I can’t believe it is already time for my monthly wrap-up: May flew by! This year, I am joining my writing sisters in a monthly ritual called Share Four Somethings. We end each month by sharing our thoughts about Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned and Something Read. Running a few days late with the holiday weekend, but here’s a few things I found particularly meaningful in May.
Two years ago, I decided to pursue advanced certification in coaching after a lifetime in the counseling field. This month, after over 200 hours of training and 100+ hours of coaching, I completed my certification process and received my CPCC (Certified Professional Coactive Coach.) This process has been transformational, personally and professionally, primarily because of the incredible people I’ve met along the way.
People often wonder, because I was already a Masters level counselor, why I would make the switch to coaching. The most helpful analogy is this: counseling is to coaching, as physical therapy is to personal training. Both disciplines and paths to transformation are valid and useful in the appropriate context. When I hurt my knee a couple of years ago, I needed physical therapy in order to heal the injury and regain normal use of my leg. Now that my knee is healed, I am working with a personal trainer to enhance my physical fitness and stretch my understanding of what I am capable of achieving. Similarly, I have sought out therapy and coaching in different seasons of my life based on the kind of support I needed at the time.
In this season of my life, the kind of clients I want to work with and the kind of transformation I envision for them is best served by the coaching model. Like the clients I worked with when I was using a more traditional therapy model, my coaching clients are resourceful, creative, and brave. They are no longer willing to settle for living safely in their comfort zones, wishing for more. They are proactive, willing to reach out for an accountability partner and advocate, someone to call out the best in them. I am in awe of my coaching clients and it is a privilege to be part of the work God is doing in their lives. If coaching is of interest to you, it is one of my favorite subjects to discuss, so feel free to reach out!
Another milestone we are celebrating in May is our youngest daughter’s graduation from college. On Mother’s Day, we watched Brooke graduate cum laude from Emerson College with a double major in Theater and Writing, Literature and Publishing. Emerson College is known primarily as an arts and communication school, a creative breeding ground for talented artists and world-class communicators. As President Pelton told the graduates in his words of encouragement to them, “You are the storytellers, the myth makers, and the truth tellers. You are the magic makers.” I don’t know about you, but I think this world could use a few more good stories right now, so I am eager to see the impact these brilliant young people will have.
As is the tradition at graduations around the world each May, the commencement address was a highlight of the celebration. In this case, the inspirational message was given by former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. As you might expect, Mr. Collins was bright, funny and articulate and I walked away wanting to read more of his work. His advice to the graduates for a life of meaning and purpose is worth remembering, whether 23 or 53. He encouraged the students to do these four things every day:
- Slow down
- Pay attention
- Seize the day
- Be kind and grateful
One of my favorite take-aways from the month of May was a new word: Ikigai. I ran across this term while flipping through a magazine at my hair salon and was immediately intrigued by the implications for my life, the lives of my twenty-something children, and for the work I do with my coaching clients. I snapped a picture of the venn diagram in the magazine and, when I got home, fell deeply into the rabbit hole of the internet, reading everything I could find on this previously unfamiliar concept.
Ikigai is a Japanese term, loosely translated “a reason to get up in the morning.” According to experts, our search for ikigai is a lifelong process and could be described as that sweet spot where these four important life questions intersect:
- What do I love to do?
- What I am good at?
- What does the world need?
- What can I get paid for?
It seems everyone I know is wrestling with questions of calling and purpose, whether middle aged moms returning to paid employment, twenty-something recent college grads or retirees wondering what’s next. For many of us, our faith is woven into these questions as we consider the implications of our belief that we are made in the image of a creative, resourceful, good God who expects us to take care of one another and live in loving community. Searching, struggling and asking questions is part of the journey, no matter what our age.
What makes you come alive? Why do you get up in the morning? What is the one simple thing you could do or be today that would be an expression of your ikigai?What is the one simple thing you could do or be today that would be an expression of your ikigai? Click To Tweet
This month the most meaningful book I read was I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown. I read the whole thing in less than 48 hours because I couldn’t put it down. It was powerful, disturbing and sometimes hard to read. To be honest, I think I picked up the book with the naïve hope I would walk away with a prescription for how to be a better white ally to my friends of color, maybe a quick and easy step by step process for racial reconciliation in our fractured society. Instead, I walked away with more questions than answers and the humbling realization that I am still a long way from understanding on any level what it feels like to be black in a white-centric world. Any assumption I make about the experience of being a person of color is unavoidably impacted by the fact that I look at the world through the lens of white privilege. My understanding is that Ms. Brown is releasing a discussion guide for the book in August, in hopes of facilitating open and honest discussions about racial justice. I am planning to host a book club about it, so local friends, let me know if you want to be included. We must do better!
That’s it for this month!! If you want to read more from my wise friends about their Four Somethings, check it out here. Thanks for hosting us again, Heather!