After many enjoyable visits to the post office, I concluded that Henry is a man who truly loves his job and that got me to contemplating my own career choices. As many of you know, I spent ten wonderful years performing the duties of Entertainment Director for Paradise Lakes Resort. I went to work every morning excited at the prospect of handing out drink chips to that day’s nude shuffleboard champions. In the latter part of my tenure at Paradise, my son was born and this new found responsibility made me think I should pursue a somewhat more “acceptable” career path. Since I had a little computer experience from producing the event fliers for Paradise, I decided I would go back to school to become a systems engineer. That one decision not only provided the income and stability I needed to help support my son, but turned what was a pleasant hobby into a dreaded job.
As my son reached adulthood, the shackles of doing a joyless job were wearing me down. Somehow my amazingly intuitive girlfriend picked up on my feelings of career dissatisfaction, (maybe it had something to do with the fact that each evening after work I would go running for the shelter of my Walter’s little helper), so she devised a secret plot. As I was shaving one morning, she told me that she had read about an upcoming five day writer’s seminar called “The Comedian’s Way” at some yoga retreat center located up in the Berkshires and asked if I would be interested in going. She proceeded to read the short description and it really sounded appealing to me. I have always been a fan of stand-up comedy and I could damn well use some help with my writing skills. After I accepted the idea, she mentioned that she had also signed us up to stay for the weekend seminar with someone named Martha Beck.
The writer’s workshop turned out to be an absolute blast. I got to work on my comedic timing while telling all my goofy old stories to a captive audience of very funny folks that I believe will turn out to be lifetime friends. After our last hilarious dinner together, it was my turn to do what she wanted to do, so picture this: I’m sitting cross legged on a yoga pillow with about 300 women and only two other (obviously tricked into going) men. A thin little woman named Martha Beck stepped onto the platform and the ladies in the audience start to lose it. You would have thought that The Beatles or even Jesus had just hit the stage.
After I listened to her speak for a while, it all came back to me where I had read that name before. Oprah. My amazingly tricky girlfriend had one trick up her sleeve that she loved to play on me quite frequently. She knew that I would rather have my eyes put out with a hot poker than to read Oprah magazine, so she would set a copy next to the toilet opened to a story she knew I would be interested in and the trap would be set. I would be so taken with the article that I would close the magazine in order to find out the name of this incredible publication only to find Oprah smiling back at me as if she was in on the deception.
Martha was entertaining enough to distract me and I began to realize that not only did I agree with what she was saying, it seemed to physically ring true to me. I could actually feel her words resonate at a core level and that was something I had never experienced. During the seminar, Martha kept referring to ladies in the audience as her coaches, so on the trip back home, I asked my amazingly perceptive girlfriend what she meant by “coaches”. As she explained, she smiled as if she had just hooked the tournament winning fish. She proceeded to play a recording of a conference call introducing people to the Martha Beck Life Coach Training program and by the end of that call, I was indeed hooked. I looked over at my amazingly intelligent girlfriend and said, “This is what I’m supposed to do.” As I uttered those seven little words, I set in motion the beginning of the rest of my life and it literally felt as if the heavy metal shackles of my unauthentic life had just dropped away.
I’m now about one third of the way through learning how to be a coach, and I’m putting together an awesome set of tools. If any of you out there reading this are feeling like I was about your career or any of your life choices, please feel free to shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to help you discover the path to your authentic life. Until next time, listen to what your body is trying to tell you and find your Authentic Dude.