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Who Am I and What Do I Want? – HOLIDAYS LENS

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Who Am I and What Do I Want?

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I want to tell you more about my life and why I am qualified as an ontological coach. Sure, I have degrees, licenses and certifications: Florida Bar licensed attorney, International Coaching Federation Certified Ontological Coach, Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, Juris Doctor Degree in Law, and Trainer Designs Global Certified Transformational Trainer. That sounds nice, but I don’t think it’s what qualifies me to be your coach. 

What qualifies me is my life experience and deep care and compassion for people and our home here on Earth. The degrees, licenses and certifications validate for others like you that my experience is valuable. Otherwise, any fool could pretend to be a coach, but really have no clue about it other than presuming that what they know works for you. Trust me, that’s not coaching. That’s advice, and like my dad used to tell me, opinions are like a-holes — everybody’s got one. It’s no wonder that coaching has a bad rap with some people. 

I’m not that. The core of my experience is dealing head-on with the two greatest questions of life — Who Am I and What Do I Want. How we answer them creates our experience of life. So, if I am angry, I will experience a lot of anger. If I want a new car, I will start doing things to have that happen. With coaching, these two questions are the starting point — you’ve got to get clear on who you are right now before you can start working towards getting what you want. It’s pretty simple, and at the same time, maddeningly difficult for most people. 

This “who am I” is not the big, existential question of WHO AM I, though I spend a lot of time with that one. Considering the Who Am I in that deep way helps me let go of being fixed by how I answer the more down to Earth “who am I” at different times in my life. There’s a saying about the big Who Am I, “if you can think it, that ain’t it.” The little “who am I” is the part you can identify with words. This difference is massively important in coaching, because “who I am” is not fixed in stone so that it changes very slowly over a long time. It’s more like written in sand that changes much more quickly.

Chaos in every way opens up all the possibilities available to us

If I want to be a photographer, but I’m stuck on “I am an attorney,” I’m going to have some difficulty becoming a photographer if I am defined by “attorney.” In fact, that’s part of my own story. Let’s go back a little further, though.

I was born into a dirt-poor family in Davie, Florida, and was raised on a horse ranch there called Running Fox Farms. While my family started out poor, little by little they saved money and paid off the note on the Ranch. They continued at it, year after year, and they shifted from poor, to not so poor, to middle income Americans. I didn’t know any better! I was a kid, and my brother and I played all day in the endless fields that used to exist back then in the 60’s and 70’s. 

At some point, I developed awareness of “poor” and started to identify with it by saying “I am poor” — “we are poor.” Kids in school had fancy clothes and I had crap from Sears. Other kids had cable tv and we had an old console that was as big as a Volkswagen Beetle (at least in my memory) with a remote that clicked when you pressed one of three buttons (the “clicker”). We rented horses to the public to ride, and other people would come out in shiny cars while my parents drove a station wagon with wood panels. The visitors smelled better, looked better, and talked better than me. I wanted to be them, and I didn’t want to be me, because “poor” was what I was, and defining myself that way, I acted the part and lived it in every detail. 

I decided that I would become a cardiologist because I have a minor heart defect. What was really going on is that doctors make a lot of money (I thought) and I did not want to be poor. 

Saying that also sounded good. But, I had no idea of what I wanted – I think it was my dad who wanted me to be a doctor. I just wanted to be “not poor.” I went to college, studied biology, and was on track to being a doctor until I decided that I didn’t want to wait so long to start making money. I changed my mind and chose instead to go to law school. That’s why I’m a lawyer with a biology degree. 

Like anyone who has lived life, I could write a book that would entertain in some parts, be spotted with joy in others, and have threads of sadness, despair, and anger weaved throughout. Joy is with my awesome kids and family (on most days), entertaining is my life working through alcoholism and addiction (I’m clean and sober a long time), and those “threads” are more like ropes, because sadness, despair, and anger tied up all the rest of me. 

I did become a lawyer, though, and I got what I wanted — money. The pisser of it was that I remained poor! My relationships were poor because I didn’t give myself to them — I kept chasing “not poor” by pursuing more and more stuff to fill the huge poor hole. My heart was poor because nothing I got satisfied me. My mind was poor because all I had running in my head was a conversation that I didn’t want to be poor. I was a blind man fumbling around the darkness of my life looking for a way out that was hidden from me. I didn’t know what I wanted, and I didn’t even know to ask the question “what do I want.” 

After a broken marriage, a raging addiction to cocaine and booze, busted relationships with my kids and friends, a handful of jobs I quit, and a law practice that I was absent from, I stumbled into rehab and discovered 12-step recovery. It was there for the first time that I heard I am not alone. I always thought I was — poor and alone. Here, the poor identity that I had lived for decades started to shift. Other people showed me more than not poor — they showed me abundance with their unlimited love and compassion. They were always there for me! They always had more to give to me! They filled me up when I was empty as a result of the “I am poor” identity that I had put on when I was a kid. 

It took time. And it was not easy for me. Though I was seeing abundance from other people, I was deeply skeptical. It would take another decade of little by little picking up tools that helped me feel better, but did not transform in my own heart that “poor” conversation. I held it close, because it was all I knew! But I had a good foundation in recovery, and when someone told me about a transformation training, I gave it a try, and everything changed. 

From that time till now, I experienced that training, I learned the power of people working together, I learned how to be a trainer myself to empower people to achieve their greatness, and I became an ontological coach with a vision — to work with people who are willing to do whatever it takes to stop talking about what you want and start making it happen! 

So, what happened with photography, you might ask. Photography is one of the threads I mentioned that was not sadness, despair, and anger. Photography, I realized long after I was doing it, is where I felt rich. It’s no wonder that when I first picked up a Polaroid instant camera when I was twelve years old, I kept coming back to it over and over. I’ll write about that in a separate piece. For now, what is important here is that my photography did not become MY PHOTOGRAPHY until I stopped limiting myself by identifying solely as an attorney, and that didn’t start happening until I started to let go of the “poor” conversation to make some room for other conversations, like abundance, love, and compassion. 

I kept looking at photography as a money-making venture because that was my context – I wanted money so that I was “not poor.” My photography took off when I stopped pursuing money and started pursuing what I want, which is to be in service to people. Money happens, 

mind you — as an attorney, a photographer, and a coach — but it happens as a result of my commitment to being in service to people. That is abundance to me — I am enough… there is enough…. 

That’s just for me, however. It might be for you too, or maybe not. What I love about being an ontological coach is that I get to fulfill my purpose of being in service to people, by working with you to discover who you are and what you want, and from there, helping YOU discover what you need to access IN YOUR OWN HEART, MIND, AND SPIRIT to make it happen. In that way YOU are the master of all that you create, YOU are in control, and YOU build your life exactly how YOU want it, not how someone else wants it. 

So, what have you been waiting for? When do you get to have all that you want in your life? That’s entirely up to you. Let’s start with having a discovery call where you and I can explore a little about what you want. I guarantee that you will have a powerful coaching experience in that call. You WILL see that if we are a fit for each other, you WILL see the possibility that everything you’ve been dreaming of having you CAN have if you pursue it with every fiber of your being. And it won’t take decades like it took me! Coaching with me attaches a rocket to your life and we point it in the direction you want to go. Schedule a discovery call now. You won’t regret it, and it’s of no cost to you. If you’re not happy with the result, you can go right back to where you were, no problem.