It is such a gift when people believe in our potential, especially when it opens our eyes to the truth of who we are.
One day as I was driving alone, I started recounting all those memories of the people that have helped me and cheered me on. While it sounds very cliché, there really is no way to describe how I felt other than gratitude.
Of all the positive emotions, gratitude is way up there. So in terms of your journey to knowing your real self, starting with the things you are truly grateful for is a good choice.
The first person that stood out for me was my swim coach. Unbeknown to me at the time, the head coach of the swim team I had joined had said I’d never make a great swimmer, but Bill Tinney believed in me and gave me separate coaching.
He taught me all he knew, including the study and practice of Mark Spitz’s strokes (Spitz was a 9-time Olympic champion and won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Olympics, the year I was born). When there was no more to teach he graciously handed the reins to another great coach, Owen Flannigan or Mr. F as we called him, who intuitively knew the power of the mind.
Thanks to those men I competed at a fairly high level in my sport, learning when I was 14 that I had just missed qualifying for the national squad. That gave me a shock because I hadn’t even realised I was in the running and it helped me recognise that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. So after years of 3 hours of practice every day, I quit at 15 and have never looked back.
Then when I started out in the field of customer experience transformation, I had never worked in a large organisation, never in the field of customer services and had never managed a team, yet my manager saw something in the interview process that obviously fit the bill. A year after starting that job I was awarded with a national customer service award and went on to win it the following two years also.
It started a career that I loved, in a world that just seems largely unwilling to embrace the simple truth that customers can and should more directly drive the types of services and products companies offer and the way in which they’re offered. But with too many egos, processes and mind bogglingly complex systems in the way, it became disheartening.
There are so many more examples in my life of people who have believed in me, who pushed me beyond where I might otherwise have gone and have helped me to discover more of who I am and am not.
When I embarked on this current chapter of mine, let’s call it the ‘discovery of who I am’, I remember talking to my previous boss about the possibilities of what lay ahead. He is someone who also values authenticity and had taught me a lot about where my own natural strengths lay. But he couldn’t reconcile the person he knew with someone who might spend time alone writing.
At that point I had had very little time to myself in years; a more solitary life was appealing. Days in the office were filled with meetings and, even in the middle of the night, I had been called upon by my children for feeding, changing or comfort. Time for uninterrupted thought was at a premium in my world.
Also, in embarking on each big change in my life, my preference is to retreat. Ultimately I know everything will turn out well and I find solace in time alone, feeling connected to me again.
So taking the road less travelled and starting to publish my writing, while moving away from the corporate career and moving cities, was cathartic. I needed time to incubate into this new phase, not even knowing what it was I had to say. Now I love the process of writing, it's like being a vessel that words just pour through and it feels good.
It is with thanks to those of you who have read my writing and encouraged me to stick with it, that I’ve rediscovered my authentic self, and what it has to say. Having withdrawn into myself deeply at the outset, I’ve enjoyed connecting with those of you around, the seekers, for the mutual joy that the answers bring us.
Now I’m ready for the next stage of the journey. What I believe is that all of us have the power within us to be and do amazing things, when we do them from a point of our true self. We are not always in a place to see our own potential, and that is the magic of others who believe in us. Think about the people in your life that have believed in you, and those that you believe in, and go and create some more magic.
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