I realized I wanted to be a coach on my very first coaching call. I served as volunteer staff at a workshop and the participants were split into smaller groups Each volunteer coach had individual calls with their small groups members on the 2nd morning of the workshop.
I remember getting on the phone and completely forgetting about myself — my lack of sleep and any idle self-concern — and being 100% focused on my coachee. I only was thinking about her well-being and how I could best support her and have her get the most value from the workshop and our call. When I got off the phone a rush of euphoria come over me. It’s what you get when you find a true love and say “oh, this is perfect for me” and “I want to do this as much as possible.”
I reflected how I was embodying my years of Zen practice in that coaching call. It was a true “forgetting of the self,” an embodiment of presence and compassion that was always my goal as a meditation practitioner and my clearest, most foundational aspect of my spiritual aspiration.
Really what hit me — and I didn’t want to admit this at the time — was that coaching was what I was meant to do. Earlier that year I had connected deeply with my lifelong desire to support people in tangible and fundamental ways, wanting to be of service to society. While I have done this on-and-off in various forms throughout my life, something hit me in early 2015: when everything is said and done, that is what I value most, service, being a contribution and making a difference in people’s lives.
However, at the time I didn’t know what that meant or how I would do that. Honestly, I was thinking I had missed the boat and was perhaps too old to think in such idealistic ways. I had a mortgage and retirement to worry about. But with coaching, I have been provided an avenue in which I am able to show up 100% in service of other people.
At first volunteering was the only way that it seemed “selfless” enough, but I later came to realize that in giving, I also get to receive and, if I allow myself to make a living by coaching, I can reach that many more people. Why do this part-time or as a side gig, when I can work full time as a coach? That way I can dedicate my life to my greatest aspiration: supporting people to live to their fullest potential.