Listening to the Universe, Part 3

One year ago, I began experimenting with some deeper topics in the blog, and I’m grateful for how they have been received. It started with my beloved Teliodosis post, followed by Listening to the Universe (part 1). These posts speak to the unexpected growth I have experienced since connecting with my life purpose through coaching.

One of the most fascinating aspects of my coaching journey has been the countless synchronicities I have observed. The skeptic may wish to chalk it all up to coincidence, but the sheer number of them, combined with, at times, elaborate design, suggests that something in the universe has a hand in what’s unfolding.

Today, I continue the series with my latest beautiful synchronicity. I hope you will celebrate with me and be inspired to look more closely for your own synchronicities.

A Friendship is Born

Ten years ago, I came perilously close to making a multi-million dollar mistake, which is a story for a future blog post. Thankfully, I caught my error in time and selected Morphis Technologies as a partner to accelerate our software transformation. This partnership had many benefits. To this day, they remain the best partner I have worked with. We worked with a team of brilliant people who made our solutions better than I could have imagined.

An additional perk is that they are headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal. I am grateful for the energy @Kari Branjord and @Chris Westfall invested in convincing me not to be pennywise and pound-foolish with the travel budget, as our collaboration improved dramatically when we began having face-to-face meetings.

On my periodic trips to Lisbon, I met Wesley Matthews. Wes is a warm, charismatic leader who draws you in from the moment you meet him. As we walked the streets of Lisbon, Wes and I often lagged behind the rest of the group, lost in conversation. This was before I paid much attention to my intuition. I can now see how I intuitively knew Wes was someone I should remain connected to.

Working With Doctums

Fast forward to early 2023. Wes had founded Doctums, a management and technology consulting firm focused exclusively on education, with global expertise in education administration, technology, and the student experience. I had gained momentum as an executive coach. As we reconnected at various higher education conferences, Wes began exploring ways I could support his company. Ultimately, he brought me in to work with his executive team, including a DiSC workshop, 360 feedback assessments, and coaching.

This was a unique opportunity to see the entire executive team interact. I was impressed by how they operated and Wes’s leadership style. Supporting Doctums was incredibly energizing work. At this point, intuition played a more prominent role for me, and I knew I wanted to find opportunities to continue working with Doctums. The universe had my attention now.

Wes and I explored some options, including the possibility of me presenting at Doctums Engage, the annual in-person employee event. While Wes could not fit me into the schedule, he graciously offered to fly me in if I could participate as an observer. My intuition told me this was a worthwhile use of my time, so I headed to Chicago.

Doctums Engage reminded me what being a part of a well-led, high-performing organization was like. The employees were so energized. The politics were nowhere to be found. Wes continued to impress with his warm, caring leadership style. I left the event viewing Doctums as an exceptional company.

The following month, at Educause, I spoke with a Doctums leader and a former Ellucian colleague. We discussed the Doctums logo, which is playfully described as “the great big ball of joy.” When the colleague heard I had attended the employee event, she asked me, “Is it really a great big ball of joy?”

The words tumbled out without thinking. “Yes. Doctums is a great f-ing ball of joy.”

I don’t drop an f-bomb lightly. It seemed the best way to convey my feelings about the culture.

Resisting Growth

In parallel, my company was growing. I began to bring in other coaches as subcontractors for the first time. I met countless coaches and began to listen to my intuition about which ones I’d feel comfortable representing my brand as a coach. But there was a tension that held me back. I wanted to be a coach, not a company leader. The more I grew, I knew, the less I’d be able to coach.

I spent many months soul-searching about which direction to take with my company’s growth. This came to a head in a meditation I call the Council of Joshes.

Several months ago, I shared a future self meditation I was using regularly. Over time, this evolved into a Council of Joshes.*  At the time, the council included Athlete Josh, Coach Josh, Spirit Josh, Learner Josh, and Josh Love. Each represents a core piece of how I show up in the world today. In one morning meditation, Leader Josh showed up.

I sensed fear from the council. Leader Josh wears a suit or a sportscoat. The rest of the council would be delighted never to dress up again. Leader Josh ran this council for nearly three decades. If they let Leader Josh back in, would he take over? They had a good thing going with this coaching gig, and were hesitant to jeopardize it.

Leader Josh talked with each council member in turn. Each one realized how much of their success today was tied to the gifts and successes of Leader Josh, who supported them in the background. Many were intrigued at how Leader Josh would show up today, supported by the growth of each council member since he last held a seat on the council. Leader Josh was welcomed back on probationary status.

Where We Are Now

I was ready to expand my practice. I was prepared to embrace more of a leadership role. I missed the joys of being a part of a team and collaborating with others. I was also clear that I didn’t want to be running a company.

At the same time, Joe Street had several clients he planned to refer me to because he knew I could help them through coaching. Joe, Wes, and I began to talk about a referral agreement. Then Wes proposed something grander. He asked me to lead an Executive Coaching practice for Doctums.

We all knew at that moment that this was the answer. I could scale my practice through Doctums without taking on the workload and responsibility of running a larger company. Doctums had the relationships to identify those leaders eager to grow through coaching. I got to join a leadership team that I loved, expand my ability to serve higher education and support some fantastic coaches.

I am exhilarated to share my new role as Vice President, Coaching Services for Doctums. All my coaching supporting higher education will be in partnership with Doctums. I will continue to serve clients outside of higher education through my company, Arete Pursuits. I’m incredibly grateful for the clues the universe dropped for me that led to this partnership. I am excited about our expanded ability to serve higher education through leadership growth.

Putting It Into Practice

I hope what you take away from this story is greater trust in your intuition. When you take the time to watch for signs from the universe, you’ll begin to notice them. When they feel right, design experiments to test your hunches. You may be surprised how often they prove correct.

I am an executive coach and life coach with software executive roots in higher education and EdTech. I coach because I love to help others accelerate their growth as leaders and humans. I frequently write about #management, #leadership, #coaching, #neuroscience, and #arete.

If you would like to learn more, schedule time with me.

Want to comment? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

* A good friend shared this clip from Big Bang Theory of the Council of Sheldons, which I had never seen and is disturbingly similar to the Council of Joshes.

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