Here in the land of blogging – with no idea where this all will lead – I ‘Begin with the end in mind’.
About a month ago, I received a letter from a former client whom I have deep respect for. This client and I had coached over a long period of time, had gradually tapered off our work together, and eventually had a formal ‘completion call’. When I suggested it initially, she wasn’t sure it was necessary. I asked her to let me know when the time was right and we’d schedule completion. Eventually, it became clear to her and we had a wonderful call! It was the sort of call where you review your journey together, honoring the highs and the lows, recognizing the learning and growth, giving feedback as needed, and each person saying what needed to be said in order to feel ‘complete’ with this form of this relationship. I remember it being a rich call – complete with laughter, tears, and much gratitude for one another.
In March, a nasty flu virus caught me off guard in a big way landing me in the hospital and putting me in the ICU for a while in critical condition on a ventilator. My family was warned I may not make it through the night. Word got out fast via email, social media, and especially my sister’s posts on facebook and the caringbridge.org site she created for me. This shook my former client initially and sent her on a quest to find out more. Once she was more settled in knowing what had happened, she wrote this letter to me. With her permission I share her words:
“I now understand the power of “Completion” after having thought that your illness might indeed be fatal. I felt sad and scared and helpless, but I also felt peace of mind because I knew that we had closed the circle on our coaching relationship with authenticity and love. There wasn’t anything left unsaid. Now I understand that if we honor all of our relationships in this way – making sure we say what we need to say in order to be “complete” – we will be more fully present and experience less regret. It helped me enormously during the harrowing days when you were in limbo between this world and the “other.” “
I can’t tell you how this touched me. When I read it through my tears, I knew this was not just a letter for me. It wasn’t even just a letter for coaches, though I knew they needed to read it. This is a letter for all of us to remember how important it is to begin, be engaged in, and complete our relationships consciously. After all, isn’t it the relationships that have ended with no closure that most haunt us? The things you couldn’t or didn’t say to a loved one who passed, or to a partner in a messy break up, can fill us with paralyzing regret.
Sometimes when a client is nearing completion, and either doesn’t realize it or they don’t want to face it, it’s my job as a coach to invite them to complete. It’s part of the container I hold for them. Have you ever had that feeling that someone is starting to just……. drift………….. away………………? When you recognize it – name it. Please. Be a stand for clean endings as well as sparkling beginnings. If an actual conversation isn’t possible, for whatever reason, how can you complete? Maybe you could write a letter that you burn afterwards. Or have your friend, coach, or therapist hear your words as if you were speaking them to the other. Create an art piece that expresses what needs to be expressed. You probably have loads of other ideas on how to do this. Please share! I welcome your thoughts always.
Welcome! …And for today, I am ‘complete’.