People want clarity and they ask for answers. I'm getting this a lot lately, especially since declaring how important "getting clear" is in my recent TEDx talk.
I'm noticing more and more people asking me for ideas, advice and solutions to areas where they feel stuck in their lives. I mean, I get it. I'm a coach. I help people get unstuck. It's what I do.
So it makes sense that they would come to me seeking help in the form of answers.
And then some people become incredibly frustrated with me. They realize I don't give answers. Especially to the biggest questions in life:
-how do I quit my job for the dream I have?
-what is my true sexuality and what happens if I express it?
-should I be a vegan or Paleo?
-what kind of exercise is best for me and my body?
I have no clue, I tell them. That's something no one can tell you. For as much as I'd love to market myself as this know-it-all guru-type being who has all the answers (because trust me, that's easy to sell) my integrity won't let me do it. I can't sell some bullshit "four-step formula" to follow or pretend like I'm going to fix your life.
I have a pretty decent track record of solving my own shit and have inspired some incredible transformations in the lives of my clients who sometimes tell other people about me. That's all I need.
But my style isn't for everyone and like I said, some people become incredibly frustrated with me when they realize I'm not in the business of selling answers. It happened recently, in fact. I was asked to share some nutrition information and I showed up and did my usual spiel about us all being incredibly different with different resources available to us and how there's no one right way to do anything.
The folks seemed frustrated, maybe even a little annoyed or disappointed. I know why--and it's because most people are used to being told what to do. It makes it easier in a way, right? It takes the risk of failure and rejection out the picture---or at least supports that delusion. If someone tells us what to do, what steps to take, how to be/act/dress/walk/talk/live--basically how to be who we are--we can blame them when something doesn't work, right? YES! Then we don't have to be responsible for our lives!
And that's how most people live. They live in these "life boxes" that are really uncomfortable but safe because someone else is in charge.
Someone else is accountable.
Someone else pays our check or gives us orders/directives or manages us in some or many ways.
And then we spend our miserable lives complaining about all of this. We limit ourselves and then cry disempowerment, victim and resignation.
I experienced this intimately this past year when, after spending many months extracting myself from a few situations that weren't right for me, I found myself completely and utterly disoriented. My internal compass was toast---broken and in dire need of recalibration.
"Let me ask these 'experts'", I said to myself. These marketing professionals who will tell me who I should be and how I should brand myself. I was struggling with something for which there was no paved path: I'm a health coach who happens to be transgender and I have little to no interest in being a poster child for the current "LGBTQ issues" bandwagon of political activism. Nope, not my chosen career. I am a health coach. And I thought I needed help to figure this out.
All I have for you right here is a big huge L-O-fucking-L.
I ended up paying close to $1000 in consult fees (worth the investment if you get your damn ROI) to arrive at this answer: no one could tell me. I was looking for permission that I didn't need from people who had no capacity (or right) to provide it.
Seriously. They meant well, and gave it their best. But I was left with the irony or silliness of asking two straight, cisgender strangers to tell ME, a transgender health coach, how to brand and market myself.
Yeah, I know. This is what WE DO! We ask other people who barely have the ability to get their own lives on track. Why do we think people know better than us? Because we don't trust ourselves. We don't listen to the truth and INTELLIGENCE that lives in us all.
Does this mean conversations, consults and even counsel aren't helpful? I'm not saying that. I have accountability coaches, a therapist and other colleagues who I pay, often, to listen to me think my shit out.
But I don't ask them what I should do. And you shouldn't either. Because no one can tell you.
You want to create something--a life of your dreams in some form or fashion. A relationship. A career. An identity you feel is integrated. Something else maybe? And that involves creating it.
Creativity is the result of destruction, chaos and construction. And it happens over and over.
You can't create something or build something that is YOU by asking someone else how to do it. You can't cherrypick your beautiful, unique self into existence. Stop trying to do that, please.
Who are you? What do you want? What do you need to thrive and feel fully awake and GRATEFUL to open your eyes each day?
I don't know these answers. You do. Or start figuring them out. It's what no one can tell you.
So are you ready to stop asking?