Be a Miner, NOT an Astronaut
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Last week’s blog amplified a communal sigh of relief, “We made it!” and begged the answer to the question, “Now what?”.
While we are learning how to slow down and live more consciously, our default tendency is to be future focused. We are a generation known for its relentless pursuit of “The Next Best Thing” — no one more than I and the extraordinary people I work with!
We aspire to create — and not just hope and pray for a better future.
We get clear on our purpose and set ambitious goals.
We understand the difference between purposeful action and busyness.
But today I want to share with you a counter-intuitive truth … something I’ve learned along this journey of being a Professional Coach, and that is:
To create your ideal future, you must mine your past.
So many of us set a goal and often wonder what superpowers we need to develop in order to reach that goal. I put it to you that those “superpowers” are already a part of you! They are collectively made up of the unique gifts and qualities that have gotten you this far.
Let me share with you a deeply personal example.
When I first dreamt about becoming a Professional Coach, I assumed I’d have to start at zero (at mid-life no less) and build my new career in the same way I had built my previous one, very slowly, brick by brick.
My three decades in an entirely different industry seemed at best, irrelevant and at worst, an obstacle. All my attention was focused on who I needed to become in order to be an impactful coach.
- What did I need to learn?
- What coaching school did I need to be certified from?
- How would I get anyone to give me a chance to coach them? And so on…
I presumed I’d have to start looking in a world where nobody knew my past professional history. A world where my shiny coaching certificate(s) would convince them of my capabilities as a real Coach!
I could not have been more mistaken.
A decade later, what I now know for sure is that nobody cared whether I had changed industries or had any certifications. People only cared about my response (and my ability to deliver) on two questions:
“Can I trust you?” and “Can you help me?”
When I slowed down to this understanding, I stopped worrying about creating a whole new story about who I am and focused on mining my past.
- Who are the people whose trust I’ve held for decades?
- Who have I helped through the years?
- How can I uplevel my trustworthiness and helpfulness so that every single coaching conversation is deeply impactful so as to be unforgettable for the other person?
For me, being trustworthy and helpful were not new traits I had to strive for. They were existing superpowers I had honed in life through committed practice.
To be clear, as with any other vocation, skills and experience do matter but in order to achieve extraordinary results at work, home and in relationships we need more than that. We need to mine our unique gifts.
Coming back to the question of, “Now what?”
This is historically the time of the year when we decide to put ourselves on a new path towards meaningful goals.
As a thought experiment, consider for a moment putting aside the criteria you have convinced yourself you must gain in order to achieve your New Year’s goals.
Do you want to have an improved relationship with your teenager? Instead of reading another book or listening to another podcast, mine your past and pinpoint the moments that sparked a connection.
- Who were you being in those moments?
- What was your gift to your child?
- What will it take to re-create a version of that now?
Do you want to be healthier? Instead of following some new Instagram diet or getting the latest injection your friends are using (or abusing) to get thin, look into your past to see what brought you joy and made you feel good in your body.
- Was it a sport?
- Was it taking the time to prepare a particular meal?
- Were you inspired by a higher purpose?
Whatever it was that made you feel alive and connected to your body is what you need more of in order to move towards a healthier you.
I promise that if you give up the shortcut mentality and give yourself a year or more, you will move towards your goals, rather than away from them. But time alone is not enough.
We must become miners rather than astronauts.
Tell me what your gifts are and I’ll tell you how to use them.