The Beauty of the unexpected

07 September 2017
The Beauty of the unexpected

Dear readers,

In this first week of September, I want to tell you what happened during “Converge 2017” the International Conference of International Coach Federation I attended in Washington at the end of August ... enjoy the reading!


I am on my train on the way back home after attending Converge 2017 International Coach Federation conference with more than 1600 coaches from all over the world and a variety of workshops going from mindfulness to the last researches in neuroscience. And I am asking to myself: what do I remember now? Almost nothing. I think that I am also tired due to my short nights and to the amount of information received during these two days. To be more precise, I remember little information concerning the content of the workshops, but I clearly remember almost all the coaches I worked with during the practice exercises.


This morning I attended a workshop I was not particularly interested in, since the one I picked out was full. So, I went there and thought "oh, well, be open and let's see if you can get something interesting out of it". Then I was slightly disappointed when I discovered that I already knew the techniques the two speakers were talking about. I quickly become terribly bored.

After a while, when my mind was already elsewhere, they invited us to practice by pairing with another coach. I was so bored that I had no idea about what to say to Betty*, the coach I paired with: my brain was in a totally flat mode!


Since I tried to be polite, I introduced myself to her and picked up the very short version of me (I was bored, remember, flat brain!): "I'm an Italian living in New York".

Then Betty introduced herself: "Hi I am a British living in Denmark". Oh, I started waking up! Then she started to talk about her case with her sparkling eyes and smiling voice. At that point, I realized that she really didn't deserve to have a bored executive coach in front of her and put together my energies to find something interesting to share with her. Actually, I was enjoying working with her!


Then something happened. We were doing our last exercise where we were asked to share with our partner something we appreciate in ourselves. Ohmygod, I really don't like to talk about myself and I even hate to talk about my qualities! So, when Betty asked me to talk first, my reaction has been a mix of panic and a black hole in my brain! Then, I looked at her and thanks to her sparkling eyes an idea come, then another one and finally I could articulate some sentences. Then, surprise, she suggested to me to rephrase a definition of myself and she found a much more appropriate one. Oh, I was getting some useful insight! I was enjoying the moment again!


Then Betty shared her appreciations about herself. And while she was talking about her being a passionate person of her job, I felt her energy: a grounded strength coming straight from her guts. What a joy! When she finished I just added to her: "yes, I can feel your passion and also your grounded energy, which enriches your quality with a powerful strength. So, I would suggest to you to define yourself has a person who conveys a grounded passion". I saw her eyes sparkling even more and she replied: "yes, you are right, I really feel this grounding coming from my guts, it’s so appropriate! I never thought about me as a grounded person but you are right!". At this point my pleasure was mixed with my surprise since she talked about her guts, while I didn't tell her that I felt her energy coming from them, even if this was exactly where I sensed it coming from.

I saw the joy in her eyes as if I revealed to her something she already knew but she never told to herself, a sort of hidden truth that was only waiting the right moment to be named.


So, at that point I told to myself that sometimes in life is worth the risk to be bored, you never know what you can get out of it. I went to this workshop because I couldn't get into the one I chose, I knew the content and therefore I had the perfect conditions to be disappointed, and then Betty sits beside me and I meet a great person to whom I am useful, wow, what a change!


But the surprises were not finished. At the end of the workshop the facilitators asked "what did you learn out of it?". I saw Betty raising her hand and I wandered "what could she have learned out of it? We just shared some insights".

Then in front of the whole group (more than 100 people!), she said that the fact that I added the simple word "grounded" to her passion, changed completely the way she was defining herself. She added that she never defined herself as "grounded" but that this exactly what she needed to hear to reveal to herself a very important quality she has and she never realized how important it was. Then she started crying and saying that this simple word changed her life. Oh, boy, I felt so joyful and grateful for having the privilege of attending this workshop and working with her!


So here are my insights from this experience:

  1. Getting bored it's Ok as far as we stay open to what can happen to us: I let Betty to waken me up.
  2. Sometimes we are just the right person at the right moment and this can happen beyond our willingness to be such a person: I didn't plan to be the one, life planned it for me.
  3. One word can change a person's life. Therefore, we need to be careful to what we say, to how we share it and to whom. Words can also become a powerful thread if we aren't mindful about them.
  4. Finally, I found the word "grounded" not because I thought of an appropriate word, but because I just mirrored what I felt about Betty's energy. The world come from a deep feeling, not from my intellectual self. Our feelings tell us powerful information, we just need to listen to them.


So, here in my train, I still think of Betty's sparkling eyes and tears of joy thanks to a simple word which changed her life... and I feel REALLY blessed!


*I changed her name

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