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The long and winding road...

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Life is full of twists and turns but there is so much to learn from each one...

My dad has always been a fan of the scenic route. Why take the motorway when you can take 15 different B roads, twice as much time and no doubt pass by a pretty church and (his personal favourite) a beautiful river? No river was too small to point out to us when we were kids thrown in the back of the Renault Espace (no seatbelts - it was the 80s after all. Sometimes there weren't even any seats!). We'd all have to fein interest as we passed by what could at best be described as a stream, and at worst a slightly dishevelled ditch! But despite our obvious lack of enthusiasm, dad would continue undeterred with only the occasional stop to spread his well thumbed AA map on the bonnet of the car...

Now, I have to be honest I never quite found a way to share his enthusiasm for taking the B roads but I rather like the metaphor. Of course we could all take the motorway in life. But what do we learn on the way when we're on the motorway? It's long and straight and a little dull. There aren't many twists and turns, there's not much to learn or take in.

Fortunately life is almost never a straight line. We all encounter hurdles and bumps, twists and turns in the road. Sometimes we get completely lost. The thing that defines us is what we do when we meet these hurdles. Do we despair, stop where we are and refuse to keep moving? Or do we get out the trusty AA map, throw it on the bonnet of the car and figure out a new way. Perhaps not the way we once thought but a new way nonetheless.

Do we even go a step further, reevaluate our destination and realise we never really stopped to consider where it was we wanted to go? That's ok, because now we can take the time to work out a new destination and perhaps our map will even help us to find a new way to get to our new place...

I think the motorway analogy has probably run out of steam now so I'll tell you a little anecdote from my own life. I wasn't always a coach. In fact I had a very happy career in marketing, relationship management and fundraising. I sort of fell into it by accident because I always wanted to make a difference, and I have almost always done these roles for charities.

The problem is, I thought I knew my destination (working for charities) but I never really properly considered whether it was the right destination for me. With little more than a cursory thought I figured it must be right because it allowed me to 'make a difference' - something I always knew mattered to me. Except, something didn't feel quite right, somehow my job wasn't really making me feel fulfilled. It took a long time for me to realise what it was. The problem was I wasn't actually meeting my value of 'making a difference'. Because whilst there is no doubt that on a pragmatic level, the jobs I have done are an essential part of running a charity, I never really felt that I was changing things for anyone. And that was enough to stop me from feeling fulfilled by my job.

So, I took some time and looked at what made me happy I realised that the things that make me happy are making a difference, challenging myself, being with people, building and supporting communities. Once I worked that out, I took some more time. And a little more. And finally I realised that there was a job that would allow me to meet all these values. And that job was coaching. Strangely enough I then learnt all sorts of amazing techniques for figuring out these values and ultimately the 'destination' in a much quicker and more effective way!

If you asked me now I would tell you that with the help of a coach, I would probably have arrived at the conclusion that I should be a coach at least 10 years ago. But I didn't have a coach. So it took me a long time, with lots of bumps in the road, changes of direction, moments of frustration and hurdles to overcome. But in the end, I arrived at my destination and now I am exactly where I want to be. Helping people to change their lives doing a role that challenges me every day working with people and building a community.

We'll all have the bumps in the road, but sometimes a coach can help you to identify your destination and your direction. The chances are you'll still need to take the scenic road. But when you know where you're going and you have a map to get there, the bumps don't knock you so far off course and the hurdles don't trip you up so much.

So, take the scenic route by all means, but just make sure you know where it is you want to get to.


The most important thing here is to work out what makes you content and fulfilled. So block out at least an hour of your time to work through the values exercise in the free stuff section of the website. That will help you to understand your values and from there you'll be able to get a much clearer picture of what will help you to meet those values.

And if you think I can help you to find your destination and map out your route, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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