Posted by Russ Irwin

Posted on 4th Oct, 2016

personal coachingWhile on a speaking engagement in Africa on behalf of a humanitarian organization, Initiative 360 (a wonderful group that helps those in third world countries – medically, physically, and spiritually), an individual approached me after one of the sessions looking extremely sad. As we began to talk, they described a life of tragedy which had left them with continued internal turmoil.

Theirs was a life without color, a life where there was once excitement and energy. They once had a dream toward personal and professional expansion but now all that lay in ruins. I could see that hope, faith, and vision had all once been confidently present but were now dim. The connection that had created a sharp image of a great and prosperous life had now, over the years, taken its toll. What once burned so bright had now grown weak.

My heart went out to them as they spoke those words I have so often heard over my years of coaching and counselling. Where does one even begin to pick up the pieces? Even if I could pick them up, I would have no way of knowing where to start.

“Russ,” they said, “I feel like I don’t know who I am or where to begin.” I sat quietly with this precious but broken person and hugged them. I must admit, part of me (my mercy side) wanted to quickly provide a pill or a prayer that would instantly remove their pain and make all their problems go away.

pesonal mapInstead, I began to encourage them with some initial practical steps they could do to begin the process of rebuilding their broken world. Steps that would serve as a personal map, a navigation system to begin to put them back on the road to recovery. I wanted to help them begin to see that this was not the end but a beginning. As with many of us that feel we have been torn apart by the economy, a bad relationship, or some form of loss, this was an opportune time; an open door inviting you to reinvent yourself and begin to dream again.

The more I listened to this individual’s story, the more I began to realize how so many people at one time had dreams to be bigger than they had become. Maybe the circumstances are different, but the resulting pain is all too similar. Maybe you have not had your dream taken from you as in the present case; maybe it was living under the constraints of self-doubt or limiting beliefs, as a result of fear of failing in the future or a haunting memory of a failure from the past. Both scenarios can cause your dream to seem unreachable and you soon begin to build the boundary walls of self-protection.

The problem with these walls of defense is that the walls you build to protect yourself often become the walls that imprison you. Every brick you place in this wall of supposed protection becomes another missed opportunity to experience the passion and excitement in life you were destined to experience. Each time you allow yourself to shrink back, you are holding back on releasing your full potential; you run the race but fail to cross the finish line.

Through this illustration, think of your life and where you presently are – have you ever seen a sunrise where the sun hasn’t fully come up but the sky is lit? This is where I believe many people are, maybe where you are in this season of your life. The sky is lighting up but is not yet fully complete. It is a gradual emergence, a gradual unveiling of beauty and power. Lit up but not complete.

There is still so much beauty in you to be released, so much to be experienced, and so much to be given away. If you are feeling broken, sad, or full of self-doubt, the first step is to recognize this potential within yourself.


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Russ Irwin

About Russ Irwin

Russ is a highly sought after executive and business coach due to his unique qualifications and talents, including 17 years of entrepreneurial success, over 9 years of executive coaching experience, as well as a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Master’s in Behavioural Sciences. Russ is also an experienced international keynote conference and seminar speaker.