This weekend sitting next to me in the nail salon was a young woman who looked to be 18 but I later learned through conversation was 29. She told the nail technician when she sat down that she needed her nails to be very strong because she worked with a lot of weapons. WHOAH!! What did she just say?!?!? Naturally that caught my attention, so I probed.
This young woman was a Police Officer who trained other Officers how to shoot. This turned out to be a very fascinating conversation. I inquired a lot about her job and what she did. She then turned the tables on me and asked what I did. When I told her, the next question was, in my opinion, telling of where she was in her life. She said, “Do you like what you do?”. Now most would have just accepted the question with an answer and moved on. Not me. I was most interested in the question behind the question, so I responded, “Yes I do. I love what I do. How about you?” The answer, NO! It’s just a means to an end.
Wow!! How many of us are living a life on default just to get to an end without purpose, passion or power? In 45 minutes I was able to coach her. Before she left her nail station, she had a major breakthrough. Following tears she unsuccessfully attempted to fight back, I helped her realize how the journey she is on is preparation for that thing she wants to do which is serve as a legal advocate for those who have been incarcerated.
At the young age of 26, her brother has been in jail 3 times, with his last sentence being 6 years. Through the process of helping her brother, she’s learned how prisoners are really treated, or not, behind bars. She recognized they need a voice that can help them not only stand up for themselves but to prepare them for the day in which they are released back into society. She understood the fact that we all make mistakes and should be provided second chances to correct our wrongs. Her mission is to be the voice of those who are desirous of changing their lives but don’t have the resources or tools available to teach them how to be successful.
I helped her see that her current position as a Police Officer is providing her with the foundation she needs from “the other side” that will allow her to be effective in supporting those who need her. Yes, finishing her undergraduate degree and going to law school as she desires is important, but she is now getting the unbelievable, extremely necessary, and unparalelled experience to be able to speak and think the language of those who are working against her ideal client and that experience and knowledge will give her an upper hand.
When she walked away she stood proud in knowing that what she was doing right now as a Police Officer teaching others to shoot has a purpose that leads to her greater mission! She can now use that to her advantage and learn all that she can to help fight the greater cause in her not so far away future.
This is what coaching does for people. It helps them to see a different perspective. it helps them to connect the dots of life. It helps them get out of their own way and move forward with purpose, passion and power.
For me, it is extremely rewarding. I love helping others see a way out. I love helping others achieve their heart’s desires. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE what I do.
This conversation also indirectly touched the lives of others around us. For example, the nail technicians who were privy to the conversation were engrossed during our conversation. While they did not say anything to us, they were certainly tuned in. What they do with the information they learned, I may never know. However, what I do know is two lives were changed at that table: mine and the young Police Officer. I was given the gifts of confidence and courage to have an impromptu conversation with a stranger about something very personal without receiving advance approval from her. What I learned is when there is someone who is in need of assistance, don’t let pride stand in your way. Engage with them and have that courageous conversation.
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