I just started a coaching program with Martha Beck. I am a new cadet. I have mixed feelings about being back at the beginning. Part of me wants to tell everyone just how skilled I am and puff myself up as “been there done this already” person. Why? – because I am solidly in Square One of what Martha Beck calls her Change Cycle, and I am resisting like hell.
I signed up for this program when I was competent, confident consultant/coach/counselor. I signed up to enjoy the work that my partner had found so beneficial, and I wanted to join the tribe of folks she was finding so supportive and fun.
Yes, I signed up just to learn a few new things and may be start a coaching practice.
But no, that’s not what’s happened since. Martha talks about this idea of following your north star. In many ways I really do believe I have been there and done that. Problem though is that my north star keeps offering new possibilities. I sort knew that when I left living on Gabriola Island after 14 years to move back to Seattle and start a partnership and business with CrisMarie. I knew that when we packed up our business and home and moved to Montana to be a part of a spiritual community here. I had hints of another shift when we signed on as Table Group Consulting Principal to launch a stronger brand around some great simple business wisdom. In that moment, we let go of our business brand and aligned ourselves with others. I sort of knew we were shifting to make room for something that was coming. I just wasn’t sure what.
Then life started presenting a series of catalytic events (another Martha term for those things that throw you into the Change Cycle). First, our closest friends were suddenly no longer a good fit. That was a heartbreaking process for us all, I believe, and who knows if those fractures will ever heal. Next, we got clarity that even though we LOVE our boxer Bailey, he needs a different home. We travel too much and he is simply a dog that wants his people close by and a buddy who will play with him. Again my heart was/is broken, and we are looking for that perfect, forever home for him. Honestly, I can’t imagine not having him around – so I may be making this harder. Then came the real kicker, our business leader decided he needed to align the brand and business around his faith, which doesn’t fit for us. Suddenly, our plans to shift our business and our life direction was thrust upon us much faster than expected.
So instead of being a new cadet just interested in learning some new things about myself, I enter this new journey with a broken heart and a spinning compass (not sure where north is right now).
Martha uses a metaphor of a caterpillar changing to a butterfly in explaining her change process. The caterpillar gets a calling to make a cocoon, but honestly, one has to wonder if when she heads to the tree to start making that cocoon if she really has any idea what will happen once she’s in there.
Apparently, she turns to goo! That’s right. It’s really the only process like it in the living world of organisms. That caterpillar sets herself up for a major meltdown. Right now, I can relate. I feel a bit like goo. Plus, I don’t really want to go out into the world and connect. I want to hide inside even though it is a gorgeous day out there. I want to be angry at my friends, my business colleagues and even CrisMarie for suggesting Bailey isn’t a good fit. But the truth is, anger is simply a way to avoid what is really happening. I am being called to change – to sink into letting go of what’s been comfortable and secure and look inside and find my inner compass.
Sure, I want this to be easy. I want to figure out quickly who will be my new best friends and what our business will be called. I don’t want to feel the sorrow of saying good-bye to my buddy Bailey or the stabbing pain when I see his playful face on a flyer looking for a new home. I don’t want to feel the ache in my chest when I bump into someone who asks how my friend’s new book is coming, and I realize I have no idea because we aren’t talking anymore.
No, I don’t like this goo place. I want to escape. That sure would have been easier to do if I hadn’t signed up for this coaching program. Because now instead of simply being along to learn a few new things, I find myself living what I learning – goo and all.
It seems now, I can only hope in the end, I come out a butterfly!!