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Listening to the Universe

Last week I wrote about Teliodosis. It was a departure for me, and I’m grateful for all the encouragement I received on the atypical post.

Today I’d like to spend more time on this topic with some stories. I want to illustrate how surrendering (or listening) to the universe led me to important life choices. I hope it offers some insights about how you might do the same in the spirit of teliodosis.

Choosing the Newfield Network

When I committed to becoming a full-time coach, I knew I wanted to get my certification with the International Coaching Federation. To do this, I needed to find an accredited program. My former coach Mark House had just introduced me to Paulo André, who was also early in his coaching journey. Paulo told me that after researching options, he had selected the Newfield Network.* I asked Mark about Newfield, and he said if he did it over again, he’d probably pick Newfield.

Encouraged by the thought of going through coach training with Paulo and supported by Mark’s recommendation, I signed up. When I told Mark I signed up, he seemed surprised and said, “Did you even look at Georgetown?” I realized that Mark meant he’d probably choose Newfield if he were doing a second program. He did not regret choosing Georgetown. I began to question my impulsiveness and lack of due diligence.

I was delighted to see Paulo on the first day of Newfield’s class. On the second day, he was not there. When I reached out, he shared that as the day unfolded, he realized this was not the right program for him and had withdrawn. I was stunned.

Ultimately, Newfield was precisely what I needed and way more than I expected. I went through a radical personal transformation and picked up some excellent coaching skills in the process. Paulo was never meant to be in that program, but he was meant to bring me there.

Finding the Leadership Circle

A year later, I began to explore organizations that employ coaches as subcontractors when they get a large contract. I found one I was interested in joining. They said they preferred coaches certified in The Leadership Circle**, arguably the world’s most popular 360 assessment tool. The next coaching collective I explored said the same thing. Then I met with my favorite HR leader of all time. She wasn’t ready to engage me as a coach, but she wanted to know if I had a robust 360 tool to provide feedback to her leaders. Somewhat impulsively, I enrolled for certification.

The week before class, they sent me a copy of the book Mastering Leadership by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams. Given how many books are in my backlog, I rolled my eyes and laughed. It was optional. There was no way I was reading this book. I reviewed the table of contents:

Chapter 12: Integral Leadership

That caught my attention. Newfield had turned me on to Ken Wilber, and I had been devouring his Integral Theory and reshaping my worldview. So I jumped to the chapter and read a bit. This sure sounded like Wilber. I jumped to the acknowledgments. 

“Ken Wilber’s Integral Model is unparalleled. The Universal Model of Leadership presented in this book is deeply informed by and nests in the brilliance of Ken’s framework. I thank Ken for his contribution to the world.”

Unbeknownst to me, I had signed up for certification on a 360 tool built on the same foundation as my evolving worldview. The universe meant for me to be here.

Neither of those coaching collectives has hired me, nor has that HR leader. It’s possible they were not meant to. They were just meant to connect me with this course.

Discovering Neuroscience for the Advanced Coach

Most recently, I became interested in a program called Neuroscience for the Advanced Coach, offered by BEabove Leadership. Ann Betz is one of the instructors. If you read about my journey with Betz in last week’s Teliodosis post and then read the two stories in this one, you’d probably assume by now that I had learned to listen to the universe, and I would sign up.

Unfortunately, my purposeful, rational mind has many tools at its disposal.

  • I had already applied for another program, and if accepted, how would I have time for this one?
  • I’m being impulsive and irrational.
  • I need to take my time and think through this decision before I commit.
  • Yes, the early bird discount expires in three days, but it’s not about the money.

I went back to the website and read the details of the program. This felt right. In the testimonials section, I saw one from Susan T. Connolly. I didn’t know her well, but I knew we had exchanged messages on LinkedIn. My rational brain saw an opportunity to slow things down. Reach out to her, talk about the program, and then decide. My calendar is full enough that it could be weeks before I connect with her.

I went to LinkedIn, pulled up our message history, and scrolled to the top to remind myself how we first connected.

  • Josh: I think we were in an ICF Metro DC breakout room together – your interest in neuroscience and somatics piqued my interest.
  • Susan: Hi, Josh. Yes, we were in a breakout room today… I completed a yearlong advanced coaching certification program 2020-2021 on Neuroscience, Consciousness, and Transformational Coaching offered by BEAbove Leadership. The program was excellent, and I would highly recommend it.  Ann Betz, one of the two BEAbove coach instructors, has been studying neuroscience for the past 10 years and is known in the coaching field for her focus on applying neuroscience to coaching. That certification program also emphasized the importance of somatics and tapping into the wisdom of the body, for both coaches and clients.

Universe 1, Rational Mind 0.

There was no need to reach out to her because the first thing she ever told me was how wonderful the program was. I signed up.

I looked at the website again the next day and was shocked to learn that the program was full. It’s entirely possible I got the last seat. If I had taken my time, I would have missed this opportunity.

Putting It Into Practice

I encourage you to look back at the pivotal moments in your life.

  • Are there times when you felt lucky?
  • Are there events that felt horrible or wrong when they happened that proved to be an incredible gift in hindsight?
  • Can you identify times when the universe guided you?

Make it a point to start looking for those signs. Experiment with trusting your intuition and see where it leads you. Practice teliodosis.

Schedule time with Josh.

Want to comment? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

* The link provided is my referral link for Newfield. If you want to learn more about Newfield, please get in touch with me.

** If you want to learn more about The Leadership Circle, please get in touch with me.