Once in a while, the Universe gives you a nudge. Other times, it gives you a simple nod of approval.
We’ve all been "nudged" before. A perceived failure leading to an important lesson that needed to be learned. An unexpected success or gratitude deeply appreciated. A challenge from which there was no turning away from that accelerated your growth. These nudges happen periodically and often go unnoticed if you’re not looking or listening for them. But if you are, take the time to reflect. On rare occasions you might see something magical about where you’ve been, where you’re going, and who you truly are.
One might call this destiny.
I remember being on the phone years ago with someone who would eventually become one of my mentor coaches, Jeremy Blanchard, just before I began my own journey as a coach. When I first heard about coaching, I made what seemed a sudden energetic shift, identifying very quickly that this was my calling, my life path, my destiny, whatever you want to call it. In essence, I recognized it was what I was made for all along. It was like a song lodged in my heart; each time I heard its rhythm, I longed to dance.
At the time of "the call," I was a school counselor, and freshly so. I’d participated in a handful of seminars on my own time and my own dime where coaching was the “instrument/tool" used to facilitate personal breakthrough and growth. Needless to say, I found these seminar experiences both illuminating and exhilarating.
If you’ve never experienced the rush of watching someone have a personal breakthrough, or had one yourself, you might not understand. But to this day, I’d rather spend my vacation time in a course-room watching others’ lives transform than traveling to some exotic destination.
So when I spoke with Jeremy (a mentor to be) about an upcoming seminar conducted by an actual coaching academy, I was no stranger to the power these experiences could have. We spoke for an hour, during which I repeatedly and fervently proclaimed a number of my life’s visions, including but not limited to: facilitating transformational seminars, being a coach for creatives and youth workers, and changing the face of education.
I recall thinking, “Where did all that just come from?” I sometimes think Jeremy wasn’t quite sure what to make of me on that first call. I felt this same sentiment again when I met him in person at the course in Oakland months later after having proclaimed myself a coach already despite having never coached anyone. With a hand on my shoulder, he’d taken pause, rotated toward me with eyebrows raised quizzically and said, “You are?”
I, of course, nodded. He mirrored my affirmation and with a laugh said, “Of course you are.”
A few months after the seminar in Oakland with Jeremy, I attended a week long license renewal course for educators in order to keep my school counseling degree up to date. During these courses, speakers are hired to present on a topic seen as valuable for educators' growth. I had mixed feelings about this experience.
Some presenters talked about vanilla subjects. Some presented on things I’d already heard about a dozen times. Others masterfully engaged the whole room and delivered loads of interesting information. But no one talked about the experience of education, or about educators themselves. No one discussed the mindsets and beliefs educators, or anyone wishing to make an impact for the greater good, faces. You see, just as coaching is an instrument for transformation and breakthrough, educators are THE instrument for education. I walked away with a clear picture of the impact I longed to make.
I told myself, “Someday, I’m going to present at one of these courses.” I wanted educators to learn about the vision they have for their classrooms, the vision they have for their schools, even the vision they have for their personal lives because THEY are the instruments making all the difference. The systems they're in merely enhance what's already there.
With this unique approach, I would change the face of education, I declared in my heart. I now know it can be done because I’ve done it--many times over--with clients pursuing their goals and dreams in the field of education as well as various others. When you make yourself an instrument of change, allowing the purity of it to travel through you, unchecked by your worries, doubts, and fears, the experience shifts. And when the experience shifts, so too do the results.
I’ve held the vision for presenting these principles ever since, and practiced them more and more as I've grown into myself as an instrument for the difference I'd love to make. Recently, I made the decision to step fully into self-employment. I saw how much I wanted to accomplish, and knew I couldn't do it while remaining a school employee.
As it happens, on my very last day working for the federal government, I received an email from the woman who ran the educator license renewal course I had taken years prior. Yes, the very same one I had attended and envisioned presenting at. The day after that--my first day being fully self-employed as an instrument of change for my vision--she hired me to train a group of 35 educators.
After I’d made the decision to make the shift, the Universe gave me this nod of affirmation, as if to simply say, “Yes, Michael.” So what do I call it when a piece of my vision is fulfilled after three plus years of gestation on the very day I step fully into the unknown, my heart and mind finally open and willing to do what I’m passionate about doing?
I call it destiny.
It reminds me of that moment long ago, standing beside Jeremy in Oakland, his hand resting on my shoulder. Without any experience to validate the statement, I inform him I’m a coach. He pauses, looks at me with raised eyebrows--seeing something. And then he says, “Of course you are.”
Pay attention to the nudges like these. Pay attention to the nods. Pay attention to the instrument you want to be and to the songs you want to write. Move with the rhythms you love and be moved by them. Learn to dance with the songs in your heart.
It’s all there already... if you’re willing to listen.