A few weeks ago I wrote about a "small business boot camp" seminar/workshop that I attended. There were a multitude of gifts from that day, one of which was a follow-up one-on-one coaching session with Amber Hurdle, executive coach extraordinaire and creator and facilitator of the boot camp. When I met with Amber for that session she invited me to participate in a more in-depth, group coaching opportunity that began this week. There are eight sessions all together, held via conference call and include people from as far away as Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Ottawa, and as nearby as a friend and mentor just down the street. Each and every person in this group qualifies for rock star status in one way or another, and I am humbled and honored to be in their company.
To make the most of this opportunity Amber gives us meaty homework assignments. I'm not writing today about the grist being ground in that mill, but something that happened as a result. The processes that we're engaging to do the work to help ourselves achieve success as small business entrepreneurs isn't new to me. I've encountered it in various places along the road of my life, from YWCA development programs to Pampered Chef coaching calls with my director (and reinforced more broadly by the corporate office). What is different is that I am in a different place, and as a result everything looks different. Contexts are altered, lessons have been learned and perspectives have shifted.
After our session the other day I revisited some of my homework and had an a-ha! moment. A couple of them, actually. I shot Amber an email to share with her some of my reflections about what had happened, and she replied with encouragement, enthusiasm, and affirmation. In recent years I have felt deprived of much affirmation, so when it comes I take a long drink from the offering of it and savor it. As I took heart from Amber's affirmation this morning I decided to pay that forward, and committed to taking the time to offer affirmation to others as I encountered their posts on facebook.
It felt good. A few people responded with words of gratitude, others "liked" the post, and a few others did not respond at all. That's all fine. I didn't start the effort for reciprocation, but to give. And shock of shocks, the effort of itself gave back to me.
You may recall a post a few weeks back about my struggle with maintaining energy levels as a result of constant pressures and stresses. After leaving a slew of affirmations on people's facebook pages this morning a reserve of energy opened up. I did some thorough kitchen cleaning, some laundry, and vacuuming. I'm getting ready to take Juliet for a walk, to help her shake loose some stress of her own. I'll be baking shortly for tonight's church supper, and then head out to tackle a bunch of errands. Much of this is in the course of anyone elses day (or half day!), but for yours truly it's a landmark shift. All because I gave.
This isn't rocket science. For me, however, it's scraping off layers of accumulated crud from an extended period of hardship. It helps me cope, at least for today, in a way that lets the light shine in with more brightness and clarity. It helps me turn my face to the sun and the love that is out there in the world. It is a shift of energy that in turn helps restore the alignment of my being, much like massage impacts the natural balance of dogs. It is healing, and blessed, and I am grateful. So very grateful.