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life integration

One of the most cherished 90 minutes of my week is when I get together with my group of soulful, bright, and growth-minded clients who are all under 40. We don’t have a curriculum or agenda, yet the learnings are abundant and the insights are life-changing.


The beauty of good professional coaching is that we don’t have to be personally coached to see our challenges and struggles unfold, and potentially solved, by observing the skillful coaching of another person.  This group has a special place in my heart because they are still climbing their First Mountain, and I know for certain that there is a way for them to experience life with more ease, serenity, and skill than most of us do in our first half of life.


Most humans want the feeling of belonging to a pack, while at the same time expressing their own uniqueness. We confuse being unique with having to reinvent the wheel. We waste so much time experiencing and learning lessons that others have done the work of doing, learning, and sharing with us.


I know. I was that person for most of my life, and I believed it was my personality. I believed there was no other way I could be, I was born that way.  I heard folks around me say, “She has to learn everything the hard way.  That’s just how she is.”  I believed what I heard, and doubled down by adding,  “Damn right! That’s what makes me unique!”


But the main thought and ensuing belief was, “Why does life have to be so hard?”  It didn’t, and it doesn’t.  Here’s why.


It’s simple math. If we have to learn every single life lesson from scratch, there is just not enough time to leverage that learning, and be able to live masterfully. I agree with the wisdom of a brilliant client of mine who said, “Carolyn, being able to enjoy the life you lived, is to live twice.”  We can’t move into that sense of ease and enjoyment if every single day, we are in “learning from scratch” mode.


Of course, life continues to be our classroom forever and if we are conscious and open-minded -  making every effort to be awake during each moment of our days - we will enjoy the fruits of mastery as we walk down its path.  But we are part of a race, communities, and groups.  We are not alone.  We are unique because of our particular gifts and abilities.  We are unique because of our ability to use free will, and choice to create a life that is entirely and spectacularly our own.  We are not unique because of our problems and struggles.  We are unique in our expression and creation of our one precious life.


When we decide that we are not going to make problems and trauma our resting place, we naturally look to find the most efficient path forward.  That path involves searching, listening, and deciding whether someone else’s experience and learning of the same challenge is applicable to us.  I’m not suggesting we always accept others’ opinions of how we should live our life.  On the contrary, I’m inviting you to shift your mindset entirely - a shift from, “I have to figure everything out myself”, to “How can I leverage the learning and experiences of others?”


My own life has changed powerfully by making this shift in mindset.  My sense of uniqueness is no longer derived from how hard I have to work to get from point A to point B, but rather from how much I can leverage the collective wisdom of humanity to create more ease, connectedness, and peace for myself and every person in my blessed life. 


Here are a few practices that have helped me on this journey of shifting my mindset:


  1. Nothing can take the place of reading.  Nothing.  All the information, wisdom, and advice we could possibly find helpful is written about.  The key is to narrow down the subject matter, author, and community that speaks to your particular challenge and curiosity.  Reading is a skill and a habit that can be developed at any age.
  2. Surround yourself with folks who love to be in the space of solutions, not problems.  Continuously looking and talking about the things that are not going well, keeps us in the problem mindset.  Look for people who live in the world of possibility.
  3. Cultivate your curiosity.  We are all naturally curious, but for many of us, that curiosity is shut down early in life when adults reply to our questions with some version of, “Because I say so!”  Curiosity is the most powerful Get Out of Jail card when we are experiencing fear, self doubt and worry.
  4. Work with a Professional Coach or mentor, or at the least, make a pact with a friend to be your accountability partner and honestly share your blindspots with you.
  5. Join the Farnam Street Community and actually listen to the podcasts, read the articles and use the tools they offer to leverage the existing learnings and wisdom available to all of us.


P.S. I’m committed to sharing my Life Coaching skills and tools out into the world, in the hope that it can help others. If this blog resonates with you, please consider forwarding it to anyone who may benefit from it. If this was forwarded to you, subscribe here.

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