After I published my post on Monday I received an email from a friend who said, “I just read your blog and so much of it resonated with me. I have had a similar life experience.”
He is a talented coach but, like me, has struggled to find his path in life.
Around 10 years ago he felt he had finally arrived at the “what I want to do when I grow up” station.
“I knew I wanted to be a coach. I had psychometric assessments telling me it was an ideal career choice. I had coaches telling me I should be a coach. And I went on one of the top coaching courses in the UK. However, I didn’t know how to run a business properly or market myself as a coach. I heard of philosophies along the lines of “do the thing you love and the work will follow”. So I did the thing I loved. And the work didn’t follow. My career felt like a deserted wasteland.”
Now, ten years on, he has more clients than ever and is “as happy as I ever could be” when coaching.
But he’s only at this point because he changed something fundamental about the way he was working.
“What I realised was that it wasn’t the job itself that was the problem, it was the ‘channel to market’ that I never got right.”
In the old days he didn’t just want to be his own boss. He wanted to own his own organisation. And this, he realised, was the very thing that was holding him back.
When he switched to working as an associate for other coaching and training organisations who passed coaching clients to him, things started motoring.
“As a freelancer, to a great extent I am still my own boss, I just no longer run the sales and marketing department. There are downsides to this. I don’t make as much money per coaching session as I would if it was my own venture. However, that’s more than compensated for by having more work in total. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.”
He also discovered an added benefit:
“I dislike doing admin, sales and marketing so it’s a relief to be able to pass on a lot of that to the coaching companies I work for. It’s also nice to feel included in someone else’s organisation – I feel less isolated in the business world as a consequence.”
Switching from ‘running the whole show’ to being part of a coaching organisation made him happier and more successful. Result!
Similarly, when I was younger I had ambitions to be a novelist. Not just any old novelist, mind. A high-faluting, la-di-da novelist (the kind that might win the Nobel Prize for Literature).
The problem was, when I read other books like this, a) I didn’t understand them, and b) I felt sick at the thought of trying to emulate their talent.
So I stopped writing (and dreaming).
For years and years and years.
It was only when I found my medium (children’s books) that I got the urge to start writing again. And bizarrely, after writing a couple of picture books, I found myself sketching out some ideas for a novel. Not a high-faluting work of art. An exciting, magical story for children (and the odd grown up child).
Sometimes you’re on the right track, but you’re in the wrong vehicle.