Keep Dreams Alive

by Business Coach Chuck

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 soul.