Back to the Future

I love the above emoticon my son drew for me for two reasons:

  1. It captures beautifully the sheer effort that is required to carry any burden, emotional, psychological, spiritual, as well a physical of course.
  2. It shows with great insight that carrying a past burden partially closes our sight to our present and our future.

My lovely coaching friend Nicola Hughes took me out to lunch recently. I knew it was going to be a wonderful treat. What I didn't know is what a precious gift our time together would turn out to be.

Before I go on, I just have to say how blessed I am with wonderful coaching friends - I sometimes feel that I have THE collection of the most extraordinary people on this earth. (In these cynical times, I also feel the need to say that none of them pay me referral fees so my enthusiasm for their coaching talent is entirely genuine and disinterested.)

Prior to my inspiring lunch with Nicola, I thought of going back to coaching with mixed feelings. In truth, I was:

  • Anxious about my lack of professional activity over the past three years. Could I still call myself a coach? Did I still qualify? Could I still do it (I mean, could I still coach somebody)?
  • Nervous about how my former colleagues would react to my potential return. After all, where had I been for the last three years and who was I to suddenly reappear on the scene? Would they still know me? Would they be happy to see me?
  • Terrified of going backwards to a time where a disintegration of my professional investment in a certain college and the collapse of my health coincided. That was probably the toughest fear of all. The thought of going back did NOT feel good at all.

But then, the lovely Nicola weaved her magic - this is not an overstatement on my part. Her genuine joy at seeing me again, her excitement at my potential return, her massive encouragement which she gave to me in bucket loads without putting any pressure on me (quite a feat that, and one that very few people master) have changed my world. It helped me realise that it is only in the movies that we can go back to the future. In life, there is only going forward.

And so, I started feeling that I could go forward towards a return to coaching. I cannot overstate the impact this total shift of perception had on me. It gave me the courage to:

  • Get in touch with old colleagues whose response was so wonderfully welcoming that each reply email I received moved me to tears
  • Put my coaching hat on for a few friends and neighbours who asked for my help, and in so doing, reconnected me to the profound love I feel for my profession
  • Plan for a gradual gentle return to socialising in the coaching world when I return from France at the end of September
  • Feel the joy of going forward towards being the Coach I have yet to discover, rich with all the lessons I have learnt over the past three years.

Nicola is not a bigheaded kind of girl - I sensed her slight unease when I referred to her as a Master Coach.  Yet, in one conversation, with a lot of listening from the heart, a presence that spoke silently volumes of soul, and the ability to reflect the truth enhanced with compassion, hope, and unshakable belief, Nicola changed my life. Just like that.

Surely, that's what being a Master Coach is all about: 0).

Hip Hip Hooray!

Dearest Gabrielle.....I cannot tell you how delighted I am that you are returning to coaching! You are and always have been my core source of inspiration in the coaching world. I can honestly say the coaching community will be richer in many ways for having you back!
I think about you often and have so much admiration for you with the journey you have travelled over the past few years - you have dealt with the challenges with elegance, determination.....and most of all honesty. There is an authenticity about you that is refreshing, warming and valuable.
You will never believe the number of times I have wanted to call you ........ I wasn't sure of the value I could add to your challeneging time. And as ever the coach, when I analyse this....what poppycock is that!
I know the value of telling someone they are important to you and the impact that value can WELCOME BACK to where you belong.
Take care of you and huge love and hugs from one of your greatest fans!

Jayne :-) x x x x x x

Thank you Jayne

My reply is well overdue as I was away convalescing in France for a while but it is very sincere all the same. I am profoundly grateful for your encouragement because ........ I need it. I am deeply touched by your kindness because ...... I need it too. I guess you could say that I am in receiving mode at the moment and so I am receiving you loud and clear Jayne. THANK YOU. Much love. Gabrielle xxxxx......

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