A major component of the Heroic Coach (formerly named Optimize Coach) program, a 300-day program I've been blessed to help run and coordinate over the past few years, is Live Coaching. Four to eight times per month, members of our community join live Zoom calls to receive support from our Staff and Luminary Guest Faculty.
Generally, someone will ask for support in moving through an obstacle in their life or they will seek guidance on how they can best lean into an opportunity.
Having been on these calls now for hundreds of hours, I often have a pretty good sense of what guidance the Coach may offer.
Sometimes though, I'm way off, just like I was earlier this week.
A woman joined to ask, in summary, these interrelated questions:
- How do I know I'm on the right path?
- How do I know I'm moving in the right direction?
- What can I do today to ensure I'm able to serve others moving forward?
- Will I know and feel that I'm on the right path?
The way she spoke of her feelings in the current moment and what she wished for as her desired future state (of feelings, emotions, etc.) made sense...I feel that too.
I thought the guidance Michael, our Chief of Staff and Head Coach at Heroic, may offer would be a tool or a potential exercise to help this woman calibrate and answer: "Yes, I'm where I need to be," or maybe, "No, something is off."
Instead he said: You (and we) are never going to be exonerated.
It's something his Coach, Phil Stutz, tells him often. We're never (ever!) going to get to a place where we're free of doubt, pain, or those uncertain feelings.
Often in personal development it can be easy to trick oneself into thinking that through hard work and through learning from prior mistakes that we can, one day, "arrive." That one day we'll be "there."
I wasn't seeing it in this woman's questions, but behind it all, she was asking, "Will I ever be 'there'?"
As Michael reminded her, and as I in turn reminded myself, the answer is an unequivocal no.
Though enlightenment would be dandy, it's not how life works. Though occasionally I'll feel a wince of disappointment that this is true, I'll more often be thankful to have this constant reminder that this is simply the human experience.
The doubt I felt today and will inevitably feel again tomorrow? We all feel that.
The fear I sometimes feel? We all feel that.
The uncertainty I might feel throughout the day? I'd imagine you feel that sometimes too. We all feel that.
The reminder that we'll never be exonerated is the same reminder that none of us are perfect, and that fact is indeed, perfect.
This is not at all to say that we can't grow or learn from our mistakes or aim to become happier over time, but we must not live with the facade that one day we'll get "there" and that then and only then will "this" all be worth it.
"This" is all we've got, this moment, this current feeling. We should cherish it, the good and the bad, the confidence and the doubt, the joy and the fear.
We'll never get there, but we are lucky to be here now.