A very happy new year to all of our readers. May it turn out to be a very special one for all of us! Over the weekend that just passed I began thinking about what might be appropriate as one of the first blog posts of the new year when into my inbox popped an unsolicited message from one of our trainee life coaches – who is close to completing certification – titled: ‘On Becoming a Life Coach’.
What followed was one of the most beautiful and inspiring pieces of its kind that I have read … and it immediately crossed my mind to share it with you.
So with sincere thanks to Hanlie van Tonder and with her permission, I have published it here.
I hope it may inspire you to embark on your own journey to ‘becoming more’ (whatever that may mean for you) over the course of the year ahead.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.“
– Henry David Thoreau
There comes a day in each of our lives when we realise that we are meant to be MORE.
It first comes as a gentle awareness, a loving whisper to the soul, a silent stir. Then it starts to fill every fibre of your being and it keeps you awake at night.
It shows itself as seemingly senseless doodles in a notebook, random thoughts and ideas and daydreams. And then it becomes an obsession. A driving force. An obligation.
My search led me to the proverbial ‘Jordan River’ in my life. The place in my mind where I answered to my calling.
Standing at the Jordan’s Edge: Finding my Purpose
I closed my eyes as soon as I laid down on the thick patch of grass next to the river. I smiled as I felt the mellow rays of the late afternoon sun dancing on my skin and awakening my senses.
An ordinary day. An extraordinary meeting with grace. It was on this ordinary day that everything else around me became still – and I could hear only the sound of the water as it flowed between the sturdy river banks.
I knew it could not be stopped. I got up, feeling slightly light-headed as my eyes became fixated on its irresistible flow. Despite the force of the water, I was being drawn to its serenity and I felt almost weightless as I imagined being gently moved by the refreshing water.
I was a small and seemingly insignificant person, standing on the edge of a mighty river. It spoke to me and invited me in; it asked of me to surrender and to let it take me to the end of its reach. I felt both fear and exhilaration as I took a single, tiny step forward.
Cautiously contemplating the very daunting next step, I thought for a moment: how would I get back? I stood there for a very long time, with my eyes closed, listening to the sound of my beating heart. And then I asked myself: back to what?
You see, I realised then that this was the place of no return for me. I found the Jordan exactly at its destined time and place, on a life’s journey that often felt somewhat meaningless to me.
It was one of many regrets and ultimately of failure, mostly because I always felt that I should be more and do more.
During the times when I reminisced about my life, I vividly recalled the opportunities I didn’t take because I doubted myself so much.
In the end, I made too many mistakes and left too many things unsaid and undone. During my many sleepless nights I allowed myself to escape to a place in my mind where it all made sense. A life of purpose. Where every single decision and action had intense significance. But the next morning I awoke with nothing but the memory of a dream.
Or maybe it was hope.
Whatever “it” was, kept me alive in a sense and I clung for dear life onto its tiniest flicker.
I had a career that was going nowhere because I had a job that was completely removed from the things I was most passionate about. Although I was quite good at it – mostly because I was such a dedicated person – it left me uninspired and wanting so much more. Of course, this state of mind delivered its own sense of guilt.
At times I felt extremely ungrateful for feeling so much discontent. After all, there were so many unemployed people around me who were desperate for any means of income, just to be able to provide food and shelter for their families. But I also realised that my search for purpose was intended to feed me at a much deeper level. I was a drifter, in desperate search of a life of meaning.
And then I knew.
There was one thing I was most passionate about and very good at: the ability to help other people to be GREAT! I could see what they didn’t know about themselves. I was always inspired by every story of the human spirit rising to its ultimate ability.
In a preordained ‘meeting’ with the New Insights Coaching programme on a random cyber-search one Monday afternoon, all the boxes ticked for me. I couldn’t stop reading and absorbing the possibilities this opportunity held for my life, and – more importantly – for the lives of those around me.
Almost a year later, I am in the final stretch towards gaining New Insights certification as a life coach. I am both humbled and inspired by the changes my practice clients are already making in their lives and completely in awe of their amazing reaction to the coaching programme.
I don’t know what you see from the window of your office. From where I am sitting right now, I can see people soaring like eagles above the mountains in their lives, reaching higher and higher towards their goals.
They will never be the same again.
And neither will I.
[By Hanlie van Tonder, trainee life coach, Pretoria]