Embarking on a new journey

Can I embrace the chaos in my head and in my life? Can I live with ambiguity for a longer time period, knowing that it will persist for quite a while? 

This question put to me some time ago while participating in a Zen Buddhist workshop about psychological flexibility stuck with me.

Change takes time. I need to step away from the urge to move fast, and instead set my own expectations. I myself determine what I want, and only need to live up to that.

I already have moved beyond the point of questioning myself whether I can really do it, because I know I can. Why shouldn’t I, honestly? 

What’s so exciting about it: the learning experience, the insights gained and the inevitable transformation. By applying it to myself and others I can really make a difference. The required technicalities will be figured out along the way. 

Finally, I am moving closer to my purpose!

Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete. (Chanda Kochhar)

My preference for people enablement was always there, hidden beneath the surface. It came up more than 10 years ago for the first time, when I realized while attending an internal company training, that enabling others is something I really enjoy. I acknowledged this insight, but did not act on it, because at that time there was no need for changing anything. I wasn’t ready to step out of my comfort zone.

Since then, this topic surfaced time and again. During the last 2 years after starting to support a new team in a different business area, I noticed more and more how happy I felt whenever I could enable others.

It was enablement in a very broad sense: presenting and explaining processes, developing concepts and finding solutions together or sharing my knowledge. 

Advising colleagues on how to deal best with their daily challenges, on communication and setting boundaries. Some conversations were very personal. I often recognized my younger self in them with all my struggles, expectations and frustrations.

It always gave me energy and a sense of accomplishment. It made my day whenever these little islands of useful activities were incorporated into my daily agenda. The feeling to have helped someone just a little bit is priceless.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It is no surprise that only when encountering uncertainty, we become open to new opportunities, We notice things that were always there but we did not pay attention to them before. But now we do.

The human factor is and always has been the most important and most valuable to me. Looking back, it runs like a red thread through my past roles and activities up to the present moment. I realized that what I want to do more of is tied to enabling others and helping them grow.

I reached out to colleagues in a people development role to get their advice and to talk things through. The idea of becoming a coach began to cristallize and got stuck in my head. 

Coaching is different than mentoring or giving advice. What fascinates me about it is how a coach can enable the client to find their own answers and take action.

Starting to research different coaching institutes and tracks I decided – considering the broad area of highly interesting educations – that I definitely want to do more than one. 

It’s your road and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. (Rumi)

Would I be any good at it? Could I really be successful at it while working on improving my own communication skills? The voice at the back of my head was there, but not loud enough to hold me back. 

Doing what I enjoy and consider so worthwhile is not going to be necessarily easy – but that is not the point nor could it ever be an obstacle. Embarking on this path feels like the only worthwhile option. 

Encouraging others to uncover their full potential, to become aware of the solution that lies inside them. Giving them an impulse to change perspective and free themselves.

Everyone has a superpower

Of course, we all have our own struggles in life and we do not have to be perfect. We are real people dealing with real life.

In fact, our struggles are our super powers because they make us human and authentic. What we go through in our own lives shapes our self-awareness, enabling us to help others approaching their challenges better.

The education itself will be a big learning experience and a personal transformation for sure. Doing what really matters and is so much needed in the world is a very strong driving force for me.

You are your only limit

Now I am wondering why I didn’t realize earlier where my journey needs to go. But it proves once more how important it is to allow ourselves the time it takes to figure out our own special path to follow. Finding clarity and direction is a process.

The answer always lies within us – by being open and exploring we can uncover it and bring it to the surface. How happy I feel since this door opened is a clear sign that it’s the right thing for me to do.

And of course, I do not have to figure out all the next steps ahead straight away. They will become clearer to me once I start walking on this new path with confidence and joy.

The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning. (Oprah Winfrey)

Discovery, awareness and choice – that is what coaching is about. 

Discovering yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your struggles and their root causes, becoming self-aware, and deciding how to move forward.

Find the answer that lies within you.

Finding our Purpose

“Your purpose is changing throughout your life. Your skills and unique qualities remain the same, but what you are using them for can of course change, as your life situation changes, you learn and evolve.”

This thought I heard while listening to Oprah Winfrey’s podcast “Super Soul” is actually very true. It taps into the multitude of interests and talents we have. And it offers new perspectives. We do not have to stand still in life but move forward and enjoy how we grow while doing it. 

When I was younger I couldn’t really make up my mind about what exactly I wanted to do in life and what would be “the right decision”. My creative interests were very broad, but it didn’t occur to me to use any of them to earn a living. Work, I thought, had to be something more “serious”. Well…

Then I started studying the law. This very serious profession turned out to be not my calling at all, nevertheless, I finished the education. The idea to switch to journalism frequently popped up in my head but I dismissed it after encountering too many obstacles. Trying unsuccessfully to get a job in law, I later got into the Tech world, building on my analytical strengths.

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.” (Brené Brown)

The concept of dabbling at a few things for fun and learning through the creative process was not clear to me at that time. I also restricted what I enjoyed doing – like painting, singing or writing – to be merely private interests or hobbies. Time went by and I began to neglect these things that were actually so close to my heart, not realizing how much I was missing out.

According to Brené Brown, everybody is creative, the question is just whether a person is making use of these very unique talents or not. She even says that not allowing ourselves to express our creativity is harmful for us. Thinking back on that period of my life I certainly agree that I robbed myself of a source of joy and enrichment which could have been an important influence on my work-life-balance. 

Reactivating my creative interests more than 2 years ago has brought a lot of enjoyment back into my life. To see my fast development in the creative process gave me a boost of energy. Interestingly enough it helped me approaching even my tasks at work in a more creative way. Definitely win-win.

“The resources you need to fulfil your dream will gravitate naturally toward you.“ (Jack Canfield)

Some people find their purpose when they are very young. Others find it later in life, and some might decide not to follow it at all. It has taken me quite a while in my life until I finally began the journey to finding my purpose by following my inner voice, and since I have started writing I feel like coming closer to it. It is also an active decision not to stagger through life on auto-pilot but to take control, be present and question and change my approach. 

What is also very true: Simply by focusing on your dream you will notice things which were in fact, always there, but now you are paying attention. And you will find likeminded people once sharing your thoughts with others. Talking to friends or colleagues of mine I often found them to be on a similar quest. Maybe we should more often start a conversation with the question “What is your dream?”

Re-visiting that old idea of mine to more seriously engage in writing and sharing what I learned, I finally pushed aside previous concerns from long ago. It’s never too late to give it a try.

“The dream does not come unless the capacity to achieve it comes with it.” (Jack Canfield)

What I have learned and realized since then on this journey is that living your life’s purpose means essentially: Doing what you love to do, what you are good at, and accomplishing in life what’s important to you. Finding your very personal answer to the question which difference you want to make.

And once this becomes the driver in your life many things suddenly fall into place. It takes discipline of course to stay on this pathway. Fortunately, you notice the recurring theme in many podcasts, books, TED talks, articles etc. which gives the needed impulses and serves as a welcome reminder from time to time.

Like the little book from John Strelecky which my brother recently gave me as a gift: “The Cafe On the Edge of the World” which is a wonderful tale on the importance of finding one’s purpose. An inspiring and impressive read, it speaks to the heart asking exactly those questions, another reminder for me reinforcing my resolve.  

Because this very individual journey takes as long as it takes, figuring it out. 

What I really enjoy: discovering new insights and learnings along the way, realizing that I can trust the right time for my next move will come. I do not need to know all the next steps lying ahead to get started on something. 

Having a preference for structure and planning, it was of course not so easy for me to take that approach. But moving out of my comfort zone in that regard has worked well for me so far, and surprisingly, I am feeling more in tune now with my inner voice. 

“The world belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.”(Eleanor Roosevelt)

So, coming back to Oprah’s quote that “our purpose is changing”: it makes perfect sense, considering what we pick up and learn on our personal quest, broadening our horizon and always asking questions while moving forward. There is no need to restrict ourselves. And the more we learn the more we can give back to others. 

There will never be a time in life when we are finally “perfect” or so accomplished that we would not need to learn anything new anymore. We are constantly learning and trying out new pathways. Our decisions shape who we are and who we become, and our mistakes teach us. It’s important to acknowledge this as a part of life – inevitable, sometimes of course, very frustrating, yet enriching. 

Looking back, I think now that life is not about “taking the right decision”. There is no such thing as a cookbook about life (important to convey this to the younger generation!). Deciding to turn into a different direction at some point leads into a new world, brings new insights or makes us change our preferences. Being able to use our unique personal talents and skills for these different bus stops we encounter in life is a gift.

Actually, our path itself – in a constant state of flux – is the destination. Once you give it a try walking down on it and be open-minded about what you may find, you’ll surprise yourself.


You find Oprah Winfrey’s podcast Super Soul on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Brené Brown is a researcher and author of several highly recommendable books: 

Check out Jack Canfield, success coach and co-creator of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”: 

More about author John Strelecky and his inspiring books – here

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