Yep - I was that guy; wrapped up in material things being my markers of success. I was confident in that too; my 20-something self would tell you that I knew myself pretty well.
Sitting here, today, with a wife, two kids, no Lambo in the driveway (and no goal of getting one anywhere on my ‘to do’ list), along with a career that offers me way more meaning than simply a paycheck...well, things are different.
Not only different - but better than I could have imagined possible...even without the sports car.
Life was aimless. It was 2009 - and I had freshly completed an MBA that had taken me from Hong Kong to New York City. Being an expat and facing one of the most perilous financial situations in decades, I somewhat reluctantly left New York to return to Montreal, which resulted in heading west and landing in Vancouver.
That’s when life started moving ahead pretty quick; I found a job, met an amazing woman, and settled into a new life.
But even in that new life, I was fixated on material things and chasing goals that I didn’t feel overly connected to; simply seeking things I thought people in my industry wanted or had, without a reason why.
While I was floating along through work in a job that I didn’t love, I was incredibly passionate about giving back to the community and making a contribution. Getting a spot on a board serving Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, I found myself surrounded by intentional, intelligent people excited to make change.
In that group was a women who was starting a coaching practice. After a board meeting, she invited me to participate in an upcoming coaching experience - and while I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or even what coaching was, I said yes.
"And that’s when life went from aimless, to full of purpose."
I was well acquainted with mentorship; I’d had the privilege of having awesome mentors through university and my MBA studies. I had specific questions and sought out specific people to provide a specific kind of insight. And they delivered - helping me chart my path forward with confidence.
But coaching? Totally uncharted waters.
Yet - what I learned over time as I dove in was saying ‘yes’ to coaching was saying ‘yes’ to a whole new world of strategic work; work that didn’t just focus on how to navigate specific career or professional issues - but on looking inward and uncovering things about myself.
As I started to understand myself, I could find ways to amplify; to create opportunities to live more in line with my priorities, my values, and my purpose - things I had never explored before.
I was like turning on a light switch and seeing life in a way that I felt inspired by and connected to - instead of fumbling around in the dark trying to navigate with the suggestions, ideas, and preferences of others.
What really blew my mind was seeing the complement between coaching and mentorship; how coaches help articulate and clarify the goal, and mentors help navigate how I’ll get there.
Now, if that’s not a power-couple of life-supporting humans, I don’t know what is.
I’m not sure I would have found purpose in my work if I had let my 20-something brain keep charting my path forward; towards more ‘things’, more status symbols.
Discovering that work could be more than a paycheck and that my days could feel purposeful and provide for my family is a gift - and access to a more meaningful life.
Far from a one-and-done kind of experience or workshop, understanding the things that make me tick has been a process and has taken time. It's not like I went to my first coaching session or retreat and suddenly had revelations that changed the course of my life.
A good portion of the work is trying to figure myself out every day.
But that’s work I’m willing to do. Because knowing myself in a whole new, deeper way that I didn’t have access to before coaching—even with years of mentorship under my belt—I’ve got purpose-fuelled direction to where I’m running.
And there are no Lamborghinis in sight.
PS - If you've read this piece and think coaching is something you'd like to try, start for free here. We will not auto-enrol you. Have your first time sessions for free with any coach. When you're ready you can explore our memberships.