I discovered a big personality clash between the plumber and the electrician as I watched each one storm off the job when the other arrived.
I helped them resolve their differences, and moved the job forward. After that experience around 1989, I started Huntington Construction which is still going strong today. In the process, I became drawn to learning how people look at the world and the big difference a small shift of perspective can make. Unbeknownst to me, my love for what I would later learn to be "coaching" had begun.
But one event from a somewhat random source had a huge impact on my life. Four simple words would leave me completely speechless.
I was asked to play upright bass with an absolutely brilliant pianist who thought nothing of expertly improvising entire orchestral arrangements from audience requests on the spot. It was an honor to just spend time with him. To make touring easier, he used local musicians wherever he performed. Being that close to someone living a musical life that I envied, I asked his secret to success.
Since age 12, I had yearned to feed a musical craving deep in my bones. I worked hard learning all I could, graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, moved around the country, went on endless auditions, and joined many bands and musical endeavors. I was always searching, clawing and scratching as hard as possible. On reflection, "as hard as possible" can be too hard. After we spoke for a few minutes,
he asked the simplest question.
What do You Want?
That simple question reduced me to a pile of quivering jello. I wanted "it". My brain raced and screamed silently, " AHH! -You know the music thing! Something, anything with music! Hey - Look at me! - I worked so hard and dedicated my whole life to chasing it!".... But when my mind calmed down enough for me to actually speak, I couldn't tell him exactly what "it" was because I had never taken the time and effort to really establish EXACTLY what it was that I wanted.
I evetually was able to define "it" and I got where I wanted after some flopping on the floor like a fish. If I knew about coaching then, I could have shaved years of heartache and stumbling off my path.
Some heartache and stumbling is absolutely necessary for sure. But we don't need to bathe in it after the bathwater is cold. That simple question got me started, but without a coach, I did a lot of starting, stopping, and wandering.
After more flopping, stumbling,falling, getting up, and having adventures, I started several other businesses with my wife and family including running a Vermont 1940's silver car diner with a staff of 12. A common thread was environments with employees and other people who would ask for encouragement and direction. I realized I had been coaching in some general way for years and that I had passion for this work. I know I wanted to study how to do it well and use the best method I could find to help people figure out how to get where they wanted without simply offering advice.
My research led me to complete certification through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching as well as Master Practitioner certification of the Energy Leadership Index Assessment.
This Institute's discipline helps people understand how they operate in times of joy and times of stress by dividing our energy into 7 different levels. I found this method to be really effective in helping us understand more about ourselves so we can better discover and realistically plan a life we want.