How to Go from a Breakdown to Breakthrough

How to Go from a Breakdown to Breakthrough

It was Friday afternoon in Washington, DC. There I was, excited to be there, looking forward to not only teaching another Accomplishment Coaching class, but to also get the promotion I’ve been working towards the last few years. I met with the senior leader of the program, who’s also on the steering committee and in charge of the “promotion” process. We walked back from dinner and she said: Sarah, you’re not getting promoted this weekend. I know the promotion of Junior Leader is still coming soon, but this was a tough pill to swallow because I was ready for it. I got pretty quiet on the walk back, and then I said, “I’m upset. I’m going to take care of myself. I don’t want to lie to you about how I feel, but I’ll be ready tomorrow.” Then I grabbed one of my friends, went upstairs, and cried, “This is stupid. I don’t want to do this anymore.” I said every untransformed thing you can think of. It wasn’t my most shining moment. After my friend left, I called Matt. He couldn’t have been more great if he tried, which to be honest, was a bit of a surprise. He usually gets in the deep end of the pity pool with me about Accomplishment Coaching (“Yeah, Sarah, quit!”). I was afraid he was going to say, “Get your butt on a plane and come home!” But what he said was exactly what I needed. He was out with his friends, stepped out of the bar he was at, and said: “You’re not there to be in a position. You’re...
How a Wrong Turn Can Lead to the Right Possibilities

How a Wrong Turn Can Lead to the Right Possibilities

Recalculating… Sometimes I’ve missed my turn on the road, as I’m sure you have too. When that happens, your GPS says “recalculating” in a calm, reassuring voice (maybe in a British accent if that’s how you’ve set it) and gives you a new route. It doesn’t ask why you missed your turn. No judgment, just quick, simple action. But when you’re talking to yourself about missing a turn, you’re not as calm. Maybe you say, “Dang, I can’t believe I missed my turn!” Cue the colorful hand gestures. The GPS has no qualms about moving on and seeing where the new route takes you. But you do. As a coach, my job is to fulfill what I declare: Helping clients and teammates meet their goals. When we miss these goals, we just recalculate the route. There’s no beating yourself up for a missed turn. Or at least a new turn. Sometimes the missed turns are exactly where you need to go. It’s where you learn more about yourself and get back on track — or find a whole new track. This happened in a big way for me when Matt and I first met. I was a bartender in Brooklyn. He was working on Broadway and doing some freelance copywriting. One night, he and I hit it off. We started dating. But it became clear to me that (at the time) he was “zipped up” emotion-wise. And for me, that wouldn’t do. It seemed like we were on different routes for sure. Recalculating… But what happened next surprised both of us. We got honest with each other, and we’ve...