Updated December 31, 2018
Inspired by a series of life events, I started writing in 2014. I had no clear purpose. I simply knew I had to give voice to thoughts I'd harbored for years. Clarity has its own timetable. You can not compel it. You can only beckon it. It will arrive on its own terms and in its own time. For me, it showed up through my father on April 18, 2014. I documented that event and what led up to in my Medium.com post, We Don’t Die. I had many questions, and he had much to share. But in the end, his sage, loving advice boiled down to these two simple words: be yourself. I've heeded my father's words of wisdom over the years, and this was no exception, particularly since they arrived with even more power and a perspective I could not deny. My father passed on February 11, 1983 when I was very young and starting out. Today, I am well seasoned and starting over.
For the next year and a half, that message put me on a path that led to a weekend with poet Mark Nepo in September of 2015 at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. Mark inspired me to write "No Turning Back." I authored this poem during that visit on September 26th, my 58th birthday. He also inspired me to share my ideas and writing through this blog. My writing throughout 2014 and 2015 needed a home; so I committed, with encouragement from my family, to publish here on Christmas Day, 2015. We were all together in Santa Barbara, California. It was a magical time and I had no idea then how prophetic my simple act of committing to "be yourself" would be.
When I first published this blog, I wasn't exactly sure, "Why Me." I offered the best explanation I could at the time; but honestly, it wasn't entirely clear to me then. Now, it is much clearer. Through December of 2015, my life was entirely different than it is today. I was the CEO of a family-owned business that I had been asked to join and turn around twenty years ago. I did both while transforming that company and providing opportunity for many over those two decades. Three weeks after publishing this site, my in-law partners terminated my employment. The two are unrelated to the best of my knowledge. So obviously, this blog was not in response to that event since I didn't consciously know that was coming. Rather, it started as, and remains, a true expression of my beliefs, my knowing, my way of being. With reflection and perspective, they set me free, affording me the opportunity to live the very essence of "Be Yourself Blog" as I share my first-hand experience and thoughts about navigating life's sea of opportunity using its directive as my guide.
Moving forward from a life event like mine is the essence of living. And "forward" is the operative word. Over time, it is valuable to reflect for the purpose of learning. But staring into the past, filled with "what if?" and "why?" serves only to fuel resentment and generate pain, especially when family is involved. The antidote for setback is facing forward with a spirit of gratitude and curiosity. That doesn't mean there's no pain. There's plenty of pain, it's very hard, and there's a ton of upheaval to deal with as well. But working through it requires a vision focused forward. On January 31, 2015, I published a post on LinkedIn entitled "Grateful and Curious." It expresses how I truly felt then, and still do, and reflects my ongoing commitment to live my life fearlessly with no resentment nor regret. To never let fear stand in the way of my path to live the life I was meant to live, to be the person I was born to be, and to share this empowering truth with anyone called to listen. I found myself in the position of millions of people who have experienced, or are experiencing, what could be judged as huge setbacks. Or they could be viewed as gifts, rare opportunities to choose to pivot on their waypoint and set sail for a destination waiting for them, aligned with their life purpose. That is the course I chose. That is the course I continue to choose. Looking back, connecting the dots, that is the path I had unwittingly, but solidly taken, on April 18, 2014.
Aligned with this philosophy and way of being, I made a life-changing choice in response to this event after taking stock of my personal and professional history, passions and sense of life purpose. On Sunday, March 27, 2016, I landed in Denver, Colorado and drank in the breathtaking landscape during the hour-long ride to Boulder. Over the following week I was immersed in a class with forty beautiful people, all enrolled in the Foundations course of Newfield Network. Together, we embarked on our path to become coaches, or more specifically, ontological coaches, over the following eight months.
August marked the mid-point of my eight-month Newfield coach training program. I returned to Boulder after four months of continuous, demanding study to attend the mid-point conference and another intense week of training in "The Art and Practice Of Coaching." Thirty participants continued on, and we picked up a few more from a previous class, including students from Germany and South Africa. This added to the cultural diversity of the learning from coaches in training from Canada, Budapest, Mexico and Nova Scotia. I completed this program in November of 2016 fully engaged in the practice of coaching while entering this phase of continued lifelong learning. Finally, if you're curious about my roots, here's a little more background from my first post, cleverly enough titled, "Roots"!