The year 2007 was the most frustrating: “what the fuck is my purpose?!?“
I’d been doing website design since 2000, and in 2007 I yelled and cursed in frustration for the millionth time, “Who am I – at my core? There’s NO WAY that I was born to troubleshoot web design code. NO. FUCKING. WAY.”
It finally occurred to me that frustration is a valuable tool – an early warning system that I am a TERRIBLE fit for web coding!
There was a part of web design that I really liked, however. I got a real kick out of meeting business owners and hearing about their business dreams. Web design was my way of participating in their vision. Yet building, and especially troubleshooting, their website tore my soul apart.
Research and confirmation
What do people do who like being supportive of other people’s dreams, who like being cheerleaders and positive supporters? Is that even a thing? After a month of online research and browsing books at Barnes & Noble I discovered something called Life Coaching. I didn’t actually know it was called that until researching the idea.
Then I decided to ask my long-time friends, people that had known me 10+ years, for their feedback. “I’m thinking of dipping my toe into life coaching. What do you think?” The feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “That’s perfect for you!” “That’s right up your alley.” “Duh!”
The hardest part was realizing that NOBODY who was close to me EVER said anything about my graphic design or Web design skills, even though that’s all I did. But the instant I mentioned dipping my toe into life coaching – holy shit – they couldn’t have been more enthusiastic! Some even said that they never really even thought of me as a designer.
The lesson here: ask the people closest to you who they think you are at your core.
Seeing if I was good enough
I spent a year giving free life coaching sessions to friends, and eventually strangers. I always made the same comment up front: Let me know if this even helps.
One night while talking to a friend who was frustrated with their business startup, I decided to be blunt with my feedback. I was nervous that my honesty was crossing a line, but they FUCKING LOVED MY HONESTY. From that first testimonial onward, the word clarity would pop up again and again. Shit was working! I was being helpful!
A clarity tool
In 2010, I stumbled across Strengths Finder 2.0. It showed me my Top-5 strengths – in black & white. I finally felt like somebody “got me.” It’s empowering!