2018 Reflection: What's In My Heart
2018 qualifies as the single greatest adventure I have ever taken in my life. That says a lot because if you know me, you know I am an adventurous person. I’m always seeking a thrill even if it means jumping out of an airplane, racing to be the first in line for thrill rides, signing up for experiential leadership retreats and... let's just say I have a tendency to leap and think later; call it a "Watch this!" or "Why not?" attitude, if you will.
My greatest successes this year were a result of saying "YES" before considering the full scope of the tasks. Those successes were receiving my CPCC status and partnering with the Benedictine Leadership Institute of Mount Marty College for their Freshmen Retreat at the Grand Canyon. What an incredible experience it was to lead a group of 150 freshmen students and college professors through processes that helped them lessen the effect of their saboteurs, identify a life purpose statement and create both a vision and plan for their future!
In spite of this exhilaration, the journey of entrepreneurship has been terrifying and heart-breaking. There were many days I didn't make much progress and felt like I had a long way to go. In turn, I wondered if I made a mistake, if the task of building a successful coaching business was too great. I questioned "Is this really what I am suppose to be doing?" In other words, I was losing heart. I am sad to admit that at least once I day I thought about quitting and about once a week I sincerely consider it.
During these moments, I lost heart, I got discouraged, felt overwhelmed and was stuck in an unhelpful perspective. I forgot why I entered into this role and what it was that I am longing to create from it... ultimately, what's in my heart. Instead I was captivated by fear of failure, especially in the forms of ending up in debt, letting my family down and disappointing my clients.
I haven't thrown in the towel and given up on being an entrepreneur simply because every night I go to bed thankful for the opportunities entrepreneurship as given me. And, I truly feel I've been called to be a coach. It is the longing in my heart. I am confident that I will prevail and so I continue to "soldier on." I remind myself that this is a journey that takes time and that regardless of what happens, everything will turn out okay. It is learning which is equivalent to growth.
What I have learned this year through coaching and the process of starting Empowered Coaching, LLC, is that my heart is the essence of my identity. What's in my heart is the core of who I am and what I want to create in the world. Therefore, it is the center of my leadership. Whether it is good or bad, it is how I show up in the world. As famous philosopher Dr. Seuss said, "Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-ier than you." My heart is my inner being where my dreams, desires, longings and passions reside. It is both from the place I pour out into the world and the place where people connect to me. The battles within my heart, whether won or lost, is what connects me to what's really important.
The second thing I've learned is that my heart is the most valuable leadership tool I have and therefore, I must protect it. In all of my jobs, it has been my skills, experience and knowledge that created success with the tasks of my role. However, it is my heart and that which comes from it that sets me apart as a leader. In the bible, Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." My heart is my spring and therefore I must protect it. Much like in nature, a stream flows from a spring, a place where water bubbles up from the earth. If for some reason the spring gets closed, the stream will stop flowing. It the spring gets filled with pollution, the stream becomes toxic.
My heart directly impacts my influence on the world. My heart is the most important organ in the body because it pumps blood throughout my body keeping me alive. If it stops pumping, I will die. It is an essential organ. Spiritually speaking, my heart is essentially what is keeping me in business. What's in my heart is what's being pumped out into my daily tasks and most importantly, to my clients. My successes or failure are not always a result of my skills or knowledge. More often than not, it is my heart's engagement.
As I move forward into 2019, my goal is to continue to fill my heart with things of hope and encouragement. I have chosen "GROW" as my word to remind me that everything I am experiencing whether good or bad, is there to help me learn. As long as I keep learning, I'll keep growing much like a seedling.
"I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came." ~Abe Lincoln