My Dad laid it on the line for me when I was a child. “Life is hard,” he’d say. He was right. As a young adult, I struggled. Little confidence masked by bravado, trying to live up to the expectations of others, fear of the unknown, of taking risks.
Don’t get me wrong. I was never a door mat. I’ve always had a fire in me—an inner warrior and agitator running amok railing against the injustices in the world. On the surface I was bold, smart and ambitious. Fueled by Dad’s wise words, I worked hard and quickly advanced in my career.
But it was chaotic. I used to tell people, “I can’t just change one thing. I blow everything up, the dust settles and I start again.” It was an intense and dramatic way to live life and really exhausting. That fearlessness I showed the external world needed to turn inward. My power needed to be harnessed and understood. The reckless warrior needed to grow up.
I began my journey of self-discovery and that’s when life really got hard. Who knew personal growth could be physically painful? It is. My first steps were the hardest. A life-time of continuous loop tapes around my insecurities that needed to be re-recorded. No finger pointing. I was taking accountability, owning and changing my behaviours. I remember the emotional turmoil, the stress and physical pain. It’s called counselling and it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done, but it gave me the foundation and the courage to go deeper.
I became intentional about seeking opportunities to learn more about me. What motivates me? What are my preferences? Why do I approach work and personal relationships in a particular way? What are my blind spots? Where do I excel? What do I want to know more about? This is the world of personal mastery and it is exhilarating.
I spent eight years as an adult student and full-time employee getting my Bachelor of Professional Arts degree in Communications Studies. I took leadership development courses and benefited from the mentorship of remarkable women and men. I took personality and strengths inventory tests, became certified in change management, Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessments and Executive Coaching.
Has it been hard work? Damn rights, but I have never felt more confident and certain about me and how I can best be of service to others. I live my life with intention and purpose and I revel in self discovery and help my brave birds to do the same. My warrior is shaped by values of honour, integrity, loyalty, competency and courage. That’s what I bring to coaching and building dynamic teams.
So Dad, I’ve refined the phrase somewhat. Life is hard, but there are many moments of great joy.