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Antonia, the chief technology officer of a medical device company, was talking with Peter, her coach.

“I’m feeling like it’s time to change something,” Antonia said. “My job is feeling less like play and more like work.”

“What exactly has changed?”

“All the aspects I used to enjoy, I now dread. The spinning up on new technology and deciding if and how to use it. The diving into the details of technical problems my engineering teams encounter. Talking with customers about the problems they’re experiencing using our devices. None of it lights me up anymore.”

“That’s a tough place to be. How do you feel about it all?”

“Despondent. I hate forcing myself to work. I want to get back to everything seeming like play.”

“You started by saying you feel it’s to change something. Any ideas what that is?”

“No. I’m hoping you can help me identify that.”

1) Ask your Council of Counsel

“We can approach this a few different ways. We can start by investigating what the dread is telling you, by inquiring after what wants to change, or by feeling into what new direction feels playful. Do any of these feel the right place to start?”

“Let’s start with what wants to change. How do we do that?”

“How about checking in with your Council of Counsel?”

Antonia signaled her agreement, then settled back in her chair and closed her eyes. A few minutes later, she opened her eyes and edge forward on her seat.

“Mixed results,” she reported. “My heart supports making a change but had nothing else to say. My body is tired of sitting all the time. It wants to be moving around more. My mind asks why I’ve lost interest in my responsibilities. My spirit supports me in this investigation and asks what interests me. And my intuition pointed a flashing neon arrow at my spirit, reinforcing its question.”

“So, that gives us several avenues to explore: moving around more, your job no longer interesting you, and what does interest you. Which of these feels right to take on first?”

“Umm…what does interest me.”

2) Notice where you focus

“Perfect. What does interest you these days?”

“I’ve really been getting into functional movement workouts. Rather than focusing on bicep curls and the like, I’m doing movements with names like “monkey” and “crab” and transitions between them. I feel like I’m six again, moving for fun rather than for a purpose.”

“What specifically makes this fun for you?”

“The individual forms give me a structure to practice and an ideal to approach, while the transitions between forms allow me to connect the forms in different ways.”

“The forms give you a foundation from which you improvise and play?”

“That’s right.”

“Is that foundation from which to improvise and play the key thing? Or just something that happens to be there?”

Antonia thought this over.

“It’s a key thing,” she said eventually. “I don’t know whether it’s the key thing.”

“That’s fine. Even if we’re just part of the way to the root, we’re still further than we were.”

3) Follow your fascination

“Okay. Playing with functional movement is one thing that interests you,” Peter said. “What else interests you?”

“I’m fascinated by the way nature intersects and interrelates with itself. How every form of life is held in check by some other form of life. How some creatures form partnerships with other creatures while some other creatures go it alone. It’s a vast, complicated web of interrelationships.”

“Do you also have this fascination with the vast, complicated web of most businesses?”

“I used to. Not anymore.”

“What is different between the web of nature and the web of business?”

Antonia considered Peter’s question.

“I guess it’s the difference in approach,” she said slowly. “In nature, predators don’t hate their prey. Animals aren’t jealous of each other. Ants don’t resent octopi. That’s what I dislike about business: all the fear that seems to infect everything.”

4) Imagine adjusting a single aspect

“Would I be right to say you dislike, are sad about, the tone your business relationships seem to take?”

“Yes. I’m tired of dealing with everyone’s neuroses.”

“Is it the impact you feel from other people’s approaches, the work it takes to clear yourself of their emotions, the color of your interactions with them, or something else?”

“How much I have to work to rebalance after meeting with people. Everyone’s so anti. I don’t want that in my life.”

“If you were to have exactly the responsibilities you have now, only in a workplace where everyone is upbeat and happy, and you rarely felt drained from your interactions, would you still feel something needs to change?”

This question stymied Antonia. “Yes?” she answered after a time. Then, a little bit later, more definitively, “Yes.”

5) Every bit of answer is another tiny step

Antonia slumped in her chair. “I feel like we haven’t made any progress today. It’s nice to know why I’m enjoying my workouts so much. But, knowing I want a solid foundation from which to improvise play doesn’t help me know what to change. Also, I already knew I’m tired of dealing with all the negativity everyone brings to work. I’m no further now than when we started.”

“That does seem disheartening. May I ask a few more questions?”


“At the start of our session today, did you realize how much you enjoy your functional movement workouts?”

“I knew they were a bright spot in my weeks. I didn’t realize how important they are, how much I look forward to them.”

“Did you know how important a solid foundation is for enabling your creativity and play?”

“No. Not at all.”

“Did you understand how much effort you’ve put into holding off all the negativity and hostility battering you at work?”

“No.” Then, “Oh. I actually have a lot more information to bring to bear now.”

Peter nodded agreement. “Even though you don’t feel any closer to an answer, you have several new clues and hints. You have more depths to plumb in the areas we’ve explored today, and several other new avenues to venture into.”

“It’s like you always say: I took a step. That brought new information. And that helps me choose my next step.”

6) Start with your next tiny step

“How are you feeling now?” Peter asked.

“Better. I still feel bummed about feeling out of alignment with my job. I still feel uncertain how to get it back into alignment. Still, I have new information now. I can use that to try adjusting a few things. Tiny experiments, you always call them. I have several new questions to mull over, too. Knowing my next several steps gives me more confidence I’ll figure this out.”

“That’s great. I’m glad you’re feeling more upbeat and confident. Keep taking tiny steps and making tiny experiments, and you’ll get this puzzle solved.”

“Yes, I will,” Antonia answered with a sunny smile.

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