One of my best friends is a woman named Renee. She and I met in 2005 at my old call center job. (You can learn more about this soul-sucking job that I had by reading here.) And for a long time, she was my direct supervisor.
In the almost twelve years we’ve known each other, we’ve supported each other through some pretty dark days. She attended both my parents’ funerals. But we’ve also supported each other through some pretty amazing times as well.
Essentially, she’s the big sister I never had.
A common rhetorical question I’ve posed to her regularly is “could the Ryan you met in 2005 have a conversation with the Ryan of today?”
“I think 2005 Ryan would be in awe of 2016 Ryan.”
That answer has stayed with me for a while. The more I think about it – and lord knows I think about it a lot – I believe it.
Here’s the thing…the Ryan of today has always been here. I’ve had to chip away a lot of rock and pain to get to the gold. And let me tell you, the gold is pure and it’s spectacular.
As I mentioned last week, this weekend I’m graduating from my life coach training program. Accomplishment Coaching has changed my life in so many ways and I’ll forever be in their debt.
The journey that ends this weekend started in September of 2015.
I had a conversation with my original coach Michelle – separate from our regularly scheduled session that week. In the previous session, she mentioned to me about looking at the coach training program of which she’s a leader. I was curious because I’ve been looking for ways to use my story and my resilience to help others. Her pitch to me was this:
“I think you’d really dig it.”
I thought about it for a month before I pulled the trigger. And it has been one of the most impactful choices I’ve ever made.
When the program started this past February, I was incredibly nervous. I didn’t know anyone in this program aside from Michelle – who isn’t involved with this team.
I was immediately greeted with more love than I was used to receiving. I was probably hugged ten times in the first ten minutes.
On the first day, I found myself sitting in a room with eighteen strangers. Strangers from all over the Western Hemisphere.
Seriously, one of my teammates commutes every month from Grand Cayman.
At first, I felt insignificant. I thought of myself as a yokel from Alabama. I wanted to hide.
But by lunch on Day One, I felt something I’d never felt before.
Over these past twelve months, I’ve developed relationships on levels deeper than I have ever before. Relationships which I will take to my grave.
The people on my team have become my family.
This program has taught me more about myself than I have learned in perhaps the previous 39 years of my life put together. I’ve had dozens of breakthroughs this year (and that’s a low number.)
I’d like to share a few of the major ones:
- Ownership: By ownership, I’m not talking about things. I’m talking about my life. Owning my greatness. Owning how I’m being always. It’s a choice. And it’s a choice I can make at any moment. The mere fact that my voice on transformation and personal development is read on this global platform every week is a testament to that.
- Leaving my past in the past: My past has been shaky. I never felt secure growing up. I was bullied. I have seen some of the most important people in my life pass away. I spent a good portion of my life living in fear of the next shoe dropping. But thanks to the love and support of many on this team, I can leave my past behind me. I’ve made peace with my past. Not only can I live for the precious, present moment; I can set up the next 35-40 years of my life powerfully. I can see becoming a husband and dad. I have the vision of the life I want and I won’t let my past hold me back.
This quote from Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, spells out what I believe here.
What happened yesterday is history. What happens tomorrow is a mystery. What we do today makes a difference – the precious, present moment.
- Trust: For me, this is the holy grail of breakthroughs. I have had a rocky relationship with trust in my life. Because when I trust, I get burned. I get hurt. And being human, I protected myself. The consequence of this is I that I cut myself off from the things I want; a prosperous career, creative freedom, and the love of a lifetime. It’s taken a lot of work and I’m still in process with it all. But I can now trust the people in my life that they have my back. I trust women on an authentic level for perhaps the first time. But most of all, I trust myself and my intuition.
This has been the most consequential twelve months of my life. And I’ve shared it with people who I will love and cherish for the rest of my days.
We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. We’ve celebrated. And we’ve grown.
Special thanks to our fearless leaders Jodi and Christine. A huge debt of gratitude to a lady with the patience of Job – my coach Lisa.
But most of all, my gratitude for my amazing team cannot be put into words. And y’all, I have a real gift with words. This has been the most amazing, beautiful, and loving group of human beings I’ve ever known.
It’s been a helluva ride. And it’s been the honor of a lifetime to take it with you.
With love and gratitude,
- Michelle, you were right. I did dig it.
Photo by DieselDemon