As though it was waiting for the signal, the music playing out of Jonathan’s radio shifted to a gentle, upbeat jazz piece. The uptick in tempo matched Jonathan’s pulse, excitement and own nervousness in this conversation, and he thought to himself, “Man. This is being alive.”
Jonathan took another sip of tea, and spoke again.
“Okay, so, Mark, where we are is that you’ve gotten clear on something you want to create in your life. You’ve gotten clear on what would be possible if you created this, and you’ve just found out what it’s going to require you to create this. I’m asserting that what is happening right now, is exactly how it will go with every project you take on in your life. It just so happens that the project we’re currently with is called ‘Hire Jonathan as my coach’ — but the way it’s going for you, what has happened to your being, and so forth — all of that, is not any different than if we were supporting you with a different project. Does that make sense, before I say more?”
Mark sat thoughtfully.
“Well, I think so, but can you say a bit more first? I think I understand, it’s just a little hard to see right now.”
“Of course — and it would be, because I haven’t really laid it out fully for you yet. That’s my bad — I just want to make sure I’m being transparent every step of the way here, because sometimes we can get squirrelly, or feel pressured, when the conversation is in the context of hiring. So, let me continue.”
Jonathan checked his notes to see where he left off, and picked back up.
“So, we’ve just gotten clear on what this is going to require from you, in terms of your commitment. And, then I asked you what showed up for you, and I notice that you kind of went into a conversation with yourself about how it was reasonable, you assured me it wasn’t about my value, you talked about how life might not be so bad (so why bother changing it), and generally got a little busy thinking about how to make it happen. Is that about accurate?”
Mark sat, thought, and then smiled. “Yes, definitely!”
Jonathan laughed, “Okay good! So before we get into any of that, I want to invite you just to take a look at what showed up for you. Over here, it seemed like you got scared, but then ladled a bunch of doing, over top of the fear. Is there any truth to that?”
Mark paused. He didn’t like talking about his fear. He didn’t really like owning that he had any. But, what Jonathan was pointing to felt valid.
“Yes, I think that was fair. Like…” Mark sat with all the words that were jumping into his brain. There were a bunch more thoughts, but underneath it all, he realized he was scared about this commitment. “Yes, it’s scary. It’s really scary. Jonathan, that is a ludicrous amount of money!”
Jonathan nodded his head.
“I know right? It’s a scary amount of money for me to say. It’s scary for me to stand for you that way. To say that this is the level of commitment I want to see you generate and bring into your life. Let me share first, over here, some of the fears I have about it. Would that be okay?”
Mark nodded, and Jonathan shared.
“First, it’s scary for me because I hate disappointing people, and when I tell them what this will demand of them, it’s often met with some disappointment. Second, it’s scary because that level of commitment to each other is going to create something really potent, and it will demand something of me, just as much as it will demand of you. I’m scared of that level of intimacy, even if I’m a YES to it. I’m scared that you will just be a NO and walk away. And even though I said I’m unattached, I am being honest when I’m saying that I would love to partner with you. When I hold out a bar for you to step into, in your life, like this one, I have to be willing to let you be a NO to that. So, I really get it — that’s a ludicrous amount of money.”
Mark looked relieved to hear that he wasn’t the only one that felt that number was crazy.
“So Mark, I totally get it, and you’re not wrong. It’s an insane number. No one will tell you this is a wise decision to make, because commitments like this are not the way the world is set up. The way the world works is that we spend our money on things that are tangible and physical — stuff we can consume, and that will entertain us. We spend our money on vacations and alcohol, and experiences, and other things like that. We save our money so that we don’t have to worry about failing, and even if things fall to pieces, we have some security in the bank. And, perhaps ironically, we never seem to feel that secure, no matter how much money we have in the bank.”
“The commitment I’m inviting you to step into runs directly into the face of conventional wisdom, and it has to, because the life you are craving — the life that you have shared you will create with he support of our work together — is a life that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Can you see that?”
Mark nodded. He was pretty clear on this much.
“Great. And to your credit here, you’ve gone as far as conventional wisdom can get you. You have a beautiful house, a great job, good money, lovely kids, a beautiful wife, etc. It’s just that you want something past what conventionality can get you. Let me check in — is all this tracking for you?”
“Yes, definitely. I want that. But… I mean, I’m still scared! And I’m not sure I can see how to make this happen.”
Jonathan felt a surge of love from his heart to Mark’s. People owning their fear and uncertainty was one of the fastest ways for Jonathan to find himself devastated by love.
“Great!” Jonathan exclaimed, knocking over his tea. “Ah! Sorry, I get really moved when people are playing a game where they want something, are scared and don’t know yet how to create it, and are still in the conversation. I have a feeling I’ll be spilling a lot of tea with you Mark. Let me just clean this up.”
Jonathan reached for the towel he kept near his desk, just in case of emergencies like this, and mopped up the remnants of tea on his desk.
“Okay, so, this is perfect, where you are. There’s something you want, you’re not sure how to create it, and here we are, in a conversation intended to support you in not letting that stop you from creating what you want. So, here’s what I propose — if you’d like, why don’t we take a look at that right now. Let’s stay in this conversation together, and support you to create this, rather than turning away, like most of us do when we can’t immediately see the answer. Would you like that?”
Mark nodded, “Yes, I really would. I want this Jonathan, and this conversation is actually making that more clear for me. It’s scary, but I want to be a YES to this.”
“Great. Me too. We’re in this together.”