in New York a few years ago and it was an incredible event. As I watched Dr. Dyer up on the stage and connecting with an enormous audience, all I could think was…that’s where I am heading!
Wherever this amazing journey is taking me, I know one thing for sure…my compass is set for Radically Fulfilled and I will continue to steer in that magnificent direction!