Recently, I had to take my own “medicine” as a coach. I hate it when I have to do that, don’t you?
My 50th birthday was coming up right in the middle of the holidays. Over the years, I have been to friends’ parties as they hit the big 5 “O”! Some were big surprise celebrations with live music, balloons popping, oodles of food and drinks flowing and I thought that is what I wanted, to the point that I told everyone that would listen that I wanted a big bash with lots of people and a Mariachi band. But as the day approached, I wasn’t really feeling the big party scene. The idea of planning the details seemed overwhelming. On top of that, feeling rather blue, I had developed a head cold. Bleh!
I was caught between expectations and reality. I expected to make a big ta-do, others expected me to make a big deal and yet physically I wasn’t up to it and mentally, it seemed impossible. In part because of my moody broodiness about the big “Five Ohhh!” that would be displayed on the cake and the general lack of oxygen and energy from the stuffy nose and fever. Now, the old me would have done a big party come “H- E- double hockey sticks” or high water, but the new me, the gentler more accepting me that I wrote about here took more time to be present to what I wanted without “should haves” or “could haves”. When I got very quiet, it was clear that a big party wasn’t going to fit what I needed right now.
I put my coaching hat on and this is what I did for myself:
I stopped and asked myself, what is it that I really, really want for this 50th day of my life? What would make me happy? Sounds simple, but when is the last time you asked yourself that question? Not, what am I going to do today, but what would make me happy today?
What could change my internal mood to match what the day really was about, a celebration of life? Other than clearing up my head which felt like a fishbowl filled with wet cement, what would make me feel more alive?
When, I asked myself, what would make me really happy, it turned out that it was much simpler than what I had pictured that I “should do”. Somehow the dreams of a big shindig with lots of rushing around, details, activities, noise and timelines had given way to being with family, doing some of my favorite winter activities, even though it doesn’t feel much like winter here in Texas this year at 70+ degrees.
So, that is what we did, just a few of our favorite “doings”, brunch with the family, a carriage ride to see the lights around downtown (pictures below), trying out a new pizza place and opening birthday gifts with my son who, get this, was born the exact same day. What a special gift! Speaking of gifts, check out this photo!
Yes, that is a giant inflatable dog with bells and antlers. Imagine my surprise as I found it taking up most of my living room upon emerging from my morning shower.
What a surprise! I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes. My family really gets my “GO BIG, OR GO HOME!” approach to life! It was a beautiful and sweet day with no rushing, no big plans, just being content as the day unfolded and I was reminded how, as a coach, I help people define success and happiness as it applies to who they truly are, not who they think they “should be” or “could have been”. It isn’t always simple to be present to what you want and need in these ever changing lives. The world can be a noisy place, out there and inside our heads, but each day I get to support people in being just that….present, successful and happy. How lucky am I to get to do this for a living?!
If you need to create new definitions of happiness and success; I would love to talk to you about just that. Schedule free strategy session by clicking the button on the right and connect with me for an hour to see if coaching is right for you.