Coaching case study: A bright young medical student comes to see you. He wants career advice because he’s in turmoil. He’s not sure he wants to complete his degree or become a doctor. He originally wanted to become a priest but his father encouraged him to enrol in medical school as an outlet for his altruistic motives. He tells you he’s discovered a passion for mathematics and the natural sciences and he wants to do research now. He also loves art and music. But his father wants him to focus on medicine because it’s a more secure profession and pays better. The family is indebted, two of his siblings died leaving a heavy burden on the family and he doesn’t want to let his father down.
What do you do?
On his way out you realise that you didn’t catch his name. You ask and he says: Galileo Galilei.
History is replete with examples of people who transformed the world and who faced what we would call tough career decisions. They would have had to worry about the equivalent of the mortgage, bills, school fees and more.
“When we work hard on something we don’t believe in, we call it stress. When we work hard on something we do believe in, we call it passion.” – Simon Sinek.
Galileo “followed his passion” and changed our understanding of the universe as a result. He also faced incredible duress for speaking what he knew to be true and narrowly escaped torture and execution. He faced uncertainty and the unknown continuously.
The truth is that following your passion is no guarantee that you’ll be safe, wealthy and happy for the rest of your life. It simply means that you’re willing to face the unknown and dance in it. The dance itself is the reward.
You don’t need to know your passion to take action
People worry about not knowing their passion and feel that not having one is what’s holding them back. Galileo isn’t remembered for “following his passion”. He’s remembered for challenging dogma. He questioned the beliefs held by the most powerful institutions of his day. He probably had no idea what would happen to him on many occasions. But it didn’t stop him.
Legends in the making: Many of my clients stumble upon their passion as they sit in “not knowing” for a while. We dig deep. They start to question the expectations and beliefs handed down to them. They start to refuse overwhelm. Often, they find that repairing their relationships and improving their health are a priority; they start to notice new opportunities; and from there new creative ideas emerge taking them onto a new trajectory. As a result of not knowing for a while and digging deeper, they uncover better intuitions and move forward more effortlessly.
It’s not my job to predict what will happen when my clients embrace the unknown. Some leave their jobs and move to the country, others get the promotion they’d wanted, and yet others take the entrepreneurial route to start or grow a business often as coaches or consultants. Invariably they live with a little more courage, a little less fear and a lot more clarity and flow.
True passion is a by-product of embracing the unknown. You slow down, you question your limiting beliefs, and your fear dissolves. Then your natural inner-fire has more space to animate and guide you. It’s much less struggle than you might think.
Have a good week,
If you’re ready for change and feel transformational coaching is a good fit:
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