I’m going through some confusing, yet change-prone times. It seems to come around every few years, a restlessness and need to re-define my life. Normally it includes hating what I’ve worked hard to earn, and a feeling that unless I do some big change around here, I’m not – ever! – going to be really happy.
And yes, I am pretty much black-and-white in my thinking.
But here’s the big idea I’ve come across so far.
What you hate is what actually prompts you to change. And it CAN be an ingredient that lingers on.
Enter Example 1. The Nemesis.
Part of being a coach is to be non-judgmental, balanced and accepting unique individualities around me. Part of being an insecure, socially awkward, female dreamer is not. So of course there are people I don’t feel comfortable with, and whose behaviours I find (sometimes) unacceptable. And I know I sometimes make my feelings quite obvious. What can I say, my personal belief is that balance comes with being able to express yourself.
But when I digged deeper into the reasons the other person(s) had that effect on me, guess what I found. Looking into the eyes of my nemesis, I found myself. Those were my own behaviors, my own fears, reflected back on me. Being rash, being vindictive, being mean, being judgmental. I own them just as much…
My nemesis reflects me.
Enter Example 2. Oyster Grit
I was extremely happy to be a part of the Romanian ICF conference of 2012 (ICF = International Coaching Federation), an event linked around coaches and people working in the human development field.
One of the speakers, Andrea Lee, talked about how “Oyster Grit” inspires drive for change, and can fuel the personal brand behind a coaching niche. “Oyster Grit” is the [sand] stuff inside the oyster that’s nasty to look at, but good to have, because…it gives birth to the pearl. So if you don’t have the grit, there’s no pearl.
She talked about a coach who was so upset with what happened in the academic world, with the lack of accountability and follow-up with students’ papers, that she built an online tool that did just that – tracking accountability.
So I thought what this means for me. I’m want to see more managers who realize the importance of coaching – or at least 1:1 talks! – with their people. Too few managers see the need to give constant feedback and to set time aside for their teams’ development. Everyone knows how to put coaching on their IDP (Individual Development Plans), yet very very few actually (1) know HOW and (2) actually DO IT.
So this is my Oyster Grit. And I set to change it – I dream of a company where bosses are consciously focused on their people’s development. I dream of bosses who go up to their direct reports and say “How can I help you?” or “What do I need to change?”. I want managers to not shy away when it’s time to fire someone or give tough feedback, but I want them to do it in such a way that the employee sees the development and the learning out of it.
I want managers to treat their subordinates like human beings, rather than human resources.
The good news, is that we’re not that far off. I know a few role models I’m proud to learn from myself. But this is my grit, and it inspires me extraordinarily to be working on the pearl that will come out of it.
Enter Example 3. My Life.
I guess I’m a good corporate working girl. Climbed up the ladder pretty fast; have high learning agility; take feedback instantly and learn from it; know the political rules and (sometimes) also follow them. I’ve got far and I still have a long way to go.
But corporate life doesn’t make me happy.
I’m an underwater thing, I like to paint and I see lifelines when people tell me their stories. The ability to immerse myself in other people’s lives is what makes me a good (life) coach. I like to read and I would have been an excellent librarian. Carturesti, will you please employ me?
There have been many times when I thought of leaving my (personally rewarding and long term dreamed) job and heading out the world. Doing freelance coaching and training. Living off paintings and selling them on Etsy. Blogging and speaking at inspirational events. The last time I thought of this was last week.
But you know what? Corporate life is the fuel to my learning. It puts me in difficult situations, it makes me meet interesting people I would otherwise not look for, and it provides the necessary bitterness to make the other half sweet. And I don’t hate it that much. As a matter of fact, if I would leave it, I’m sure I would miss it.
The only thing I set out to do is not to let the bitterness eat out the sweetness. I’m going to shift the balance to the other end. I’m going to paint and post it out to the world. I’m going to re-open the opportunity to coach – I want to know your stories and contribute to them. I’m going to go out and smell the flowers, and gaze at the blue sky.
I’m not ashamed to be a corporate dreamer.
Let’s see what happens.