I grew up in foreign countries. This had an indelible imprint on my psyche. My childhood years were spent in Germany, Portugal and Turkey. English is the third language I learned, after German and Portuguese. When I arrived in the United States at the age of 16, I had fully internalized what it meant to be a foreigner and not fit in.
My deepest personal journey has been the road from being the outsider to becoming the one who belongs. I want to say fits in but that’s not actually what I mean. No, belongs and is wholly comfortable in his own skin.
While your story is undoubtedly different from mine, the journey you embark on in our coaching work is not that dissimilar from my personal quest. Sure, we will explore mindset shifts and micro-behaviors. At the deepest level, however, coaching is invariably about becoming more comfortable in our skin. Showing up as the most luminous version of ourselves. Connecting more richly with others. And doing so with fully embodied skill.
I believe in taking risks. This ethos was drilled into me during my first career as a professional theatre director and acting coach. I also know all too well that taking risks can create a bit of discomfort.
In the late 90s, I directed the first-ever theatre collaboration between Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian theatre artists. This collaboration was sponsored by the formidable Shimon Peres and his Center for Peace. It flung me and my group of actors from Israel to the UK to the O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut to the United Nations, Jordan and the only 5-Star hotel in the Palestinian capital of Ramallah.
This work pushed me to my personal brink. It made me question everything I thought I knew about creative collaboration. I often felt like a failure. I also, as the cliché goes, learned a heck of a lot about myself.
Risks. In business, we like to call on psychological assessments of people. This reliance, at times, tempts us to quickly pin down who someone is.
I’m not interested in pinning you down. I’m interested in exploring range with you. That’s why highly successful actors continue to go to acting class. It is where they take risks. That’s why every successful tennis player continues to work with a coach. To broaden range. Range emerges through intentional exploration and the creation of new muscle memory. Powerful stuff.
I always honor who you are, at your core. But I will take you a little closer to your personal edge. It’s where a freer, more expansive version of you resides. It’s where you discover the skills and habits that transcend the story of who you think you are.
We’ll explore. Together. I will hold you accountable. And we will do it in a spirit of joy.