Four years ago I found myself at a pivotal moment. I’d been working in my family business for the past 12 years. My wife Andrea and I were expecting our second son. We were healthy, owned a nice home, and earned a good income. But I felt something was missing. I was tired of working long hours and each day brought more of the same: business disagreements with my brother, and the feeling that I wasn’t going anywhere.
While I knew I needed to make a change, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. I hated that. I wanted someone to tell me what to do with a step by step approach on how to do it . This approach existed, I just needed to find it. So I spent the next year chasing answers to my questions. And when I couldn’t find them, depression set in. It wasn’t long before I became paralyzed with fear. Some days I found myself curled up at the bottom of my bed unable to move.
But my story doesn’t end there. Things did start to make sense, but only after I surrendered to one simple truth: there are no recipe made answers to life’s most important questions. With the help of a coach and some great mentors, I began to connect the dots and find my own path. I learned how to be open to and accept what my heart was trying to tell me.
In my years of coaching business leaders I’ve noticed a similar story-line, particularly with male clients. We don’t like it when we don’t know what to do. When we find ourselves in this position we either deflect by giving our attention to an area that “we know” or we frantically search for a formula. We’re not moved to action unless we’re assured we’ll be perceived as competent and masculine. And to be perceived that way we think requires a thorough understanding. So our default behavior is to look outside of ourselves for the answer.
Most of the answers don’t exist outside of us. If we want answers we must first look inward and begin from our core. Not to discount the value in reading a good book, or asking counsel from a trusted friend or mentor – those can be highly valuable. But be sure you begin with you. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself on a recipe-made path that’s not aligned to your deepest truths; your purpose and your mission. And that would be tragic, not just for you, but for us. We want the real you.