Are We Ready for Soul Search Sessions?
Do you usually wake up each morning, excited about what you are about to go do?
Or are you going through the motions of your day, secretly wishing you could be doing something different?
Are you privately yearning for something more?
Do you even dare think about your own personal fulfillment—as the reflection would bring you to a place of deep, uncomfortable and unsettling conclusions?
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were having dinner with a couple celebrating their retirement from each of their 35-year careers. They both had had leadership positions in large, Fortune 200 companies and would be considered “successful” by most people looking from afar at their career accomplishments.
As we discussed what they were planning for the future, I was struck by some of the comments they both were making:
“I am finally free to do what I want,”
“I can now spend some time being me”
“I never really liked what I was doing, you know the grind…”
“I don’t know how I survived all those years”
“I’m amazed at those people who have jobs doing something they really love and making a real difference…”
And so on… the comments followed the same pattern.
The theme of the conversation was about how retirement now meant being “free” to create the life they had really always wanted to live.
It made me think about some pretty deep conversations I have had with many of my clients over the years. So many talk of how they have fallen into and worked hard at jobs they are in that bring them little fulfillment, but somehow satisfy a need for outward achievement and validation. They each describe the same dilemma they feel—once they have reached a certain point in the achievement and status hierarchy—it is hard it is to give up the attachment to the identity of the title and material rewards they have become so accustomed to. So they rationalize that this path is a temporary means to an end—retirement. Once retired from their executive positions at age 55, 60, or 65, they can then do some deeper contemplation about what they really want to do and the deeper impact they want to have on the world.
But then there are the ones who experience a lightening bolt that hits them on the head with some sort of crisis.
Sudden loss of a job.
Experiencing the death of a loved one.
Being diagnosed with an illness or having a sudden health scare.
Suddenly facing divorce.
The crisis they face thrusts them out of the self-induced trance into a full-blown soul search.
“Who am I, really?”
“Is what I’m doing what I really want to be doing?”
“What do I really want?”
“How do I create a life and living that is closer to the answers to those questions, still make a decent living, and be more deeply fulfilled?”
I know I have had my own wake-up calls over the years. Wake-up calls that caused me to tear down everything I had built for myself up until that point and re-evaluate my future direction.
These are the conversations and experiences that prompted me to create my new coaching program called Soul Search Sessions. It is a program that walks people through some deep self-excavation and prods them to uncover who they really are, what they really want, and create a life that is more congruent with those deeper yearnings for “something more”. As someone who is pretty practical and realistic, it is not a call to quit one’s job today and open a llama farm. Instead, it is a call to stop waiting for retirement or a crisis to be in integrity with one’s deepest self.
I have spent the past year creating this program, and have often wondered these things as I do it. Are there enough people really ready and willing to step out of their comfort zones and be courageous enough to make real changes? Do enough people really want to do the kind of soul searching it takes to excavate the person who resides deep inside, and claim that powerful force? Or are people more comfortable living on the surface and maintaining the status quo instead of doing this deeper work?
What do you think? Should I keep at this mission to help people really maximize their impact in the world on a deeper level?
Or should I stick to the safer, more traditional type programs in my field like “How to Improve your Confidence” or “Executive Presence”?
Please send me your comments and thoughts on this. I’d like to know if you think there is indeed a real desire out there to do the deep, self-imposed self-reflection and self-discovery I am talking about?
You can check out the program website here: