Something happened recently that got me fired up.
A new coach sent me a Facebook message saying: "How did you know that coaching was right for you?"
Before responding, I asked him what prompted his question.
He said, "I'm asking out of curiosity, but also because I am just at a bit of a point where I am wondering if coaching is THE thing for me as well."
Here's what I wrote back:
"Well, I don't really know if coaching is THE thing for me, because I don't believe we have one thing we're destined to do. What happened for me was I started doing it, I noticed it put me in a state of flow, I got better at it, I saw it was something I could master, I saw it was the thing that gave people the most profound and lasting impact out of anything else, I saw most courses and products didn't actually change people, I saw how coaches had transformed my life, and I just kept going one step after another.
And then it was a choice - a choice to focus. I like becoming masterful at things, and mastery requires focus.
If, 10 years from now, I have those same confluence of factors come together around something else, I suppose I might go and master that.
The tricky thing about making it be a choice, instead of something that you are destined or 'meant' to do is that then you have to embrace the tension that you COULD do something else.
And maybe you should, I don't know you well enough.
But I've seen too many people get trapped by options and they never become a badass at anything.
And that sucks.
Everything gets a whole lot easier when you throw your hat over the fence about what you want to commit to because then you don't have to deal with that tension so much anymore. Not just to be a coach, but HOW you coach, and WHAT you coach on. Any decision in your business.
This is such an epidemic in the Western world, especially for upper middle class white guys like us. Because we have so many things we COULD do that it becomes paralyzing.
I heard that in one of the Eastern countries, I think it's Japan, that they have children choose an art form (could be calligraphy, poetry, etc.) when they are early on in school. Then they just have to do that one thing for 10 years as their art form.
Because they want them to have had the experience of actually sticking with something long enough to achieve mastery. It's not about the THING at all, it's about learning to actualize potential in a certain way. Then they can go apply that understanding to anything they want.
But in the US, we jump between so many different pursuits that no one learns how to get through what Seth Godin calls The Dip - the part where it gets hard and you start to doubt, the part that weeds out 90% of people - and so no one becomes a champion at anything. It's not because they can't, it's because they get distracted and scattered.
So my advice to you would be: make a 10 year commitment. Hell, make a 1 year commitment. But don't put yourself in a position where you have to go back and forth every day and you doubt the whole thing anytime it gets difficult. The doubts will come, and you'll be like 'Yup, there's that doubt thing again. I'm going to ignore you for now so that I can become great. We'll re-asses once we're out of The Dip.'
Bottom line: The only wrong decision is no decision.
The results you're getting are NOT necessarily a reflection of whether the thing you are doing is a good fit. The results you're getting are a reflection of the fact that you're learning a new thing and it's hard."
Don't ask: "Is this what I'm meant to do with my life?"
Ask: "Am I willing to do whatever it takes to master this thing I've chosen?"
If the answer is no, get out now.
If the answer is yes, I guess it's time to get back to work.