This year should be renamed the Year of My Enlightenment. There’s been some highs and lows throughout the year and, fortunately, more highs than lows. One thing is true; all these moments are part of the continuing education of Chris Coulter. Perhaps I’m more aware of my surroundings, environment or vulnerabilities, perhaps these moments are around us all the time, and we choose to ignore or not acknowledge these messages. Maybe we need to be in a different state of mind to realize they exist at all.
Last week, I was approached by a former business acquaintance about how and why I had decided to make a career shift and any suggestions that I might offer. We discussed the obvious need for passion in what we do and continually grow personally and professionally and whether there was a viable income stream associated with the change. I don’t think I gave her much direction, but it made me more reflective about who I am and who I have become.
Our meeting became more esoteric than a step-by-step lesson on how to relaunch a career. RD had pointed out a few things about our previous encounters that I was unaware of, but thankful for her honesty. Previously, she had said that I was intimidating and formal. I interpreted that as I was an asshole! She was right. There have been some events over the last few years that have helped to change me. I want to think for the better:
- I’m now in a relationship that is supportive, loving and empathetic. We have a tremendous friendship and partnership. We lean on one another when needed. We share experiences…good and bad.
- We closed a company that I learned a tremendous amount about running a business but most all how fortunate I was to have such a loyal business partner, mentor and a friend
- I realized that working for a company that compromises your spirit is not a place worth working at
Gratitude is Realized
I’ve always been told that you need to be grateful for things. I realize that gratitude isn’t something that you can turn on and off in a moment. Gratitude is realized. Gratitude came to me after many of the things I had disappeared. You can choose to be contemptuous now, or you can choose to be grateful. Fortunately, I chose the later. See where living in contempt can land you. Although my 14-year-old daughter probably doesn’t believe me, I’m grateful for her every day.
There’s Sincerity in a Smile
My enlightenment last week reminded me of another realization from my past. Someone who I knew from a peer advisory group that I was associated with had shared his first impressions of me when we met. Frank, I thank you for your candour that day. I think about your critique and observations often. There’s not a first meeting that I walk into that your words don’t enter my mind. Today, I walk into new meetings with a bright, inviting smile on my face and try to be approachable mostly because that is genuinely who I want to be.
The Journey of Self-Discovery Doesn’t Have to Be a Lonely Road
Self-discovery is a lifelong journey. No one can attest to this more so than me. I have learned more about myself in the last few years than the previous 45 years combined. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that all these revelations occurred while encountering adversity.
Hey RD, I’m sorry if our meeting didn’t leave you with any clearer direction for your future. Instead, it helped reinforce that the journey I’ve been on has been essential to who I’ve become.
Adversity is something that entrepreneurs need to be prepared for. In life and business, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this constant uncertainty can wreak havoc on our emotional state, causing mental angst, impacting our productivity levels, stress levels at work and home and causes us to lose our passion for our business.
Chris is a survivor. Through the bankruptcy of his first business, a painful divorce and the death of his 14-year-old daughter, Maddie, he learned that life isn’t always fair, but we teach ourselves resiliency despite tragic events that we go through.
He has seen the impact that mental health can have upon success within your business and your life and how the two are on a constant collision course. When Chris became aware that Entrepreneurs struggled with their mental health at more than twice the average adults’ rate, he realized he wasn’t alone and made it his ambition to understand why and do something to help