Updated: Jan 29
The enclosed real life story has names redacted for the purpose of discretion.
A father immigrated to another country from Europe, his third country after World War II, to start his new life and business with his family.
Upon his success, local competitors became envious and a fire started one night.
The fire burned the facility to the ground.
Insurance did not cover any repairs.
The father rebuilds, pulling his 13 year old son out of school to help the business in the timeline.
A second fire occurs.
The message is clear about "who" is welcome in the town as a vendor.
Fast forward to when the son becomes 18, he turns to alcohol to escape a myriad of emotions from multiple events.
Let's call the son Andrew.
Andy devalues others in his anger, while calling himself a victim where others are out to get him.
His first marriage fails and he torments his second wife weekly to tears.
His daughter grows up as an "adult child" in the alcoholic family dynamics.
It's easy to judge Andrew as a villain but what if he is trapped by significant emotional traumas given his lack of choice starting at age 13?
Andrew sacrificed his adolescence and thus, didn't have sensitivity if he took the joy and fulfillment from his own children regarding emotional expectations.
When I refer to legacy as the opposite of tragedy, I hold this perspective because I see that what we bequeath has to involve more than financial assets and legal structures to pass on for the survival as well as overall success of the next generations.
Our exit strategy needs to include more than our wounds and exhaustion.
A great gift, in addition to property, is a treasure chest of emotional as well as communication resources for when overwhelmed, blindsided or when the we have to learn from life's curveballs.
How precious our sanity is for when we walk a fine line between the physical and emotional realms, or when we are called to take responsibility to clean up another's mess or no longer show up as a victim in the easy way out.
Andrew may have thought he was finding a remedy in alcohol for its distraction to avoid pain, yet not realizing that he was creating more pain for himself later on down the road. The pain can be due to not be fully present to connect with others or being cruel, thus creating resentment petri dishes with various loved ones and business associates.
The softer side of legacy planning involves mastery of the present moments and opportunities as well as planning for tomorrow, in making the most of the gift of the time we have while we are here to connect and grow. There are bombshells that can change your life in a minute for new levels of self-realization.
My hope for someone like Andrew is that he can find enlightenment by reawakening to his emotions and discover what else can be dreamed up in possibilities. Some coaching tools that can assist Andrew include:
Reframing (or balancing) past experiences to explore the perspectives of others in those intense moments of survival. Was his mother silent as a bystander because she was scared or because she felt she had nothing to offer? Or was she just saving herself compared to looking out for Andrew, given her unconscious wounds from what she saw during WWII? There is freedom when we no longer idolize others and step into our own inner peace. Sometimes, we can be trapped in trigger reactions from that of a 13 year old compared to the present day because emotions have yet to be released.
Processing all feelings and buried pain. Wouldn't it be great if Andrew saw his rite of passage as real world business school training that could never be offered in public or private school? While the change in perspective can remove a feeling of loss and disappointment, there is also a freedom that comes from expressing one's feelings verbally, through art or any other healthy outlet "to be with" what is real and human. It can be hard, even counter cultural, to be with feelings of deep sadness
Acknowledging the decisions that were right and smart, as well as the ones that were hurtful and childish. We all want to be seen, heard and understood by others, even if it make us feel vulnerable. This honest mirroring can also start with slowing down and looking at ourselves in taking an inventory, even asking a trusted coach or advisor for feedback. When we are ready, we can write our observations and insights in our Legacy Compass journal in order to change for the better tomorrow. What values did you honor in your best as well as worst behavior?
Business can be a battlefield where we can identify with select experiences, but we are more than certain experiences. Our identity does not need to be locked in time but we can easily stay trapped. Others around us may be too scared to challenge or they, too, are staying within their comfort zones.
Processing buried pain can develop new insights with one's unconscious wounds compared to being so deep in grief. The benefits to raising our awareness and calling behaviors out, as well as our grandest failures, is realizing the impact on ourselves as well as others. When Andrew heals himself, he will be a leader to heal his family lineage and create new ways of relating outside of blame and desperation.
This blog post is not about embarrassing Andrew but to show how many people who appear to have it all still have room to grow. Andrew, like you and I, can call upon his personal courage by choice this time, in his buy-in, in his decisions as an adult now.
Perhaps his closest relationships will be re-activated and the velocity of his partnerships will go in the same direction and the same speed compared to divergent paths of emotional distance.
The great news is all of our heartache can be directly transformed from heaviness and overwhelm with the service of coaching. There is much we do not know when we get thrown into life. Just as success can come fast and hard, so can failure and betrayals due to our blind spots as well as lack of communication.
How co-active coaching works is the client responds to powerful questions so that their heart, mind and soul look for answers in new places. If the coach comes up with an answer it will be interesting information at best, but if the client decides on a new idea or sees a new insight by their own choices, they will own it. The more topics come forward from the client, the more clarity they will gain in their being able to move forward, even find healing.
I promise you that when you get clarity from the moments that bring the most intense emotions, then you will do so much better and show up differently in relationships as well as end the habits and patterns destroying the best of what you have built.
I would love to introduce you to my co-active coaching package that specifically connects you more with your core values, your greater purpose and what you most seek in this lifetime. It also brings a big space for breathing room for your toughest experiences so you can find the language you need to express it, once and for all. These are the moments that deliver you from re-traumatizing yourself in loneliness and sorrow as well as understanding your emotional needs and boundaries.
To learn more about what six months of Legacy Planning sessions can do for the softer side of your legacy, please check that out here.
Also, if you are already a Legacy Planning client, you will be pleased to know my upcoming course will be released soon after twelve months of writing and editing. This online course is an add-on to keep defining, developing and executing your legacy vision.
This co-active coaching methodology can change every area of your life from move you to new possibilities and into the driver's seat.
I hope this story above helps you understand how easy it is to accumulate the world's riches and yet, still be filled with self-loathing so the pain that is buried and the emotions that are yet to be processed. Yet you, like Andrew, are granted with the choice now as an adult to find a trust coach to live with more freedom, fulfillment and satisfaction compared to loose ends.