Don't Go it Alone
By Valorie Burton
The most persistent fear I have repeatedly overcome is a fear of rejection. The irony of this people-pleasing fear is that it can manifest in a lot of behaviors, one of which is solitude. Without consciously connecting your fear with your choices, those whose core fear is rejection can make a habit of going it alone - insisting they are independent rather than scared, focused rather than collaborative. Perhaps you can relate.
Years passed before it occurred to me how solitary my work is. I write alone. I speak on a stage alone. And in my years of coaching, I coached alone - by phone. For ten years, I worked from home, my team scattered about in their home offices in other states. Until one day, a couple of years after moving to Atlanta - alone - I no longer had the grace to work in such solitude. For ten years, I'd wanted to work from home. Then suddenly, I resented it.
"Alone" is where moments of inspiration unfold. "Alone" is also where moments of isolation steal your joy. We must have a balance. I was passionate and purposeful in my work, but something was missing: Connection.
On my journey to more joy these last few years, it is connection that has transformed my life. I made it a professional goal, not simply to inspire and achieve, but to connect. I got an office, hired my first full-time employee to work alongside me - literally, not remotely. Then I expanded our coach training program to include a six-month certification program - twice a week live webinars in coaching, positive psychology and business development.
In the beginning, I created and taught every subject, every class - alone. Again, something was missing: Connection. I wanted others to teach, not just me. And if I thought about it, I knew a lot of talented, experienced, passionate experts who would impact our students and do this vision together with me.
Everything in life is more meaningful when you make connection the goal. Connection isn't "networking." It is isn't simply collaboration. It isn't just communication. Connection is love. It is the moment, however brief, when your soul aligns with another and you serve one another's needs in some way. It could be a smile, a touch, an idea, a word of encouragement, or act of support. But connection makes life and work juicy.
So I began inviting others into the process - people who could carry the vision forward, teach the curriculum I created, and do this thing with me together. To be honest, it was hard to let go. "Will they get it right?" I worried. "Will the students complain?" I took the leap. They got it right. No one complained. In fact, I don't even think they missed me! Today, we have five instructors who are as passionate as I am. We have graduated hundreds of students whose lives are transformed. And I don't go it alone.
LaFern Batie, Kim DuBrul, Christine Duvivier, Breon Michel and Lisa Sansom bring coaching to life in ways unique to their powerful experience - and that makes the program richer than it could ever be from my just my perspective. As for me personally, I just have a whole lot more fun. The first time I sat in one of our training events while Kim and LaFern tag-teamed to teach felt like someone truly had my back. The responsibility was now shared. The program could run without me! We collaborated on improvements. We laughed together. We've created an experience - for our coaching students and ourselves - that could never be replicated in isolation, but only through the beauty of authentic connection.
In what way(s) are you trying to go it alone? What would connection give you that is currently missing in a project or goal of yours?
Reach out. Connect. Don't go it alone.
Valorie Burton is a bestselling author, speaker, and life coach dedicated to helping people get unstuck and be unstoppable in every area of life. She is founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute and has served as a Certified Personal and Executive Coach to hundreds of clients in over 40 states and ten countries. She has authored 8 books including: Successful Women Think Differently, and Your 5-minute Personal Coach. Visit Valorie’s website: ValorieBurton.com
Last updated:November 29, 2014