The Gifts in Struggle

Julia CadieuxWhen you ask a coach “How did you find the PCI?” chances are you’ll hear about a Google search late one night. They didn’t really know what they were looking for, but somehow the PCI came up and the rest is history.

I remember sitting at a table in an nearly empty restaurant with a group of coaches late one night during the last PCI conference in Chicago. We were engrossed in this conversation about our work, specifically, how each one of us had been called to coaching. The really fascinating and moving part of each story was what was happening before that fateful moment at the keyboard. A common theme woven throughout our stories was struggle. Each and every one of us was in a place of discomfort when we began our search.

For me, the pain was borne out of being a full-time mom and leaving a satisfying career behind. I was in the trenches with a baby and a toddler and felt like I was barely surviving. I felt a profound shift in identity when I became a mother and wanted desperately to explore this change with someone who knew how I felt. I didn’t have a way to talk about what I was feeling and experiencing, I just sensed it was big somehow.

Fast forward a few years and I had gotten the hang of parenting. Routines were easier, play was easier, I was getting actual sleep, and my kids were happy. I was a “good mom” and reasonably confidant in my parenting. Still, a feeling continued to nag at me; a feeling like this isn’t quite right somehow and I should be doing more with my life. You know how we coaches like to say, “What you resist, persists?” Well, that was true for me. I was resisting where I was. I was telling myself, “You deserve more than this” and “This is a waste of your intelligence and gifts.” Frankly, these messages were often reinforced by the people in my life who were successful and accomplished in their chosen fields and showed little to no interest in my job raising kids. I was resisting being the stay-at-home mom and full of self-judgment for what I thought that said about me.

When I finally stopped fighting my reality, a path cleared in my mind and I started to sense the direction I needed to take. I had finally made space to look at my dissatisfaction and yearning with a measure of curiosity instead of just anger and resentment. I began to think that maybe I’m on this path in order to work with families; maybe there is a way to parent for social change; and maybe I need to grow into a new mindset to figure this all out. That’s when Google took over and I somehow landed on the Parent Coaching Institute’s home page.

Although it wasn’t until the end of my PCI training that I finally saw how the struggle had been leading me here all along and preparing me to be a deeply empathetic coach. And when I did see it, emotion overwhelmed me. Why didn’t I treat with reverence those early years with my kids when I was in the mess of creating and tending to life? Why didn’t I trust myself to find my way? Why couldn’t I just relax with the understanding that this time was but a season in my life?

And here’s the one that still tightens my throat: Why didn’t I know the value and purpose of my parenting and honor it?

Now when I work with clients, I try to help them to be really attuned to what is already emerging somewhere in the background. Chances are they’ve been poking and prodding at these things for awhile, and they are ready to go deeper with you. I support them by reminding them of how far they’ve already come in their journey to be ready for this moment.

I support them by asking, “Who are you trying to become?” Together we move closer to the struggle and we offer it friendship.

Sometimes change is brewing so quietly under the noise of everyday life that we can’t hear it or feel it until finally…we do. My experience with struggle and finding my calling has shown me that even hardship, exhaustion, and pain are conspiring to help me. If I resist it, I may loose my opportunity to be made anew and the suffering will persist until I listen to it.

Copyright 2015, Julia Cadieux. All rights reserved.

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I found the PCI course to be well researched and put together. I learned so much through the course, the reading materials and the interactions that I had with PCI instructors. It has been an incredibly enriching experience completing this course.
Laura MarkowitzCape Town, South Africa

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