Dreams are Serious Business.
I was working with a business person recently who was just about to turn that
corner, to achieve what she'd been aiming at for a long while. It's been a long
struggle. Since first starting out on the journey, she'd experience serious health
issues that took her out of the game for a while. The kids were older now. She'd
wanted this while the kids were young so that she could do things with them that
her parents never even considered. The oldest was 17 and the youngest 11.
Recently, after a long illness, her father was released from a painful life, and
died. My client became very low.
She became sad that she was doing no better for her kids than her parents had
done. Even though a glimpse of business success was finally on the horizon, it
was, she felt, coming too late. We explored the ways in which her parents had
not lived up to what she felt that a parent should do. Then we compared that to
what she does as a parent. In examining the way her parents raised their
children, it became obvious that there was very little in common with the way my
client was raising her own children. The futility that she was feeling in terms of
developing the business – using the logic that it was too late – did not hold up
under the scrutiny of her actual family circumstances.
Things don't always turn out the way we want them to. In fact, things rarely turn
out exactly as planned. When things work out well, they often work out better than
we could have imagined, and when they don't (such as a failed marriage or
business partnership) we wonder, "how could we have been so wrong?" Life is
bigger than we are.
Because of the inclinations, based upon fear, to remember the negative, we
often forget the times that things worked out much better than we could have
planned. That's what was happening with my client. As we talked, I found out
that what she wanted, in addition to building a business, was to do marine
research, to dive deep into the sea and explore its depths. She said it with
embarrassment. She actually spoke imperceptibly when she said it and
blushed. When she blushed it occurred to me how long it had been since I'd
seen a grown person blush. How rarely we put our insides out there vulnerable
enough to blush. But she did it then. And then she rushed on, talking about a lot
of other stuff.
"Back-up, tell me about doing marine research." Her eyes lit up. She went into
detail. She then grew somber and told me that it was too late. With some further
discussions it became clear that she wasn't saying she wanted to become
world-renowned in the field. She wanted to study and dive.
Many people want to know the difference between therapy and coaching. This
case illustrates where the line between coaching and therapy are a common
boundary. I referred her to counseling expecting that she might explore the ways
in which she gave up on his own dreams based on the prototype of other
disappointments. Some of us learn in therapy that giving up on our dreams is
merely a defense against past events, events that have already taken place. With
these insights there is a greater likelihood that he/she will develop a healthier
response to hardship than giving up on her dreams. From a coaching point of
view, we discover our personal values, goals and dreams. We recognize and
grow our unique personal strength. We then map out a course of action that is
based upon our strength and is pointed in the direction we want to go. Without a
dream, this process would be like sailing the sea without a compass, GPS or
destination in mind. The dream is both the wind in our sails and the point on the
horizon toward which we glide. Dreams are important. They are oxygen to the