More questions than answers (that’s the work)

Your look, full of expectations, seeking help, wanting an answer. Your big upcoming decision, the pressure from a deadline or a contract running out. That pain or discomfort seeking release in a better future. So, you say, what should I do? As a coach, that is not the role. Some of the questions might resonate with me as a person, and with my own journey. Some are different. This isn’t the point, this journey is yours, and that is what we focus on. We are not two old friends shooting the breeze in a pub.

So many questions. A lot of them quite universal, along common themes. Staying or leaving? Take the plunge and start that business? How will I find it if I lose my former status (whatever that means)? Should I go back to Uni? How deep will this cut be, are we talking surface-level fixer-upper or big structural engineering work? But I’ve never done that before, what if I fail? How do I deal with the guilt I’m feeling about the change I really want to make? What about the money? What will they think? How do I know…? What if? What if? What if?

The answers are different for everyone, and are likely going to shift over time for you as you start feeling your way into the change, into the new things emerging, into new sides of you that you are starting to live out loud. The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke famously wrote to a young aspiring writer:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Outside of quick, focused crisis intervention that might call for a different approach, a lot of the coaching work is indeed holding the questions and digging deep, finding universal principles (like values), seeing what already works that might be useful, starting to make changes and see how they land. This doesn’t mean long and tedious, this is NOT a long-term subscription. This can come in multiple bursts along a change journey or in all sorts of other ways, alone or in a group. And you won’t be the first on this journey (Rilke wrote the above almost 100 years ago), there are common themes and patterns so you won’t have to reinvent everything from scratch. You won’t be alone on this journey. Take comfort in that. You are doing the work, and the work is doable.

In today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment, the work is indeed a lot less about that specific answer that is going to fix that one thing right now. It is a lot more about jointly developing a practice that works for you what to do with all the questions, and how you want to go about doing that based on what you deeply care about. This is part of the work. This is the work. This will then also start helping with that question. And the one thereafter. And the one after that.


And yes, there are books for that 😉
Values-based: Career and Life Decisions that Make Sense.
The DIY Phoenix: How to drag yourself out of the ashes, mend your wings and start flying again. 
Or just ping me for coaching

The lighthouse in the fog – on orientation

Let’s face it, life can be pretty complex to navigate, and the pace can be relentless. And that lighthouse you were relying on last time for navigation is now firmly hidden behind a big fat layer of fog. It’s still there but you are at the moment not able to see it. And the fog won’t budge just because you happen to need a bit of navigation help right now.

Where do you get your guidance from? From the outside? From the inside? Both? Which one is your default? For me, it is typically somewhat of a mix. Can’t do it without feedback from the outside and context information, and wouldn’t want to live with decisions that are not connected to my internal satnav (purpose, values etc).  How foggy is it where you are right now? Can you afford to wait until it clears before you make a move? How close are you to your “internal satnav”? What does it look like for you?

One way that helps me to connect both is slowing down (not a bad idea during fog anyway…). If your preferred way of orienting yourself doesn’t work for the moment, what other ways do you have available? Share examples! 

 lighthouse fog 3 closeup

Want to go deeper?

Check out the values worksheet here.
Or go deeper and get the book.
Or ping me about how coaching might help.