There are many moments in my everyday coaching work that deeply touch me. I talk with a client who faces a humbling and difficult apology to his team and knows ultimately he must take this fire walk alone. I talk with another who is torn by fierce loyalty to her company but also knows the truth that she must change jobs to gain the additional recognition and advancement she deserves. I talk with a third about her choice, despite the emotional risks involved, to work positively, passionately, vulnerably to change a troubled work culture — one plagued by grievances, hostile relationships, and lawsuits. This third person touches me the most. The situation is a kind of battleground, one with hidden caches of weapons and the confusion of everyone wearing the same uniform — and she’s willing to get right into the middle of it, try to stop the war.
I feel the energies of these leaders, their conflicts and fears and also their sharp determination. They all have a will to make things better for themselves and their workplaces. They all are people who are willing to face their own “dark night of the soul,” willing to come to grips with an adverse reality in which they know they somehow collude. They are the ones who take it on, try to do something they don’t actually know they can do.
It is hard to put any category on such work. Some might see it as especially heroic and in that way, unusual, but that is not my first reaction. It just seems quintessentially human to me, reaching that core of whatever it is that needs to heal in our humanness — that faithless part, that part that knows we all participate in creating our own dilemmas. They are people willing to take that thing on, grip the rose that is both the cause of our own pain and the answer to it. They are people who stand up, people who claim who they are, who maybe lost themselves in some way but then who are willing to come back step by step to re-claim themselves and in so doing right some small piece of the world.
Sometimes their work is so hard, so penetrating to me, that after a conversation or two I later find I have to consciously let go of what we’ve talked about. (A friend in a related business told me she soaks basil in a bowl and pours the sweet smelling water over herself at the end of the day in order to wash away such deep impressions).
I love the unfolding stories. I’m a sucker for the part of us all that has some gumption and faith, that part that is willing to help us from the inside out, help us scrap and wriggle and love our way out of their own chains. I’m a sucker for anyone who has to find their own path — and don’t we all? I’m moved every time I hear of how someone had to walk through the dark for a very long way before they crested the hill and found out where that path was taking them.
Do you think I am making this all too dramatic? Oh, maybe so. Maybe it’s just poetry. I weep too easily after all — at movies, revealing poems, sappy commercials. I am moved by what’s tender, alive and therefore strong, by the unknown power of our hearts, by our will toward life, toward the fact of the journey and the redemptive moment when we finally face the sun.
What moves you?
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