Having these outcomes, I reasoned, would transform my life by providing definite steps to assist the realisation of my goals. I knew it would not be a quick fix and so I committed to six sessions. I was excited to be able to give a voice to the career options that had been dancing in my head for so long.
Our opening session highlighted the complexity of my life journey and my need for certainty. Buoyed by the vision of a definite way forward I enthusiastically engaged in the conversation, journalling, reading and completion of other activities suggested and facilitated by my coach. I was driven by the outcome and excited for the day when career clarity would come.
I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere in the middle, the whole process became very messy. My coach patiently but relentlessly poked, prodded, questioned, queried and challenged until it seemed I was more confused and anxious than ever. Her perceptive observations highlighted my overwhelming reliance on others' opinions and the excuses I made for not realising dreams that were buried under layers and layers of debris. I wanted to climb out of the chasm but it seemed each time I found a ridge to hoist myself, the rain fell, the soil crumbled and I lost my footing, falling backwards. Scrambling and struggling for breath I trudged through the mud and the muck caused by the torrential downpour, cursing the day I'd committed to this coaching business and waiting for the sun to shine again.
Rather than achieving the clarity I was desperately seeking I had instead opened Pandora's box. The coach's gentle prodding had led me to release a stream of options that until now had been tightly held and regarded by me, as impossible. She dared to suggest that nothing was impossible, even to me, thus pushing me to address the deepest of fears and to consider all options as open.
It would be fair to say that a clear direction did not emerge as I had envisioned. The steady fall of rain continued and the view though the window was blurred. I had no idea where the map was, let alone, how to navigate. I stood at the fork in the road in the teeming rain, knowing that the highway was safer for travellers. It was a smooth road, well lit and straight. It was a road favoured by many and the signage was good. It was the road I had expected to take when I embarked on the coaching journey. The other road was filled with pot holes, steep, slippery and dark at night. The day view was often obscured by fog and mist but at the top of the mountain when the weather cleared, if it did, the view was glorious.
I started coaching in summer. The weather was consistently sunny and the forecast suggested little or no change. Some occasional afternoon storms could be expected but the tourists were enjoying life on the mountain top. Before long though, summer merges into autumn; leaves change and new colours emerge. It is a season that expresses options and possibilities.
Winter then arrives without warning; bleak, dark and miserable. I struggle with the isolation, the dark days and the obscured view from my window. The dirt roads are almost impassable and the mountain top is barely visible through the mist.
I always love spring; the air is filled with the promise of new life, of glorious change. It speaks of possibilities and potential. It is in spring that the road dries out and the tourists begin to plan their summer trek to the mountain top.
Life is good on the mountain top in summer. It is summer in Australia and I am about to embark on my chosen road. I know the safe, smooth road is available to me as always, but thanks to the messy, ugliness of coaching I also know that if I want to I can choose the steep, slippery road that leads to the possibility of an amazingly glorious view.