I was super happy to see her name in my inbox, as we had not worked together in a couple of years.
I was, however, a bit surprised by the subject line. It read: our coaching session.
And yet, it was the first line of her email, once I opened it, that really confused me:
"Hi Laura, thank you for your help this morning!"
I had not even brushed my teeth yet. In fact, I had not even used my voice, yet.
Or had I?
Had I used my voice, had a coaching session and been helpful - and not remembered?
Mainly: was I going crazy?
Between the time I read this and the time I read the next line, my mind was rapidly searching for the other ways in which I may be losing it. Surely I had had a coaching session and forgotten. Come to think of it, I did put away a dirty pan in my cupboard, just last week.
But no. I had not had a coaching session, and the rest of the email explained what happened, in a very sweet way.
So there it was. The coaching session I slept through.
I LOVE this. I love that as coaches, counselors, teachers and parents, if we do our stuff right, we will work ourselves out of a job. There will come a point where our presence will no longer be necessary in order for our gifts to be enjoyed, over and over again. And if we're lucky, we may even get sweet thank you notes like this one.
Sure, it's not the best financial model, but man did it make my heart smile!
So today, I invite you to celebrate the times when you are no longer needed, because you did your job so darn well.
During the launch of a new class, yesterday, we did an exercise called "My Gift to the World." The gist was to try and identify what we were here to give, to share. What made our presence in the world important, and what was the one thing that we needed to keep doing, no matter what?
For some people, it was easy. Heads down, they went about the business of jotting down their words. Others looked at me with something that verged on panic. Their eyes said: "I don't think I have one of these."
A few minutes of provocative questions, and the frozen look softened and something like possibility started to move in. Slowly, they grabbed their pens and started to write. It wasn't easy, but it was important.
To know what our Gift to the World is, is a big deal. Whether it is to light up a room when we walk in it (Joy), or bring ease to someone because we know how to listen (Presence), we need to know this. For some of us, it is the love we pore into the food we cook (Nurture), and for others it is how good we are with numbers, and our ability to help people with their taxes (Ease). We all have something that we do, that has the potential to make someone's life better. I do, you do, we all do.
The trick is to honor that.
So here are a couple of prompts to help you find your GTTW:
- Think about what people may have said to you about that, since you were a kid. Note: it may not have been presented as a Gift. For instance: "Mike's thing is that he just can't sit still. He always has to be moving." Could your gift be the gift of Energy, of stirring the stale air around you? Just because it was not presented to you as a Gift, does not mean it was not. As an example, all my life people told me that I brought the sunshine with me wherever I went. I stopped hearing it, and when looking for a career, certainly didn’t think of being a Sunshine Bringer. It took me several decades to get the balls to put “Happiness Coach” on my business cards. Eventually I pushed the envelope enough to bring people to the Mexican sun with me on Retreats. If I was going to bring the sun, I might as well really do it.
- What is this-one-thing-that-you-do-so-easily-that-it-can't-possibly-be-a-big-deal? The thing that you don't need to think about it, and that you can't imagine anyone struggling with? The thing that comes to you so easily that you could not possibly get paid for it - or be praised for? Yeah, that one. That's Your GTTW.
- Finally, if you still can't figure it out, do this: ask yourself what you would like your GTTW to be. What would you like people to say about what you bring to their life? What would you like to be known for, by your friends, and by your heart? What Essence? Is it Kindness, is it Ingenuity? Is it Adventure? There's a really good chance that this, right there is your Gift to the World, just waiting for you to recognize it and go rock the heck out of it.
Thanks for sharing your GTTW with us. We really like it when you do that.
PS: if you want a little help with this process, consider joining me for my March 4 "Essentially Me" Workshop.
I am so honored to be included in The Pollination Project's big basket of beautiful wishes from us grantees, all around the world...
I invite you to take a moment and let the goodness in.
What would YOU add to this beautiful list?
Essential Happiness Retreat
January 10 to 20, 2019
Guadeloupe, French Caribbean
"Thank you for sharing your wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating experience with the world."
"Thank You Laura for sharing, for teaching and spreading loving kindness. "
"I think I love you. You bring good things into my life, or remind me of things I love and know, but have let go of."
"Laura, you are so good for me. I laugh and sniffle and get the shivers when I read your essays. Thanks so much for letting all your wonderfulness run around loose."
"Heart-achingly beautiful, your words and how you reveal your truth."
"Thank you so much for who you are and what you share with the world. Your mere being transforms lives as it has transformed mine. This particular post did to my heart what water does to parched soil."
"Thank you for your gentle words that are packed full of wisdom. I have been struggling with the concept of what words can do to another person when they are negative words. Your words are the flip side of our word power, and shows how delightfully powerful kind words can be. Thank you."
"Once again Laura Lavigne takes you on an adventure of the heart. She has a way of pulling you right in the car with her. Asking you to consider changing a fear to taking thoughtful action. Whether she's teaching a class, leading a retreat or heading for a happiness sprinkling, Laura will invite you to shed old ways of thinking and be completely authentic. Join in!"
"Essentially pure love.
I enjoy how Laura is kind to herself and to us other humans who dance in and out of each other's lives. "
"Don't miss a post!
You can count on Laura for warmth, humor, charm, and a lift to your day and your heart. She inspires me to be braver than I am, and to love the world out loud. She's a gem, and a generous one at that!"
I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.