When you first looked at him he appeared to be happy. Well dressed. Intelligent. Prestigious position. Attractive salt and pepper beard.
But something in the look of his eyes….a subtle sadness…caused me to ask, “You look like you have it all together but….How are you?”
My tone and gaze made him realize it wasn’t the traditional flippant question that people often ask, then walk off without ever hearing the response. I really wanted the answer.
And he surprised me by being brave enough to be honest. It could have been the crowd that comforted him or the wine from the cocktail hour. I’m not sure. But I believe it was because it was time. He’d had enough. It was time for him to reach out for help.
He said, “I hate what I’m doing. This is all for show. I’m in a job that bores me with a boss I can’t stand. I’m smiling on the outside but every day I wake up wishing I could do or be more.”
After he finished he looked just as shocked as I was…like his heart and tongue had betrayed him for letting out the secret that it was all just a façade.
It wasn’t the time or the place to delve deeper. So, all I said was, “I understand. You aren’t alone. I’d like to help. Please call me.” He took my card and breathed a sigh of relief as he sauntered off to thank his guests.
I wasn’t sure he would call. But he did.
We scheduled a meeting and spent about 2 hours really getting to know each other. I asked questions that cut to the heart of the issue. And he had the courage to let down his guard and tell me how he really felt. About the fears he had. About how he didn’t feel like he was ‘good enough’ to leave a job of safety that makes more than most simply because he wasn’t happy.
At his age, it felt selfish to finally follow a dream. I asked him “At what age is it appropriate to finally allow yourself to live?”
He hired me to coach him.
Today when we get together he is a different man. Not only does he do what he loves, serving more people in a meaningful way…but all his relationships have blossomed because he has more confidence to embrace who he is and grasp the joyful moments in life. For me, I know all of this, because his smile extends up into his eyes. I can see he is happy.
Is there something you need to take action upon? Some voice inside of you saying “It’s time”? Reach out. I’d love to hear your story and perhaps be of help. Heather@HeatherHansenONeill.com