I recently attended a marketing meeting of my Connecticut Chapter of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). During that meeting, several board members expressed concern regarding the deaths and mass outrage following the murders of George Floyd and other African Americans. I was asked by one of the board members how should our chapter stand on issues prompting this latest wave of civil unrest. Here is my response to that question.
I am aware of the emotional distress people are feeling. It reminds me of the race riots in the 60’s and of my impoverished life during segregation in the South. There were many violent deaths and senseless destruction of property during those times. People were angry and felt powerless to change the status quo. Then as now, it seems, few have learned lessons from brutal encounters. Many are still hurting. We are still divided.
I will always remember those difficult times. I spent a large portion of my life trying to overcome stereotypes and feelings of not being pretty enough, smart enough or good enough. I even lost most of my hair in the process. I finally made peace with myself and now know for sure that, not only am I pretty enough, smart enough, and good enough, I AM ENOUGH! I have always been and will always be enough!
I view the coaching profession, as a compassionate, professional organization. Hence, I believe, as coaches, we have a duty to convey the strongest message of hope and higher perspective to our clients, family and friends impacted by any crises. If not us, then who will do this?
We can transcend the fear and violence that trigger civil unrest when we can: “Be the change that [we] wish to see in the world” [M. Gandhi]. World Peace is possible. We have the capacity to end conflict, hunger and heal our planet. It starts with each individual discovering and living his authentic self. When we achieve this, our intrinsic, loving nature of being appreciative, peaceful, abundant, cooperative, compassionate, and forgiving will rise to the surface. Most have forgotten that our true essence is ‘love without conditions’.
We all represent many different groups of people who can be united in Love. Whether we are coaches, teachers, preachers, priests, rabbis, presidents, mentors, leaders of organizations, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, Americans or not, we must stand together as ONE, resting on the values of Love-based emotions instead of on Fear-based emotions of hatred, greed, discrimination, not enough-ness and anger.
Nature abhors a vacuum! Fear exists where love is absence. The only thing that can conquer fear is love. No laws can be written, and no treaties can be signed that will transform the hearts of men. When we live as our authentic self, love without conditions is possible.
If we are to create a better world for ourselves and future generations, each of us must consciously choose to be the change we wish to see in others by first becoming that change. That is how we end conflict, end poverty, heal our planet and establish World Peace.