The Power of Admitting You Don’t Have It Figured Out
I am training to be a life coach. It’s an honor to help people go down a path of honesty about what they really want to create in their lives and then help them go for it. I love coaching others. Any coach will tell you that the most important part of the training is the work that you do on yourself. We can only share (and embody) the approaches that resonate with us. So I have been on a wild ride lately, examining my own limiting beliefs, looking more closely at what I want in my life, and even, what is my unique life purpose (I have many thoughts on that whole concept, to be shared in a later post).
A few weeks ago my wonderful peer coach from the program was coaching me on the phone. We were talking about my life (my career; relationships; whether I will have a child). I broke down in tears and said something to the effect of, “I can’t believe I don’t have it all figured out yet.” I have published books and a magazine, started a company, traveled extensively, and despite all that, I sometimes feel like I am at the beginning again with a blank slate. There is so much uncertainty in my life, so many paths that can be taken (or not taken). I get the feeling that from the outside I look strong and sure, but I often feel small and confused. Like a child. Breaking down in tears to my peer coach felt potent and real.
Later that weekend I snuggled on the couch rereading an old favorite book: Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Sacredness and Depth in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore (Harper Collins, 1992). I stumbled on a perfect passage to clarify why admitting that I don’t have it figured out–that I feel like a child–actually felt very pressure-relieving.
Sometimes you hear adults in their thirties and forties say lightheartedly, “I still don’t know what I’m going to be when I grow up.” No matter how lightly this common sentiment is stated, the feeling is full of inferiority. What’s wrong with me? I should be a success by now. I should be making plent of money. I should be settled. But in spite of these wishes, the sense of the child who is not yet ready for success and settling is strong. This recognition can be a soulful moment. It bears a melancholic tone that is a signal of soul reflecting on its fate and wondering about its future. It is a potential opening to imagination, and to some extent this is the power of the child. The child’s smallness and inadequacy is the “open sesame” to a future and to the unfolding of possibility.