Today I had a completion session with a 31-year-old client who I partnered with for three months. When she came to me she’d been in a job for more than 10 years and had been feeling stuck for some time. She was ready for a change but had a lot of fears about taking a leap. She didn’t trust that a new opportunity was going to emerge and her saboteurs were strong, magnifying the challenge.
In our coaching we came up with the metaphor of the long jump, and returned to it over many sessions. Early on we physically moved to a place that we called the ‘starting line,’ where all the possibilities and all the fears stood in front of her. Next she felt what it was like to pick up speed as she moved towards the white take-off line, (aka her job search). Then we went into slow motion — what would it be like to put just the ball of one foot on that white line? What did she feel as she began to lift off the starting line? What did she notice as she looked out from the peak of her jump? What was the feeling as she brought her legs out in front of her reaching for maximum distance? And what was there for her as she landed? Slowing down each part of the process gave her time to see and feel more clearly. I love working with metaphor, it’s visual and playful but very, very real for the client-coach partnership, and a useful way for clients to get outside of their situation and into what’s possible vs. what’s not.
For my client there were false starts along the way as she looked to completely change the direction of her career. There was guilt around letting other people down as she stumbled. Half way through our work there was also a calling and deep connection to her spirituality which gave her a new confidence, strength and direction.
When I asked my client what she’d learned about herself she said, “I make things bigger in my mind but once I had trust it was liberating. I saw that by taking a big chance, bigger things can happen”.
I am proud of her getting herself unstuck. She was not living her values at her previous job, she was unhappy, unfulfilled and under-earning. But she liked her colleagues.
My client left her job two weeks ago and is now freelancing in the part of her industry she loves the most. There’s lots of room for her to grow and she’s not letting the fears get in her way, instead she sees opportunity. And she’s earning more in 6 hours than she was in a full week at her old job!