There’s a simple question behind all of my coaching:

Is that all there is?

The short answer is: Hell no.

Here’s my longer answer, in the form of a semi-manifesto (manifestino? manifestish?) on coaching creative visionaries:

As a coach, I help people figure out what they want and then how to get it. I do that by connecting them to their own wildest, deepest, bravest self and then leveraging the energy they find there to work some major practical mojo–to become what I call creative visionaries. It’s all about loving the life you have right this very minute while at the same time shifting your life in the direction of your dreams. You know, no big deal.

 A lot of what and how I coach is based on information I’ve gathered from “real” visionaries–their approach, their systems, their techniques. It’s also based on my belief that the world is changing in fundamental ways–that old infrastructures and ways are doing things are crumbling and breaking down and that we are in the process of creating new ways of living using a new set of rules. Martha Beck calls people who do this, “wayfinders.” The Berkana Institute calls them “walk ons who walk out.” TED talks call them “thought leaders.” Daniel Pink calls it the “right brain revolution” and Seth Godin calls it the “revolution of connection.”

I like to call the era we’re living in the Age of Enchantment or “Shit is About to Get Really Real.” (Depends on my mood.) And I call you–well, I call you lots of things: lovable weirdos, wilderness ninjas, trailblazers, my favorite people ever–but mostly I call you creative visionaries.

I encourage you to do the same.

And here’s what I want you to know:

You are not weird because this life isn’t working for you.

You are not some strange freak destined for a lifetime of disappointment and “is that all there is?” ness just because you sometimes currently find yourself thinking in the middle of a work meeting or a party or at 3 am “is this all there is?” The answer is nope. It ain’t even scratching the surface of all there is. So, most of us are happily humming along at a breakneck pace, going fast enough to not think about “is that all there is?” until we’re occasionally pulled up short by the undeniability of said feeling, and what was previously a nice little motorboat zooming along is now a rock, sinking down down down–and before you know it, you’re in a three-hour youtube rabbit hole while plowing your way through a casserole meant for four. And you feel trapped in your own life.

What I want to give you is a way to live both in the depth of your life’s desires and at the speed of your zoomiest passion.

I also want to release you from the millstone of potential. If you’re someone whose “is that all there is?” question is followed up immediately by a frantic sense that you’re wasting not only the best years of your life but also all that so-called potential you’ve always been told you have (and know you have), I want to release you from that, too.

There is more to life than doing what everyone is doing—taking the job or the relationship or the education that you’re supposed to want all the while frantically ignoring that whisper that occasionally shouts at you when you can’t sleep or when you see someone doing something that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up in envy, the voices that whisper with nonchalant cruelty, “You could be so much more…if you had just started 10 years ago, if you had picked a different major, if you go back to school, if you forsake all sugar and dairy forever and lose twenty pounds…” (or whatever your fantasy of change is). The whisper that effectively prevents you from making any moves towards being more or less changed by telling you its both too late and you are too lazy to do anything but glimpse the tanatalizing shadow future that you will no doubt fail to grasp. The whisper that tells you are trapped and there is no way out and you have only yourself to blame.

I know all about this. I used to dream, in the form of self-flaggelation, about a life that was different. One that didn’t involve me having to write a resume that made me feel like a pretender, that didn’t involve me learning skills to work with people who are practiced in the dark arts (or are in own their own reactive, desperate existence), that didn’t involve feeling guilty about having a job that, on paper, looked great—it was creative, it allowed me to work with amazing people, it had great benefits and flexibility– that I nevertheless still didn’t want. I used to dream of being an artist, an event planner, a writer, a community organizer, a story teller, a thought leader—dreams that didn’t just inspire me, but also mostly served to underscore how far removed I was from that. I used my dreams to punish myself, to think, “this isn’t possible.” To measure myself against what I had failed to achieve. Without ever really trying to achieve them. I’m here to tell you–you don’t have to live that way.

Instead of using your energy, your goddamn precious creative energy, to slog through another day, another meeting, another interaction, another test in whatever form, I want you to use that creative energy in service of your vision for your one wild and precious life.

Think of what is possible if you used your energy in service of your creativity. To create a vision for your life and then actually make that happen.

Think about that for a moment.

Seriously–I want you to stand up, shake it out, and imagine for a moment that all the energy you currently direct to things in your life that are shitty or just so-so or are FINE (we don’t do fine, okay?) were actually directed towards creating a life that turned you on. That gave you both a sense of peaceful stillness/knowing and a thrilling zing up your spine.  How fucking fantastic would that be?

Why go the way everyone else is? Seriously, why? If you have a good reason, if it fits with you and your instincts, great! But if your only reason is, “this is how it’s done,” then think about it again. You’re taking a path that who knows how many others are taking. That can be great—you can have companions, support, legitimation, a map. But you also have more competition, it’s crowded, resources on this road are a little more scarce. There aren’t as many detour options or exit signs. You don’t have as much of a chance to step back and see where the path is actually leading. It can get really really boring. Or suffocating.

Some people are born iconoclasts. They don’t let other people’s perceptions of “this is how it’s done” rule their guidebook. They take short cuts and lifehack their way into a world that is beyond what they imagined. I’m into those people. But I’m also into the kind of people who want to be those people, but don’t know how. Don’t know how to loosen the grip of what “everybody thinks” or what “everyone knows” or what “everybody does.”  The hallmarks of these people are usually crippling perfectionism, a case of the approval addiction, high achieving even, but lowly satisfied with those achievements. Ringing any bells?

I believe creative visionaries can be made, just as much as they can be born.

You are not a freak because you don’t know what your one thing is. You are not a freak if you do know what you one thing is and you always know that it’s just impossible and so what’s the point of trying.

I want to make this clear: you are not a failure for settling for something. You are not an asshole for not knowing how to blaze a righteous path through the wilderness. We are not trained for that shit in school—in fact we’re mostly trained for the opposite. Great news! I am trained in that shit. And you can be too. It’s actually crazy how simple the tools are. (Simple, not necessarily easy.)

I will teach you how to bust through your limitations, how to leverage your million passions into a unified existence, that you don’t have to choose a two dimensional path with your only options being “forward” and “back.” You can make you own fucking path in however many dimensions you want. I want you to throw your life a party. I want to get deep and I want to get practical.

Shit is About to Get Really Real.