Ninety minutes after our conversation started, he still looks the same.
Puzzled, in pain, fucked up.
But how do I know what that means?
WHAT do I know?
It took me years to even start being okay when this happens, or, better: when nothing seems to happen.
Oh god, now what!
I used to be like the motivational coach who only knows the power of drive and enthusiasm.
Feeling responsible turns into pushing and selling very easily.
Wanting to help a person can become a frantic mix of working really hard, trying to convince them and smothering them in arguments and metaphors and examples.
As if the necessary change is up to you.
As if you know what the outcome should be.
Now there’s a time and a place for all of the interpersonal magic.
Enthusiasm is awesome and one of my biggest traits.
My metaphors (both old and new) are pretty powerful and solid.
It’s just that expectations, like always, can get in the way.
Constantly scanning the face of a person, reading where he or she is at and (especially) making up what that means, can be paralyzing.
And you don’t need to.
A session can never be what it’s not, and people can never see what they’re not ready or willing to see yet.
Every encounter you will ever have, is and will be perfect.
So, one and a half hour after we started talking, the guy still looks the same.
But I no longer make up what that means.
Or whether I am doing it right or wrong or slightly right (but not right enough).
I am completely free to be with him, just the way we are right now, without being concerned about a future version.
And that’s incredibly liberating.
This is the best and most helpful conversation we could have, right now.
And I don’t know what he’ll see an hour from now, or tomorrow morning, or a week from now.
We were both there, an enthusiastic, pretty relaxed coach, and a temporarily lost and seemingly fucked up client.
The rest will be history.
Perfect as always.
(Photo by @anthonytran, for Unsplash)