Zach showed up completely in control. He was a handsome man, dressed in a suit and seemed quite comfortable in his own skin. He looked pretty tired though, so I wondered what was coming. He was fidgety. He kept tapping his fingers on the chair, which made me feel like I had to do something other than listen quietly and openly.
My perspective was to fix this tension. I know how to “rig shit” (as my daughter likes to remind me…). I could go all brass knuckles and fix whatever was ailing Zach, tell him what to do, and it wouldn’t do a darn thing for him except maybe put more pressure on his very present angst. So I sit back and stay in my own business; using all the skills I have to prompt him toward some relief.
He began telling me about when he was a kid. Zach would sit in the grass or lay in bed closing one eye and then the other. He liked seeing the different perspectives but now he can’t find a way to close one eye in his own life. I thought this was a pretty cool way of “looking” at things, and he had clearly thought about shifting perspective.
He said he was confused but he was OK. He was pretty happy but felt really heavy, like his days were way harder than they needed to be. He felt he had no right to feel this way.
Zach had a good job that he didn’t completely hate, so he stayed. He loved his partner, but really wanted more time for himself, but he didn’t try. He wanted to have more fun, more freedom, but everyone around him seemed fine, so what’s the problem? He had every THING he wanted, or thought he wanted, but still felt his world was complex – and pretty boring.
Zach wanted a new job, but he needed to know it would work out. I think he came to the wrong place for that. He wanted assurance no one could give him, and since he had created this all-or-nothing approach to most things in his life, if he didn’t have a solid answer, he wouldn’t make a move. And so he stayed stuck building resentment.
Months of wrangling him through one idea after another, no job fit his desires. We’d end up in very deep and animated discussions about all the things he loved to do “for fun,” but they weren’t even close to what he said he wanted. He’d leave laughing and ready to jump on his week’s “homework.” Then somewhere between that moment and his next session, “reality” hit and nothing was possible.
One thing I could see was that he loved laughing and talking about funny stuff. His new homework now was: Take the risk, start laughing! Read funny stories, watch funny videos, learn jokes, watch Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, shift that brain!!! Little by little his positive energy opened his world. He made informational calls to people that worked in areas where he had deep interest. And they told him to call someone else. All the while, staying in play mode, he laughed his way into a new role in a new industry, with people he loved to work (and laugh!) with. It’s no surprise his entire life opened up! It was actually magical.