Updated: Aug 14
On a recent holiday to Paris, I was reminded of life in the big city! I live in a city of 45,000 people where Subway is a restaurant, not a way to travel.
My wife, Lori, and I got up and ready one morning to go and experience the Eiffel tower before several thousands others decided to do the same thing. We got on the subway and I was immediately struck and troubled by what I saw. As I looked down the car, I saw, what I interpreted as the pain of the mundane and lack of purpose was evident on almost every face.
Lori and I, smiling with faces full of anticipation, where definitely the exception.
A subway car jammed full of people, no one talking, no smiles, no apparent excitement – it was truly sad. There was no judgement in what I saw, but rather a strong connection to my own journey. I was powerfully reminded of a time in my life where that was me. I had worked all my professional life to get to the executive table and when I found myself as Global VP for a multinational, I knew I was in the “wrong” place.
I lived for many years in resignation that this was what I had worked for, this was what I thought I wanted, and I had no choice but to ride it out. After all, what would be think if I walked away from all that I had acquired and accomplished at 50+ years old?
As part of my “corporate” professional development plan, I enrolled in Royal Road’s University executive coaching program (after lots of research, I knew it was the best). I showed up at the first residency thinking this would be like so many other “training” events: a few weeks out of the office, some course work to do for 6 months and then the binders would go on the shelf and off to the next one.
All I can say is that it was life changing for me.
It was the vehicle I needed to give myself permission to entertain what living my dream would mean – I had found my calling. What I realized was the choice was mine – hang on to what I had and “ride it out” or take the risk to do what I had discovered was my life purpose.
Like so many people, when I was young, I had dreams. I dreamt and in fact started to study to become a pastor, because I was committed to being in service to others and as the son of an Anglican priest, it seemed the natural route. It wasn’t the right fit for me so soon, I let go of the vocational aspirations AND more significantly, the dream.
Here I was 30 years later coming full circle. My core dream of being in service was simply expressing itself differently now – it was as a coach, it was the right fit!. It took believing in myself and a commitment to making it happen but I have never looked back and never been more fulfilled.
As you read this and think about your life:
What dream or dreams have you let go of?
What would it take to allow you to entertain them again?
How have they evolved and what would manifesting them look like now?
What would it feel like to be one of very few people on the subway with a face of joy and anticipation?