We've all experienced it. Physics calls it the tipping point. A Buddhist proverb says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Lillian Hellman wrote, “Nothing, of course, begins at the time you think it did.”
If you're like me, “Suddenly” can be a quiet dawning or a jarring moment of truth. "Suddenly" can happen in your own awareness, or if you wait too long, it can slam into you from the outside. It can be an epiphany or a moment of dread, or just a quiet conviction that something must change. For example:
- Gradually, I’ve taken on too much at work and all of a sudden, (a) I’m mad or (b) things are imploding
- Gradually, I’ve wanted to volunteer more and out of the blue, this non-profit comes looking for me
- Gradually, I’ve put on weight and all of a sudden, my chest hurts
- Gradually, we just kept winning football games in Seattle this year and suddenly . . .
Last September I heard a common "gradually" from a new client: "Gradually," he said, "I’ve gotten restless in my work. I know I’m capable of far more contribution and satisfaction. I’ve thought about hiring you for awhile and this seems to be the right time."
In four months since sending his note, this client has taken a hard look at a gradual and unsatisfying trend in his life and work and bent it into a new direction, and a new job. This note came from him last week: "I am super excited to move into this role--and I cannot thank you enough for everything that you did to help me get to this point. Without your coaching I feel I would have been spinning in circles trying to decide what I wanted to do, bringing more frustration to myself and my family."
He's very gracious and I'll enjoy working with him any time. In the meantime, here's my question for you this month: What's gaining on you?