Forrest Gump had it right when he said "My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Did you just read that the way Tom Hanks said it in the movie?
If you're anything like me lately, you may feel like life is just happening to you right now. We've had no control over how things are unfolding around us, and over the past few months it just seemed like every time there was a glimmer of a sweet moment, it turned into one of those unexpected chocolate flavors that you want to spit out. But then we just make another selection until we find something that tastes better. Such is life.
I've been absent for a while. Honestly, like so many of you, when COVID-19 hit I had already been dealing with my own life changing events. Those things don't go away just because there is a global crisis. In fact, many of you probably relate to the even greater intensity of the situation because of the events already present in your lives. Then, as if that wasn't enough for most of us, riots began to rip at our social seams and our social norms. And also, because it's a U.S. presidential election year, everything in the media is hyper-polarizing. Life started tasting like some pretty bitter chocolate. Truthfully I hadn't been sure of what I could or should or wanted to say about all of that.
Now, bear with me a moment here while I explain something - I do promise I have a point.
I am a coach. Coaches listen and observe far more than they speak. Coaching isn't about teaching a skill, but about asking the questions a participant needs to think about in order to find their best way forward. We tend to think only of the sporting analogy where coaches use their practical expertise to help others improve their skills. But in the truest sense that is training or teaching, whereas coaching for life or business looks really different when performed correctly. There is a place for training and teaching to be sure! However, when someone can help you look deep inside yourself to find the solutions that are best for you, something only you can know, then that will be far more powerful that anything someone else can teach you.
So, why do I interject that here? Well, I kept asking myself why I was so quiet during the recent events. Didn't I have something to say? Didn't I need to tell the world what I stand for and who I am? It's strongly ingrained in my nature to examine things from many angles and I'm pretty good at that, even to a fault. I tell people I'm the devil's advocate (which itself has an interesting history if you care to google it). I truly try to take issues and examine them from multiple perspectives as it helps me shape an understanding, while giving me some insight into why people behave the way they do. I love studying human behaviors. So I do try to keep a pretty open mind about things. I support people who want to speak their thoughts, and I support people who want to keep things to themselves. I don't believe there is only one way to do life. As a coach I must remain judgement-free in my work, or I would fall out of integrity with what I am tasked to do - which is to help you find your best way. My job is not to tell you what your best way should be, but to help you find it for yourself. It is sure to be different than my way. It is sure to be better for you than my way. Just as my way is best for me. In other words, my opinion is not relevant.
Now that being said, the one thing you need to know about me is that I don't tolerate hate. Hate is a palpable, shape-shifting venom that is expressed in words and actions to the harm of another, and under no circumstances is that anyone's best way forward. There is no place for that in my heart or my business.
So this pretty much says it all for me:
Let all you that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
That and "Please pass the box of chocolates."