From JC to CJ (Coach J)

Party Time!!! Here it is, this month I became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) for the International Coach Association (ICF). However... What I really want to write about is the journey which was the pursuit of a dream for 20 years and which accelerated incredibly in the last 18 months to get me to where I am today. What I bring to my clients, more than the accreditations and knowledge is the way I have been shaped by pursuing and ignoring that dream for most of my adult life. Today, I close the chapter of that chase and I start a new one in which I am living the dream. A new beginning where what I do and who I am are the one and the same thing. My former boss gave me as a departing gift a t-shirt which said: “Own your Truth” At the time, I did not fully appreciate its meaning, I now realize that I was on a journey to seeking my Truth and bringing it back to my day to day life. Today, more than ever before, is the day where I can proudly wear that t-shirt. To reach that point is a story in itself. A story of Listening and Ignoring Escaping and Surrendering Learning and Knowing Doubting and Believing Changing and Accepting If you are curious…read on…

 

It all started in New-Zealand…

It was almost 20 years ago and I was living in New-Zealand during a career break spending my time surfing, writing, self-introspecting, and cooking. During that time I discovered the field of coaching which was emerging in the US. Rapidly, I took a coach myself, Peter Vajda, and started to deepen my self-discovery process. The more time I spent on the phone with Peter who was based in the US, the more I was convinced that I wanted to become a coach.

Coincidently, I also started to meet coaches in New Zealand. I could feel it in my bone, I could feel it in my flesh, this is what I wanted to do, this is whom I wanted to become.

But back then, a dream was a dream, a calling a mere calling, and I didn’t have to believe in them

When a calling is not convenient…

So after a year spent listening to my heart and having very vivid images of my future self, I let my mind conclude that if this was probably a nice dream, this was not convenient, this was not practical. My mind’s logic was implacable… I had attended the best schools in France, I had been trained with science, engineering, and economics, I was for sure destined to a life in a large international company. My future would be into becoming a business leader.

The choice was made, I buried my dream alive, I ignored the calling and went on to find a job in one of the largest company in the world.

A calling is a calling, No matter What…

I went on with life, became a father of 3 children, progressed into my career, traveled, and made money. All was well…and it was not well. In moments of solitude, like in a plane, or after a few drinks during a party, the gate I kept locked, would open for a moment. When it did, images of whom I could have become, if I had chosen to listen to my heart, were returning with a vengeance. I was wondering if meeting the person I could have become was not in itself a definition of hell.

This became a trademark of my life…keeping the gate locked and when self-control was weaker the gate would open again.

It could have lasted forever but the Unexpected decided otherwise…

So I chose a life where travel was a key element. When you travel you always have to go somewhere and I could escape from my calling, keeping myself busy and distracted. Then the Hurricane came and created havoc in my life. My wife was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and for 3 years was on the brink of not making it. When she recovered and it was safe for me to “feel” again, the tap of emotions opened and it all came rushing through me. I no longer could lock the gate again. It was inescapable, I was left with no other choice than to surrender to my calling and accept whatever would come with it. “Convenient” and “practical” considerations were put aside, and I jumped into the unknown.

A beginner mindset in a wise man

As I started my dual education path consisting of a Psychology university degree and my professional coach training and certification, I found myself in the strange position of having to learn many new things while discovering at the same time that my life experience had equipped me with deep inner wisdom. I felt like a student and a teacher at the same time: what I was learning echoed and gave form and context to what I already knew. It became an incredible knowledge consolidation journey where I voraciously learned about things I already knew but could only really understand, now, for the first time.

You cannot believe until you have experienced doubt

Here I was 18 months ago starting my coaching trajectory, ready to learn everything there was to learn about coaching. Learning I did and more than I was hoping for. The real learning though was to dive into "me" and learn “me”. Being coached countless hours by fellow students, faculty members, and my coach, I went to places I didn’t know I had in me and to other places, I knew I had but didn’t want to visit.

Doubt appeared, cracks in my resolve showed. Maybe I was not up for it, maybe I had mistaken the calling. I had assumed that following my dream would be plain sailing and it was not. Shall I take these headwinds as a sign that I was not going in the right direction and that I should turn the boat and safely return to port?

Or were these doubts not only part of the journey but an essential part of it? These moments where the looming decision of “continuing or turning back” shows up and defines to a large extent whom we become. Would I continue to tip-toe the water or would I decide to go "all-in"?

I decided to fully experience my doubts, feel my fears, and do it anyway.

And today is the day

Today is the day of finishing that step which might be the first of many. There are more coaching and psychology on the way ahead, but for today I will simply connect with whom I have become. There have been many changes in me and at the same time, paradoxically, the essence of that change was to accept myself unconditionally and let my self-judgments fade away. Listening, seeing myself with my head, emotions, and spirit, I realized that there was nothing to change. And this realization changed everything.

Today, this is what I bring to my client, this journey which brought me to sit in front of them. Showing-up as I truly am opens a space for them to say things aloud they have never told anybody, not even to themselves. And this is the beginning of their own transformation.

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